Parlez-vous français? Hapnot club says ‘Oui’

Flin Flon’s Francophone community got a chance to brush up on their skills, and the inexperienced french speaker got a chance to improve during Hapnot’s first ‘Café Français’ of the year Oct. 30.

Café Français is a bimonthly event set up by the Flin Flon School Division’s French Immersion instructors to help students and francophone community members get a chance to speak French in a new setting.

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“Unfortunately, where we live, [speaking outside the classroom] doesn't happen that often,” Hapnot French Immersion teacher Natalie Milligan said.

“It's nice to have a place where [students] can see French people in the room chatting and understanding that it's not just a school subject, it's a way of life. It's a way that people live their lives. And so if they see us playing games or chatting and helps them remember that it's more than vocabulary lessons in class.”

Milligan said the activities during the evening depends on the crowd that appears. The night before Halloween featured bingo with Halloween vocabulary, and creating gingerbread haunted houses. The Halloween party night was similar to a beginner’s French class.

“We try to do a combination of learning activities with fun activities to get some vocabulary or some expressions,” Milligan said.

“It’s a combination of getting kids of different ages chatting together, with giving the community a chance to speak French somewhere.”

Milligan started Café Français as a way for French speaking individuals in Flin Flon to flex their Francophone muscles.

“Here's a chance to do some French and have fun using your French or learn your French along with your kids,” she said.
“Families bring their kids and then they kind of learn together a little bit.”

Milligan said Café Français will run twice a month, with every night looking different according to attendees.

“We're thinking we're just going to mix it up a little bit - a little bit of learning and a little party,” she said.

“Instead of being, ‘Wait, is this family night?’ We're going to kind of mix it up. We have some plans for some sports nights and cooking nights.”

Milligan said she’s hoping to bring in different Francophone cultures from across Canada and the world.

“We want to try and bring in some of the different people in town who have different French backgrounds,” she said.

“If not, we'll find some activities on our own. We’re looking for that injection of Francophone culture. We’re just hoping to get more and more people coming out and having fun in French.”

Milligan said beginner French speakers shouldn’t be intimidated to come out and take part.

“If people are different levels you shouldn't be scared of it,” she said.

“We had a couple nights where [another teacher] would take a beginner group and I would take an intermediate group... Depending on the night, the theme, and the people that show up we just adapted so people shouldn't be scared away.

For more information or to see upcoming events, check out Hapnot’s Café Français Facebook page.

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