• FREN 1004, 5 credits
  • Faculty Coordinator: Lydia Belatèche
  • Faculty Coordinator Assistant: Janel Toussaint
  • Sponsoring U of M Department: French & Italian
  • Fulfills U of M Requirement(s): Meets U of M degree credit requirements, such as departmental major, minor, or elective requirements; College of Liberal Arts Second Language Requirement
  • Teacher Applications: Apply to Teach a Course

U of M Catalog Description

University Catalog Link

Vous êtes les bienvenus! Come join us in exploring some of the foundations of cultural identity. What does it mean to be "French?" What does it mean to be "American?" What are some things that people living within a particular culture have in common as a function of living in that culture? Where do personal and cultural identities intersect? We pay special attention to development of intercultural competence, comparing how food, child-rearing practices, elements of national identity, and diversity are treated in France and the US. We revisit many grammar concepts you have seen before, focusing on accuracy and extended language use.

This course will allow you to be much more confident in using comparisons, narrating (past and present), linking ideas together into longer discourse, describing, etc. Upon successful completion of this course, you should be solidly in the Intermediate ranges of proficiency in French, able to travel and use French for your own goals. You will also be prepared for more advanced study in French here or abroad.

Class size limit: 24

Sample Syllabus

Student Qualifications

Students enrolling in FREN 1004 must be juniors or seniors in high school and have completed FREN 1003 with a C- or better, or have instructor approval. Qualified ninth and tenth graders may apply to enroll with instructor approval. 

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.

Visit the Apply to Teach a Course page for course-specific qualifications and application steps.


The following text is required for FREN 1004:

Siskin, Ouvertures: Cours intermediare de francais, 4th ed.; Wiley, 2006. 

FREN 1004 will use selected parts of the text supplemented by numerous additional cultural activities for development of reading and listening skills. These are provided to teachers via the CIS French website for teachers.

The course also includes an additional longer reading as follows:

  • Excerpts of Guène, Kiffe kiffe demain, available on a CIS French teacher resource site.
  • Annotated libretto of Les Misérables, coursepack available on the  teacher resource site.  

Both of the texts provided include pedagogical vocabulary glosses, cultural annotations, and questions for comprehension checks and discussion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
CIS teachers work from a common syllabus. However, teachers commonly add assignments and activities of their own choosing that relate to the themes and goals of the course. In addition, teachers must of course adapt the U of M syllabus to their particular school calendar. All CIS teachers work with the following types of assignments: grammar exercises from the textbook or of their own devising; listening and reading comprehension activities on cultural themes; compositions (two drafts each); and preparation for oral exams (Conversations Evaluées).

Who creates the exams?
Teachers are provided with a complete set of exams. Each chapter has two exams, the first one a shorter test focusing on vocabulary and grammar from the first half of the chapter, and including a brief composition relating to the chapter theme. In addition to testing the chapter vocabulary and grammar, the second exam includes listening and reading comprehension sections and a composition.

Is there a training and mentoring system for new CIS French teachers?
Both the faculty coordinator and assistant serve as mentors for the CIS French teachers. We have also established a listserv to help all French teachers mentor each other. A CIS French website gives teachers access to program materials and other resources contributed by participating teachers. In addition to this, new teachers benefit from workshops which focus on both course content and University processes, and attend an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS as well as prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary: can a teacher in the block system teach U of M French?
All courses offered through CIS have the same minimum number of contact hours as the on-campus sections. However, aside from this minimum requirement (70−75 contact hours), the course is offered in varying formats according to each school’s needs. Several participating schools are on a block schedule. Though the standard model is to offer FREN 1003 and 1004 consecutively in one school year, many schools have chosen to do 1003 only through one school year. Where possible, these schools offer 1004 the following year.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include familiarization with new course materials; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; listening to guest speaker presentations on cultural or pedagogical topics; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices.

What happens at typical student field days?
Student field days provide an opportunity for CIS students to meet their peers, practice skills they have learned in class, and explore the Twin Cities campus. The following are typical elements of a French field day agenda:

  • Students meet in small groups with community members who are using French in their professions, or attend a presentation and Q&A with a native French speaker about their personal history and their experience of different cultures.
  • Coffee and croissant break with instructors and students from the University and other high schools, which includes a conversation activity in French
  • Class visits—space permitting—in beginning, intermediate, and advanced French courses

What other recommendations or comments can you offer to prospective CIS French teachers?
High school students taking FREN 1003 and 1004 can immediately begin advanced coursework in French if they begin their college careers at the U of M, as well as at many other colleges and universities. To get a minor in French at the U, a student only needs six more courses after FREN 1004.

High Schools Offering This Course

  • Buffalo High School
  • Eastview High School (Apple Valley)
  • Eden Prairie High School
  • Hopkins High School (Minnetonka)
  • Rosemount High School
  • Stillwater Area High School
  • Two Rivers High School (Mendota Heights)
  • White Bear Lake Area High School