Our Philosophy: Exploration, Interaction, Discussion
Students who study French at Grinnell share a common sense of exploration: they seek to understand different cultures, to travel outside the United States, and to communicate ideas in a language other than their native tongue.
In the classroom, the student experience is characterized by interaction and discussion. The elementary language classes emphasize communication and the acquisition of grammar through daily practice conversing in French. In the second-and third-year courses, students integrate their language skills into a deeper exploration of culture and literature. Classroom activities might entail a discussion of Renaissance love poetry, a presentation on the German occupation of France during World War II, or a debate about representations of ethnic identity in the contemporary French-speaking world. The most advanced courses are taught as seminars in which small groups of students focus on a specific topic, such as Innovation and Transgression in French Literature, and explore it in depth.
Students have the option of doing a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP), a capstone experience that culminates in the production of original work at the advanced level. They can also study French as part of an interdisciplinary concentration such as Africana Studies, Global Development Studies, or Western European Studies.