Alliance Franco Gambienne: The Mother of French Learning

Tuesday, November 04, 2008
French is a living language that is worth speaking by those who see French people around them. It has become a daily use as people are a united nation in a global village.

There are over a thousand Alliance in the world and they are under one umbrella that is the Foundation Alliance Francaise in Paris. Alliance Francaise has been in the world since 1883. They all promote cultural exchange and at the Alliance Franco Gambienne in The Gambia is geared towards the improvement of the French language. It also encourages cultural shows, seminar and the bringing of people of different cultures together. Augustine Kanjia, a student at the Alliance Franco Gambianne talks to Mr. Pascal Rezzouk, the Director and Mr. Ousman Senghore, the Pedagogical Co-ordinator on the life of their vibrant institution.

S&D: Why the Alliance Franco Gambianne?

Pascal: It is for vocation and cultural activities and especially for people. It is a centre of learning French and the holding of conferences and cultural manifestations. It brings people together by seeing each other as a family with respect for each other.

S&D: When was Alliance Francaise set up?

Pascal: It was established in 1883 and today we have more than one thousand Alliance in the world, we are not an NGO, we are an association, we have a legal local association status. The president of the Alliance Franco Gambianne is Dr. Mamadou Tangara.

S&D: What are the levels of learning at Alliance?

Pascal: There are twelve levels in the courses offered. There are six certificate levels delivered by the French Minister of Education. B1, B2, C1 and C2. The attainment of C2 allows people to enter Universities in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Canada without any test. C2 is not academic it is competence, it is next to the native speaker. There is no placement test for those who have the C2. Alliance is the only licensed institution to conduct A1, A2, B1, B2 - the DALF (Diplome Approfondi en Langage Francais) and DELF (Diplome Etude en Langage Francais). DALF has two levels - C1, C2. DELF is from A1 to B2.

S&D: Is Alliance Franco Gambianne promoting excellence in the learning of French?

Pascal: Yes! It is promoting excellence in the teaching of French, by so doing the classes are organised under the responsibility of a Pedagogical Co-ordinator, known as Ousman Senghore.

S&D: Mr. Ousman Senghore how would you rate your teachers of French in the institution?

Ousman Senghore (PC): We have a score of trained and qualified teachers who went through the various stages of certification to become teachers of Alliance Franco Gambianne. They were trained in France at the Centre for Applied Linguistics in Besancon France and International Centre for Pedagogical studies in Paris. We regularly organise inservice for our teachers in Dakar, France and Gambia. We teach French as a foreign language to non-French speaking nationals.

S&D: Are the learners put in categories?

Ousman Senghore (PC): We have two streams, the junior streams are from age 3 to 18. It is composed of eight levels. We have the prescholaire 1 and 2, Basic User 1,2 and 3 and Independent User 1,2 and 3.

The adult stream starts from Basic USER 1, 2 and 3. Independent User 1, 2 and 3. Specific User 1 and 2. And Advance User 1, 2 and 3.

We have a one to one teaching for intensive courses designed to fit the learner in line with learners' level and time. Exams are conducted every end of term to test learners understanding. Students are allowed to have 55 contact hours.

S&D: What makes your student learn French so well?

Ousman Senghore (PC): They have a pedagogical centre equipped with about 6, 000 books, tapes and other supportive teaching materials. We have the internet for lesson preparations as well and teachers depend on authentic teaching materials including newspapers in French, films that are subtitled in English. By so doing students are exposed to authentic French speakers, exposing the western culture to students.

S&D: Do you use any type of survey to enhance learning?

Ousman Senghore (PC): Satisfaction surveys are conducted for teachers' performance, the environment and more. We use the communicative approach, where teachers and students participate.

S&D: Any extra attributes?

Ousman Senghore (PC): Yes! We design special courses for specific purposes. Special courses are designed to fit office use and they have the chance to sit to DELF and DALF, it helps them get good promotions. The other attributes include wanting people to feel good irrespective of their cultural background thus keeping it clean as we see children and elders interract. Alliance Franco Gambianne is a meeting place, a place of exchange and experience.

S&D: Any final words to the public?

Ousman Senghore (PC): Our students have always passed our internal and external exams quite well. People should come to learn French because it serves as a bridge, English and French compliment each other. French is a trade union language knowing it eases communication barrier. We are asking all to learn French at Alliance Franco Gambianne, we make the difference in learning French.

Author: Augustine Kanjia