President's Report

President’s Report to AGM of Albury-Wodonga Alliance Française

 July 2016 to June 2017 was again a busy and successful year for the Albury-Wodonga Alliance Française.

Committee: A new committee was elected at our Annual General Meeting in August 2016:

          President: Karral Miller

          Vice President: Carol Smith

          Secretary: Phil Sefton

          Treasurer: Paule Gauquié

          Committee members: Consuelo Merluzzi, Vivienne Paramore & Clare D’Arcy

I wish to publically acknowledge the time voluntarily given by our Committee members, not just at the monthly meetings, but also the extra hours spent ensuring that we are offering our members high quality, well organised services and events. It was more demanding this year because one of the Committee members underwent lengthy treatment for illness. However other members rallied to take over her duties. As President I thank them for their commitment, enthusiasm and hard work.

Membership: From 1st July 2016 to the of the end of June 2017, we had 114 (92 in previous year) financial memberships, with 94 (77 in previous year) different people participating in our classes at various times during the year.

French Classes: In 2016 and 2017 we have offered the same classes: 5 separate, 2-hour, evening classes – Beginners (A1), Continuing Beginners (A2), two Intermediate (B1), Advanced (B2) plus a 1-hour conversation class. 

We continue to conduct classes at Age Concern, where we have the flexibility to offer different levels of classes at the one time, thereby allowing students to select the level appropriate to them. Age Concern has also generously provided space for us to have our library on permanent display and storage for our extensive collection of DVDs, leading to increased access by students.

DELF exams: In November 2016, one candidate sat for DELF qualifications (compared to 12 in 2011, 6 in 2012, 4 in 2013, 5 in 2014 and 15 in 2015). The low number in 2016 was due to students being otherwise committed at the time and a steep increase in fees. The cost of the exams, which is set by Alliance Française Paris, is borne by the participants but Alliance Française Albury Wodonga subsidises the process by paying the local examiners.

Thanks must go to Marion Bennett who has been our capable DELF organiser and examiner for many years. We funded Claire Rogers to attend four days of training in April 2017 to successfully gain qualifications a DELF examiner to assist Marion.

We’re proud of the fact that we’re one of only two centres outside the capital cities which offer DELF/DALF exams, and see this as an important activity of our Alliance.

Governance

During the 2016/2017 year the Committee have continued to review and refine policies and processes in accordance with set goals. This has led to development of more efficient online registration for classes and events and the more rigid application of satisfaction surveys particularly for those who leave classes during the year. There has been greater communication with our students and the data gathered will be used for planning courses and future directions. We are also increasing our communication with the Alliance Française organisation nationally and the Fondation in Paris in order to keep informed and to comply with the organisation’s 2020 Plan.

 Evaluation

During November 2016 current students and those who had left during the year were invited to fill in a survey  to evaluate the quality of teaching, curriculum and level of participation in classes and other events organised by AF Albury Wodonga. The results gave us an insight into student needs and our performance and were used to inform development of our program.

The great majority of the feedback was very positive and we have taken onboard constructive critiscism and suggestions. As a summary, 64% of participants were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with AF Albury Wodonga and a further 24% were satisfied.

Another survey was undertaken of those who dropped out of classes at the end of Term 1in 2017. Historically there is a large number of students mostly at the Beginner level who do not complete more than a term or two of instruction. It is hoped that the data obtained from continued surveys of this group may assist in identifying and addressing the problem.


Report on French Language Classes 2016 to 2017

We have once again offered a range of classes, from total beginners, through to continuing beginners, intermediate and advanced levels, with over 211 enrolments during the year.

Our classes are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (CEFR) which is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries. The text books used in each class are structured at appropriate levels which follow these guidelines.

Each calendar year, we offer classes for beginners (A1) from the start of term 1. Other students may join the class during the year, however they are usually people who have done some French study. Numbers at the start of 2017 were again large, at 22. (26 in 2016,18 in 2015, 27 in 2014 and 18 in 2013). It was decided that, in order to maintain a high standard of instruction, the class should be split into two groups at least until the end of Term 2 when, traditionally numbers have always declined. Once again there was a high departure rate of Beginners by the end of term 2.

The Continuing Beginners (A2) class has maintained high numbers again this year although a considerable number moved up to the Intermediate (B1) class in 2017.

We have two classes at Intermediate (B1) level, on Mondays and Wednesdays. Together with the Wednesday Advanced (B2) class, they allow us to offer a range of levels on both Monday and Wednesday evenings. This allows people to move between classes if necessary to find their right level. Class numbers are sometimes down because of people travelling – often to countries where they can practise their French language skills.

The Advanced Class has maintained higher numbers in 2017 than in previous years.

Our Conversation class continued this year with steady numbers in 2017 after a dip at the end of 2016. Some students attend this in addition to a two-hourly class.

We have been fortunate to secure once more the services of a range of skilled contract teachers, including native French speakers. Olwen Steel was again the teacher of the Beginners (A1) class. Miranda Salinger undertook to teach the second Beginners (A1) class for Term 1 when another class was formed because of the high enrolment.  Paule Gauquié began with the Monday intermediate (B1) class, and the Wednesday Advanced (B2) class but, unfortunately, illness caused her absence in Term 4 2016. Claire Rogers began teaching the Continuing Beginners (A2) and the Wednesday Intermediate (B1) class, as well as the Conversation class but with Paule’s absence she took over the Advanced class and Monday Intermediate class for a term. We welcomed the very capable Sarangi Kaluarachchi to teach the Continuing Beginners and Wednesday Intermediates. In 2017, Paule returned to only her Advanced (B2) class so Sarangi was retained as the Continuing Beginners teacher and a relief teacher while Claire Rogers taught both Intermediate classes.

 In January 2017, in response to requests, Alliance Française Albury Wodonga organised an immersion week- a four hour class each day for five days. These classes were ably conducted by Claire Rogers and were attended by 9 students. Summer classes may become a regular part of our calendar.

Class Numbers Summary: Term3 2016 to Term2 2017

Term

3/2016

4/2016

1/2017

2/2017

Year

Mon Beginners (A1)

8

7

22

9

46

Mon Continuing Beginners (A2)

15

14

12

11

52

Mon Conversation

4

2

7

8

21

Mon Intermediate (B1)

5

6

12

8

31

Wed Intermediate (B1)

3

5

12

9

29

Wed Advanced (B2)

8

6

9

9

32

Total

43

40

74

54

211

Comparaison to Term3 2016 to Term2 2017 shows similar numbers:

Term

3/2015

4/2015

1/2016

2/2016

Year

Mon Beginners (A1)

7.6

4.0

25.5

13.5

50.6

Mon Continuing Beginners (A2)

8.4

12.5

19.0

14.0

53.9

Mon Conversation

4.6

6.0

6.5

4.5

21.6

Mon Intermediate (B1)

8.9

7.8

7.5

7.5

31.6

Wed Intermediate (B1)

6.4

4.3

6.6

5.4

22.6

Wed Advanced (B2)

4.3

4.9

10.8

9.4

29.3

Total

40.1

39.4

75.9

54.3

209.6