Hi everybody !

Today, I would like to share with you one part of the test I passed (I succeeded in it. Otherwise, I would have written « I applied to » or « I sat down ») to prepare a diploma to maybe become a French Language Teacher recognized by the Alliance Francaise, the DAEFLE. The test took place on September 1st and lasted :

-          1h45 for the summary about the way of teaching foreign languages in Institutes and in public secondary school

-          2h15 about a kind of essay about the function of school and marks

I draw your attention on the second point. The subject was as follows:

“Piloting tool or anguish protection?” (Outil de pilotage ou pare angoisse?)

As school selects, makes succeed or fail, thus excludes, parents are overcome with anxiety (s’angoisser pour) for the scholar future of their children. They constantely rest on (avoir les yeux fixes en permanence) on received marks without even questioning (remettre en cause) on the validity itself of the way to measure knowledges (mesurer les acquis). Do we have to cancel marks? How can we use assessment (evaluation) in another way?”

As a future teacher, while reading this article extract from Philippe Perrenoud, you thought about this issue. You write to the “Cahiers Pedagogiques” review to express your feelings on this matter.

Your text has to include 1,200 – 1,500 words.

Well, after studying the topic, we can divide our letter in three parts:

-          what is a mark system?

-          Why do we have such a system?

-          What is the mission of a teacher and what are the encountered limits on his/her job?

Here is a translation extract of what I wrote for this test. I do not count the number of words in the english version as my copy was written in French. I will also add some other expressions you can use on this kind of written expression.


Dear Sirs,

I have just studied the article called “Piloting tool or anguish protection” written by Philippe Perrenoud, published in your review dated December 2005. I would like to give you my opinion on this matter as a future teacher.

Indeed, the author challenges (remettre en cause) the legitimacy (legitimite) of marks system and emphasizes / lays the emphasis on (souligner) the parents’ fear for the future of their offspring (progeniture), what I can easily afford to understand (etre en mesure de).

He invites us to wonder (s’interroger sur) on the “extreme” importance given to marks as they determine the future of their kids and consequently their future professional integration within our society.

I will answer firstly explaining why such a system was set up and will enlarge this view as it seems to be too restrictive. Finally, I will remind you what is the mission of a teacher and what are the limits of teaching for him/her.

Other possibilities of expressing ideas / reported speech:

To report (rapporter)                             to hear (entendre dire)    to hear about (entendre parler)

To observe (faire observer)                   to remark (faire remarquer)

To suggest + Ving (suggerer)              to advocate + Ving (suggerer de)

To allude to, to hint at (faire allusion a)      to inform (informer), to claim (pretendre), to disclose (reveler)

To tell a story (raconter une histoire), to write to someone (ecrire a quelqu’un), to explain to so (expliquer a quelqu’un)

As the writer puts it...                                         Comme l’exprime l’auteur

As the writer says...                                            Comme le dit l’auteur

From authorised sources…                              De source autorisee

According to well-informed observers…      Selon des observateurs bien informes

Having introduced the notion of…, we shall discuss... then...

The first point we shall focus on will be... then... lastly...

He levels criticism / an accusation at... (il adresse, lance des critiques, une accusation contre)

To arouse controversy (soulever une polemique)

DEVELOPEMENT / MAKING A POINT (presenter ses arguments)

Firstly, we need to highlight (mettre en exergue) that contrary to some developing countries (pays en voie de developpement), it is an obligation for teenager to go to school until 16. To educate each of us in various subjects is the mission of school. It contributes to our intellectual development and let us find our inclinations (vocations), our future job in accordance with the affinity level between the proposed subjects and our personnality.

In order to control the knowledges and not to sanction or to deter students (decourager), the tests by surprise or homeworks take part from the teaching requirements.

According to the programm, a minimum of knowledges has to be known each year. Marks give us an idea, of course, on the whole, if the pupils master or not the different schemes. If it is not the case, we can be worried as we need to revise stage by stage (...)

I agree to say that a “standard” can be considered as extreme (outranciere) to determine what will be the future of a kid? Nevertheless, is it not our society basis? (...)

Beyond the theorical knowledges, school lets children discover theirselves, blossom (s’epanouir) and develop their personnality? Competition sense, resourceful skill (debrouillardise), taking initiatives, curiosity, relevance (pertinence) are so many advantages (...)

Besides (...) Do we need to express our concern (exprimer son inquietude) about self-taught (autodidacte) managers or others who take lessons on evening to change job or be promoted?

Be submitted to the marks’ system is a “sine qua non” condition to get a diploma but does it induce (determiner) our success?

When we fail to pass an examination or a diploma, does it mean we are unskilled to have a job? (...)

As we are always under pressure while working, obliged to respect a results’ obligation and not a means’ one, we incite our children to follow this example. We sometimes do not take enough into account the fact they are only kids with a certain naivety and they will sacrifice it to please us and meet the “success standard” (...)

The duty of a teacher has to be qualified positively by him/her. (...) Of course, his/her own education, personnality, experience will influence his/her teaching. (...)

Other possibilities of expressions:

Mainly (principalement)                     particularly (particulierement)           essentially (essentiellement)

Theorically (theoriquement)             firmly (fermement)                               basically (fondamentalement)

To point out (faire remarquer)          to insist on (insister sur)

In my view (my opinion), to my mind...          A mon avis

I personnaly feel that...                                     Personnellement, il me semble que

I am inclined to think that...                            J’ai tendance a penser que

All things considered...                                    Tout bien considere

I cannot help thinking that...                          Je ne peux m’empecher de penser que

The main point I wish to make is that…        L’idee principale que j’aimerais faire passer est que...

In particular, it should be noted that…        Il convient en particulier de noter que

It is essential to bear in mind that…              Il ne faut surtout pas perdre de vue que

It is also worth mentioning that…                  Un autre point souligne d’etre souligne

I would even go as far as to say…                  J’irais meme jusqu’a dire que


In conclusion, let us say that parents do not have to be blamed for their behaviour towards their kids about marks. They just want to preserve them and make them succeed even if helping them getting good marks or putting pressure on them are not the right solutions. Parents just imitate the society rules (...)

The role of teacher is quite important as all will depend on the quality of his/her teaching to give students knowledges that they will keep all their lifes long. (...)

Just remember that we are all under control: marks for pupils and teachers controlled by inspectors, wages with premium, audience rating for TV or radio channels, net revenues for shopkeepers... We need to enlarge this notion and stress in this debate (souligner) the efforts made by teachers to diversify exercises and educate children on the best way possible. Let us forget marks and open our mind to knowledges and skills which will help us to fight in life and be who we are!

Other possibility for concluding:

All things considered, we can come to the conclusion that...

That is it for today. Let us talk about other subjects !

With best wishes,