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British cannot cast first language stone

I found your article about how terrible the French are at teaching and speaking English a bit of a cheek (Solving a problem like teaching languages in France, November edition).

As a French national who taught French in Britain for 40 years, I can tell you the Brits should keep quiet about others’ inability to learn languages.

As to the way French teachers mark pupils’ work, so-called “negative marking”, it beats having to give a mark to reward the pupil for having written their name on the paper.

Furthermore they, and their parents, show no interest in languages because “everybody speaks English”. In France, English is compulsory up to the age of 18 and most students study two languages.

I now live in France and I am appalled by so-called “expats” not interested in learning French! I offer lessons in my area, which is full of retired Britons and have no students. Put your own house in order before you criticise others.

Daniele Lebreton-Travis, Morbihan


Editor’s note: The article referred to is an interview with one of the authors of a report on the future of language teaching in France, which was commissioned by the French Ministry of Education. You can read it by clicking here.


Daniele Lebreton-Travis wins the Connexion letter of the month for September 2018 and a copy of the Connexion Puzzle Book.

Please include your name and address in any correspondence; we can withhold it on request. The Editor’s decision is final. Write to: The Connexion, Patio Palace, 41 avenue Hector Otto, 98000 Monaco or email

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