I am a dual French and Cellular and Molecular Biology major at the University of Michigan, and I am responding to The Daily article titled, “An Open Letter to the French Department.” My perspective is different insofar as I had not spoken a word of French until my arrival at the University of Michigan. I still remember the first day of French 100 during winter semester of my freshman year, when my instructor conducted two hours of class in French and I understood only two words: “oui” and “non.”
Critiques of the program with regard to a heavy workload and tough grading are unfair. As a science major, I have taken many courses in which all-nighters’worth of studying is merely an expectation of the class. The grading is tough, the workload is heavy and students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning, both in the Romance Languages and Literatures Department and in the Program in Biology. I am proud to have completed the introductory sequence in the French program because I know the work that I put into this rigorous program was accurately reflected in my grade and in my performance in the language.
Resources are available to ensure that success is within reach to all students. To learn a language as a young adult is a challenge that is unique for both those teaching and those learning. In my experience in the RLL, all the lecturers and professors are rooting for your success in the language, in their courses and in life. Assigned homework, the workshop-style “flipped classroom,”office hours and the Language Resource Center are all examples of resources implemented by the French program for its students’success. The resources are here for success in the introductory French sequence, and it is up to students to take advantage of them.
Andrew White is an LSA senior.