Why Create OLY Parle?

Several factors led to deciding to create OLY Parle. Those factors include:

A local focus point offering regular, year round practice of the French language

There had been such groups historically, although they were informal. The French Circle team had had a following in South Sound; yet it could not maintain a monthly calendar and continue due to time constraints for the organizer

Offer activities that complement existing resources instead of supplanting them

Both the South Sound Seniors & the City of Olympia Parks and Recreation Department offer periodic French classes; however such class-based programs do not appeal to younger adults and language training is not the main thread of their curricula

Partnering with the Evergreen State College internship department

This very positive link has proven essential not only in offering a small stipend to interns choosing this activity, but also in generating ideas and formulating new ways of scoping the program with input from the participating interns

Creating a presence in downtown Olympia

Holding weekly sessions at downtown bookstores has many pluses: a central location, the ease of access to bus transit and spreading the word about the program among store customers. This approach also works in tandem with grounded resources from other language-oriented groups (book reading clubs, book signing events, poetry readings, art openings etc…)

Test and discover which educational models work

The Tacoma French Club holds “meet up” gatherings each month and usually in a restaurant or bar with loud ambient sounds. Such an approach would not cater to young college interns. The sound setting would preclude recording and act as a barrier to communication among all attendees. Another resource at the South Puget Sound Community College is the beginning French classes (2 levels); in such a case, novice students are just beginning to explore French. OLY Parle refers persons at the real beginner level to such a program

As those factors show, starting OLY Parle has been a timely move. It offers a middle ground between periodic community resources and the stable academic setting at Evergreen State College. Parameters chosen for OLY Parle are a minimum of weekly sessions, held all year. The group composition varies by time of year and can lead to a different set of activities. There is neither a shared text book, nor common assignments, nor a set calendar for testing aptitude. The opportunity to have different material for each participant is key to varied content, non competitive approach and letting participants exert their initiative on how to present highlights of their weekly endeavors

Objectives among Participants

Members of OLY Parle have various language objectives. Combining their main goals gives the following key aspects:

Expand Vocabulary

Build on previously learned vocabulary
Learn new vocabulary through group conversations

Improve Speech

Practice conversational French
Gain exposure to native speakers
Cultivate listening & comprehension skills

Join Francophone Community

Meet new people
Opportunities to connect with francophones
Find other local individuals with similar interests

Become More International

Make connections for opportunities outside of the US
Expand awareness and skills to participate in global community

Why Join?

OLY Parle members come from a wide range of experiences, and have joined for many reasons.

“I joined Oly Parle to get to know others in the community who spoke French. I wanted to expand my network and meet others in my community, who had common interests and skills”“

“I like the periodic exposure to French language and culture-mainly for enrichment, awareness about other values and perspectives on international events; I prefer that approach to becoming an excellent speaker or grammar whiz groomed for French immersion trips abroad”

“I joined Oly Parle because I was worried I was starting to forget all the French I had learned in high school. Oly Parle provided me an avenue to keep in regular practice with French”

“This program seemed like a new and different approach to learning French. I have always been interested in studying foreign languages, and OLY Parle offers a unique setting for practicing French in a non-traditional way”

Special Projects

Leading to the end of the first year, special assignments are encouraged during periods of slower school activities or part-time students

These can involve more than one participant. Each project has a scope, budget, schedule and deliverables.

Name Project Duration Purpose Product
Self Study French
Language e-Kits
Review
Alternative
e-Language
Learning
focus on French
speech
4 weeks Identify, research &
compare existing
tools-especially
how they support
listening and
speaking
White paper on
scopes of current
self language study
kits
Self Study French
Language e-Kits
Review
Compare
Self-Study Kits
< 2 weeks Compare &
Contrast existing
French-self
learning tools
Summary of
Advantages &
Disadvantages
Cross Cultural
Review of Media
content and
messages
Research Media
Perspectives –
French versus
North American
and focus on
specic events,
venues or topics
4-6 weeks Compare current
topics/events
between US &
Francophone
countries (print,
postings, photos,
editorials, cartoons,
etc.)
Present results
in matrix format for
the entire group.
Share with other
French programs
E-search on current
topics, raised
by group
Research Recent
Material (Self/Other)
1 week Expand insight into
a recent topic,
which deserves
more in depth
coverage
Present findings
during group
sessions
OLY Parle Internet site
content
preparation
Website Creation 2 to 3 months Create a new
website

Launched Internet

Site

Technical support Audio Recording &
editing
Vary Manage recordings
& voice data
Audio recording
Visual material
Enhancement
Assess the current
visual tools and
look for new ones
Vary with target
market
Relay bi-lingual
message for
OLY Parle to near
term markets
New Visual Tools