Our Pedagogy

Description of our pedagogy

Le FIL de l’EFLE benefits from over 125 years of experience and expertise in the teaching/learning of intensive French. Le FIL is also a place of research, innovation and training in French as a foreign language, which has adapted to the evolution of teaching/learning methodologies and the needs of its public. Thanks to its long experience and its team of specialized teachers-researchers, le FIL offers an innovative pedagogical approach, course programs and certification, all of which stand out for their effectiveness in the context of immersion in a French-speaking environment.

Le FIL is a language school that has developed materials specifically adapted to meet the needs of allophone students: from beginners, intermediate and advanced levels, to academic writing, pronunciation, grammar and writing, each program uses tools and techniques specially developed to enable truly intensive and rapid learning, whatever the level or specialty chosen.

The pedagogic approach of le FIL has been designed in accordance with the « action-oriented approach » promoted by the CEFR. One can find a general description of this approach in chapter 2.1 of CEFR 2001 and chapter 2.2 of CEFR Companion volume 2020. This approach is described in CEFR Companion volume (2020) in the following terms:

“In addition to promoting the teaching and learning of languages as a means of communication, the CEFR brings a new, empowering vision of the learner. The CEFR presents the language user/learner as a “social agent”, acting in the social world and exerting agency in the learning process. This implies a real paradigm shift in both course planning and teaching by promoting learner engagement and autonomy. The CEFR’s action-oriented approach represents a shift away from syllabuses based on a linear progression through language structures, or a pre-determined set of notions and functions, towards syllabuses based on needs analysis, oriented towards real-life tasks and constructed around purposefully selected notions and functions. […]” (CEFR, companion volume, p.28, our emphasis)


“At the classroom level, there are several implications of implementing the action-oriented approach. Seeing learners as social agents implies involving them in the learning process, possibly with descriptors as a means of communication. […] Seeing learners as language users implies extensive use of the target language in the classroom – learning to use the language rather than just learning about the language (as a subject). […]. Above all, the action-oriented approach implies purposeful, collaborative tasks in the classroom, the primary focus of which is not language. If the primary focus of a task is not language, then there must be some other product or outcome (such as planning an outing, making a poster, creating a blog, designing a festival or choosing a candidate). […].


“Both the CEFR descriptive scheme and the action-oriented approach put the co-construction of meaning (through interaction) at the centre of the learning and teaching process. This has clear implications for the classroom. At times, this interaction will be between teacher and learner(s), but at times, it will be of a collaborative nature, between learners themselves. The precise balance between teacher-centred instruction and such collaborative interaction between learners in small groups is likely to reflect the context, the pedagogic tradition in that context and the proficiency level of the learners concerned.” (CEFR, 2020, Companion volume, pp. 28-30, our emphasis)

The kind of teaching provided in le FIL is representative of the “paradigm shift” evoked by the CEFR, as our courses are coherently constructed around the principles described in the CEFR: especially trained to teach with an action oriented approach, our teachers encourage and promote collaborative tasks in large and small groups, co-construction of meaning, interactions between learners, and orient their teaching towards practical outcomes. Our teachers are also trained to adapt the content of their course to the specificities of each single group, an approach that takes students’ objectives and feedbacks on proposed activities into account and thus involves them in the learning process, as recommended by CEFR.

Strongly organized around “joint-action” or “cooperative action” and oriented towards students’ autonomy the action-oriented pedagogy provided by le FIL is inspired by so called “active pedagogies”. Over the past 15 years, in the process of designing its programs and in its teacher’s trainings, le FIL has been strongly inspired by some authors, approaches and methodologies that consider language as a practice to be learned through practice: the most influential have been Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who inherited from Otto Glöckel’s School Reform in Austria; Bernard Dufeu who designed an second language acquisition approach called Linguistic Psychodramaturgy; and Caleb Gattegno’s Silent Way.

Le FIL is also committed to developing teaching methods that help learners discover not only the language, but also the form of life in which it is used. Learning a foreign language also means learning about an unfamiliar culture. Whether we're talking about the intensive program (EMC), specifically designed according to an ethno-linguistic approach that places great emphasis on learning local language and cultural practices, or the didactic and cultural outings offered during each series of courses, le FIL stands out for its expertise in the field of interculturality.

Finally, le FIL's pedagogical and theoretical heritage is reflected in the connections that our team of teacher-researchers has established between foreign language didactics and anthropology as/of education; in constant dialogue with ethnography; theory of joint action in didactics (TACD); pragmatism; the ethics of care; linguistics; sociology and psychology.

Taking an intensive French course at le FIL de l’EFLE guarantees a unique experience in a university environment; the discovery of a learning space on a human scale, focused on the concrete needs of learners, making the most of their immersion situation in a French-speaking environment, and benefiting from the latest research developments in the field of teaching/learning French as a foreign language and culture.


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