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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Les Aventures de Madame Beaubien: L’École Inflexyon

Front door of the Inflexyon, the language school of not only French but several other languages

Patty and I are taking classes at L’École Inflexyon, which is near the Hôtel de Ville (a central part of the city) on Leynaud Street and near La Croix Rousse. Every day, Monday through Friday, we climb some solid and ancient steps to our second floor classroom.

our classroom with just a few of the students during a break between classes
There are 18-20 students in my class. Most of them come from Asia—Japan, Korea, Taiwan—and most of them speak English. We also have students from Colombia, Italy and then there’s Patty and me who are the only ones from the USA. This surely is an indicator of what the next generation sees as important:  all things global!

We have grammar and speaking classes in two sessions from 10-11:30 and 11:45-12:30 with an hour off for lunch. In the afternoon we have oral practice from 1:30-3. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there is an option for tutoring from 9:15-10. In this session we can ask for help on anything having to do with grammar or pronunciation. The nice thing about it is that we get another opportunity to learn the details of grammar, including some points that we may have misunderstood or forgotten from the past.

Here's the faculty office. Natalie is on the left with Hèléne and David in the back and Alizée in front and behind her not in clear view, the professor from Mozambique.
Our teachers rotate the classes so we get new ones every day. It is interesting to see that we have teachers from France, of course, but also Mozambique, Poland, Brazil. All instruction is conducted in French, so we are forced to listen and learn. The teachers have us explain words in French or they do it. Of course, there is a lot of flipping through dictionaries/cell phones for exact meanings.

some wicked stairs to climb -- keep to the right to avoid falling
Before we came to the school we took a written test of 35 questions to see where we placed A-1 or 2 (elementary), B-1 or 2 (intermediate) or C-1 or 2 (advanced). On the first day of class, Natalie, the coordinator of the teachers talked with us to see how well we could comprehend and speak French. Then she placed us in a class. I tested out at B-1 but was placed in A-2. If I want an extra push, I can go to the B-1 class, which I plan to do in the second week—at least for the speaking and listening part of class because they talk about more advanced subjects. I don’t have as much trouble writing or even speaking as I do comprehending French, so I am comfortable with A-2 AND it will be a little less stressful. One bad thing about moving to the other class, however, is that during the past week our class has developed a nice rapport.

The school also offers various events. During the first week, we had a two-hour tour of La Croix Rousse conducted by the director of the school and a Mardi Gras party where students were to wear costumes. The faculty really promoted the party. I went on the tour—all conducted in French—but skipped the second because I had something else to do that night. 

To get a look at the La Croix Rousse tour, click on this link.
Leynaud Street where Inflexyon resides

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