"French A should concentrate more on modern French life and require an hour each week of language laboratory work," Madame Fanny A. C. Duhamel, visiting lecturer in French from the Sorbonne, claimed yesterday.
Like many of her colleagues in the Department, Madame Duhamel, who is starting her first year of teaching French A, found problems in the University's introductory French program. "We are confronted by students who, by and large, are not interested in language," she said.
"If the average student in the course could read a French newspaper by the end of the year, the course would be a success," Madame Duhamel insisted. She plans to use French periodicals and recent literature next year and to lecture on contemporary France. "I think students are interested in learning about French daily life, economy, and geography; and lectures in French on these subjects would add to their knowledge of both the language and the country," she claimed.
Madame Duhamel also found fault with the method by which grammar has been taught in the past. She asserted, "There has been too much emphasis on the cas special, and subjects such as the order of pronouns have been taught in patches over a period of several months instead of in one concentrated lesson." Madame Duhamel, who taught French to foreign students at the Sorbonne in Paris for 12 years, felt that grammar should be over-simplified if necessary in order to get across to the student its essentially logical pattern.
In view of the new Modern Language Center, being built in Boylston Hall, Madame Duhamel thought that an hour language laboratory, in addition to the present four class hours, should be compulsory. "This is the best way for the student to study his own pronunciation," she said.