French Studies program coordinator at La Trobe’s School of Historical and European StudiesSince joining La Trobe in 2009, Raphaël Trantoul has made significant improvements to the University’s French Studies program, establishing courses that are not only student-centred but also engaged with the wider French language community.
Raphaël’s goal was to create a program that would equip students both linguistically and culturally. This means teaching the majority of classes entirely in French, and exposing students to French-speaking cultures in countries such as West Africa and the Caribbean as well as France itself.
Raphaël’s task-based classes can involve activities as diverse as writing blog posts, creating podcasts, or even performing on stage. As they progress, students reach proficiency levels that are in line with international standards, and are prepared to sit the internationally recognised diplomas DELF (Diplôme d’Etudes de Langue Française) and DALF (Diplôme Approfondi en Langue Française) in their third year of study.
In 2010, Raphaël’s efforts meant La Trobe became the first Australian university to employ a French Lectrice or university teaching assistant through a pilot program run by the French Embassy. This program has been so successful that it has since been extended to a number of other universities around Australia.
Intensive summer exchange courses in France and opportunities to undertake work placements with the Alliance Française are also part of La Trobe’s French Studies program. In 2012, the university began offering ‘France in Film’ – its first dual-coded course for both French and History students.
Raphaël’s influence has created a dynamic French culture on campus, with student-run conversation groups, mentoring partnerships between first and third year students, and the French Club, which organises campus events as well as running an active online community.