French Seminar and Excursion to Degas Exhibition

French Distance Education courses place great emphasis on culture and offer students vast opportunities to explore the rich world of French history and art.

Every year the French faculty takes Year 11, Year 10 and Accelerated 2 Distance Education students to the National Gallery of Victoria for a guided tour of the permanent exhibition of French art, as part of one of our seminars.Degas 1

This year we were lucky to be able to combine a Seminar with a very special visit to the National Gallery of Victoria, which included a talk by a member of the NGV staff and a viewing of the exhibition “DEGAS – A new Vision”.

Impressionism is one of the topics studied in Unit 2.  It also features in the Reading Assessment Task, as well as an oral task.

In the morning the Year 10, the Accelerated 2 and the Year 11 students mastered vocabulary related to the topic of art and paintings, then described some impressionist’s paintings, using newly acquired vocabulary and expressions.  The vocabulary was selected appropriately for the differing language levels. This was followed by a listening comprehension activity with people expressing their views of a particular painting.  Students learned to express their personal perception of and reaction to each work of art.Degas 2

After a short break for lunch, students accompanied by their French teachers went to the National Gallery of Victoria for a one hour lecture by a member of the Gallery staff and a viewing of the exhibition.

Here is what some of our students said:

I enjoyed the seminar and I feel that it helped me to improve my French. My favourite part was of course, the Degas exhibition. I loved not only seeing the works of art but also hearing the history behind them. Overall, an amazing day!        Patrick Grave

I thought the Degas exhibition was very interesting, I learnt a lot about French art in the 19th Century. I particularly loved the sculptures he made, my favourites were La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze  Ans and his painting of the Belleli Family.   Monique Heslop

Well, I personally enjoyed the excursion. It was the first excursion I have done with the VSL, and I liked it. The class lesson we had was very good. I didn’t feel pressured to contribute unless I was confident and I learnt new things as well as recapping on old ones. The excursion itself, to see the Degas Gallery was interesting, especially being an ex-studio art student. All in all I thought the excursion was enjoyable and well worth it.   Fynn

The exhibition was great. For someone like me who does not often go to galleries I was fascinated by Degas’ skill and effort portrayed in his works. In all, I really enjoyed the day and would love to come to another of its type.      Louis Commins

I found the gallery visit very interesting. The sculpture was especially amazing since it stood  out :). The paintings were superb! As for the seminar, to me the information about the paintings, grammar and help about the SACs were very useful. I thought  it would be scary, since I missed the first two, but I was  pleasantly surprised when the atmosphere  was not at all intimidating  but quite  the opposite 🙂 meeting  other students who are interested  in learning French was fun and sort of relaxing  knowing that there  are also other students  with  similar interests to me. Merci beaucoup.      Katarina

The Degas art exhibition was a perfect opportunity to  enrich our understanding of French art and culture. The lecture prior to the visit particularly helped, with new vocabulary about art expression introduced to us. Overall, these events combined to give a great experience to students, which I thoroughly enjoyed.      Rebekka Krishtul

I thought that the lecture at The NGV was very intriguing and informative. The information gave a very good insight into the life of Degas and his artworks. I found the exhibition to be an incredible experience that allowed us to appreciate the originality and splendour of Degas’ works and gave us an idea of what we will be studying next year.  Brooke O’Brien

I found looking at all the different styles of art Degas made very interesting. There were some amazing pieces of art work made in a range of mediums. Learning about Degas, his life, how he made his art, why he painted what he did and the historical context of his work gave us a broader understanding of the whole exhibition.       Kyra Kerwin.

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