Primary School Placements – France
BA (Hons) Primary Education with QTS
Florence Everett and Katy Fox completed a two week work experience teaching at a primary school in France.
Motivation to learn a new language
“I have an understanding of French and wanted to develop this. I chose to go abroad to gain some experience working in a school in another country.” Florence Everett
“I have always been a French language enthusiast (learning the language up to AS Level) and as a part of my course I have followed all the languages routes. I have the hopes to one day teach in France and have always wanted to visit Paris. When the opportunity to teach English in a Paris school came up, I knew it was the perfect experience for me.” Katy Fox
“We got to experience what it was like to live and work abroad which was something I hadn't done before. This trip also allowed us to explore to city's tourist spots!” Florence Everett
“I absolutely loved the experience of living in Paris for two weeks and it felt like it was becoming my actual routine even by the end of the first week! There was a real contrast between English and French schools and we got to witness the different learning and teaching styles. I could improve my French (very little English speakers) and have conversations with children from the different years in the playground. Most of all, I loved having the freedom to explore and because of the scholarship, it meant that we had no money restrictions with what we did.” Katy Fox
Differences between France and the UK
“The schools in Paris couldn’t be more different. The classes are combined with different year groups which isn’t as common in England. The children also do most of their learning from a textbook.“
“The weekly timetable is also different, on some days they finished at half 4, others half 3 and on a Wednesday they finish at lunchtime.” Florence Everett
“In terms of professional practice within the school, the teachers were a lot more laid back. Safeguarding was at a much lower level; teachers could have mobile devices on them always and photos and videos could be taken of the children."
"Teaching strategies were very different, there wasn’t much interactive teaching and children did most of their work through textbooks. When the children’s school day finished, the teacher’s left not long after. The French life allowed everybody more time in the evenings. On a Wednesday afternoon, most people finish at lunchtime and have the afternoon to do as they wish/need. Back here in Birmingham, teachers spend more time on planning and creating engaging lessons and resources for effective learning to be taking place for the children.“ Katy Fox
Achievements and future aspirations
“I definitely developed my language skills and while this trip made me realise that I don't want to work outside of the UK, it was a completely invaluable experience."
"I did gain an insight into how children in another country are educated and it was eye opening to see how good our education system actually is!” Florence Everett
“I could practice my French speaking skills, and I did have to use it in the classroom as the lessons were in the French language and to communicate with the children we had to speak in their language. This proved to be a barrier at first but with confidence it improved greatly. I learnt about the process of becoming a teacher in France as this was something that interested me. It would require me to do an extra 2 years of teacher training in France so that I have the required qualifications.” Katy Fox
Know before you go
“If you are going to a country where English isn't the official language, definitely practice before you go as it will help a lot. Budget well for your trip!!” Florence Everett
“Never let anything stop you applying! It is a great experience and one that you will be able to use in your future plans! “ Katy Fox