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IP Paris launches a Center for French language and culture to support international students

07 Jun. 2022
The International Center for French Language and Culture (Centre de français) federates all cultural, scientific and academic activities for international students, researchers and staff of Institut Polytechnique de Paris and its member schools.
IP Paris launches a Center for French language and culture to support international students

In addition to the French courses given in the departments of IP Paris and its member schools, the Centre de français will organize conferences, linguistic and cultural events such as the Advanced Short Story Contest, which receives hundreds of submissions every year and whose closing ceremony will take place in October at the Pantheon in Paris. But also the creation of Moocs on french language.

Olivier Bertrand, director, and Isabelle Schaffner, deputy director of the Centre de français, both professors of French language, history and culture in several universities, talk about the upcoming projects.

What are the missions of the Centre de français?

The primary purpose of the French Center is to create links between all international students and staff, whether French-speaking or not, on our campus and beyond. It is a pedagogical center that aims to welcome new international comers on our campus but also to contribute to scientific research in linguistic, literary and cultural subjects. We have many federative projects highlighting our know-how in pedagogical innovation and also programs that are open to all (Moocs, online courses, etc.)

How will you promote the Francophonie?

Since last year, our Advanced Short Story Competition has included a new category: "Francophonies", which receives proposals from all over the world and thus creates beautiful exchanges on a scientific theme! With our French-speaking partners, particularly within the framework of the AUF, we wish to continue these collaborations and create new ones.

We are also in the process of creating a "Francophonie and French diversity" chair in order to develop resources and partnerships with major French-speaking universities. Our objective is to create synergies around the Francophonie, for our students and pupils, but also for the scientific community.

This is a great opening for the integration of international students and staff. In fact, our Center is going to launch a journal dedicated to French language and literature that will be called "Confluences". The title is both inspiring and inclusive: that is our wish!

Olivier Bertrand, Director and Isabelle Schaffner, Deputy Director of Centre de français

What types of partnerships will you develop?

We will develop partnerships with French and international institutions that wish to use our online resources. But we also want to develop the research part of the Center around language and literature. This is a great opening for the integration of international students and staff. In fact, our Center is going to launch a journal dedicated to French language and literature that will be called "Confluences". The title is both inspiring and inclusive: that is our wish!

Can you tell us more about Moocs?

Moocs are great tools for teaching today, for preparing international students, researchers and professionals. They allow anyone to prepare for a stay in France. Our Moocs and our publications are the result of decades of reflection and pedagogical experience in this field. These Moocs can be used in a hybrid format or independently. Our 1st intermediate French Mooc (B1-B2): Studying in France launched in December 2016 has more than 400,000 subscribers from over 160 countries and ranks 77th among the 250 most followed Moocs in the world. A 2nd Mooc for higher level French (C1-C2) will be launched in late 2022.

How will the Center contribute to pedagogical innovation?

The research division the Center has several objectives: it aims to create a scientific dynamic around language learning. In the context of Moocs, we are more interested in developing autonomy in learning. This means thinking about how to teach, taking a fresh look at voice recognition for example (for phonetic self-evaluation), etc. In short, we have many ideas and the Center should allow us to move forward. We are also planning study days and conferences in the coming years. The Center has just been created, it is now up to us to make it live. Our team of teachers and researchers, all from IP Paris schools, is ready to take up the challenge!