Topic:  Business French


Meredith Birmingham

French IV

Grade 12


Unit Rationale

As one possible area in which students might apply their French knowledge, the business world is important to study.  Knowing how to read job ads, write business letters, and participate in job interviews will show students authentic ways in which their French knowledge could be put to use.  It is also interesting to compare American and French practices in business habits and etiquette.


Essential Questions:

        What are desirable qualities of an employee? (an employer?  a job?)

        What information is appropriate to ask (or offer) in job interviews in the US and France?

        What points of etiquette does one need to know when applying or interviewing for a job in France?  How do these points differ from those in the US?


Students will be able to...

        Use French job search engines

        Write a cover letter and CV for a job of their choice using correct form and etiquette

        Participate in job interviews using correct etiquette

        Compare and contrast French and US job application/interview practices

        Express their preferences for qualities in an employer, an employee, and a job


Students will know...

        Vocabulary relating to jobs, banking, and housing

        The form appropriate for French business letters and CVs

        French cultural stance on desirable qualities in employees

        Appropriate and common questions to ask or be asked during French job interviews


Students will already need to know...

        present, future, imperfect, perfect tenses

        indicative, conditional, and subjunctive moods

        the causative

        demonstrative pronouns (celui, etc.)


ACTFL Standards



        Practical tasks

o       Search for jobs via French online job search engines

o       Write cover letters and CVs for a French job

o       Participate in a mock French job interview

        Cultural analysis

o       Compare and contrast French and American application and interviewing processes and etiquette

        Personal analysis

o       Express personal preference for qualities in employees, employers, and jobs



        Students, working in small groups, will brainstorm qualities of an ideal job, comparing qualities with each other and finally with the whole class.  Students can explain why they prefer certain qualities over others.

        Students will search for a job of their choice via French job search engines.  Students will then present their job to the class, explaining the job, what qualifications are necessary, and what attracted them to this position.

        Students will examine examples of French and American resumes/CVs in groups.  Students will note differences that they observe in the two culturesí content and form of the documents.  As a class, make a list of characteristics of French CVs (add any items that are not stated by students).

        Students will write their own CVs, tailored to the job ad that they found online.  Information could be made up to suit the adís qualifications.

        As a class, students will look at a French business letter.  Explain the  basic format, content, and protocol of the letter.

        Students will write a cover letter for their job. 

        Students will watch a job interview from Radishes and Butter, an educational video (and book) that focuses on learning how to function within the French business world.  Afterwards, students will analyze the content of the clip, noting aspects of the candidateís behavior that succeeded and aspects that made him appear awkward.  Discuss proper etiquette for a job interview:  what topics to avoid, what questions might be asked normally that would otherwise seem strange or inappropriate in American culture, etc.

        As a class, have students prepare questions that they would expect to be asked on a French job interview.  Have pairs of students prepare interviews, in which one student interviews the other, and then they reverse roles.  Present in front of the class.

        Students will watch a second scene in Radishes and Butter in which American partners come to visit a French business.  As students are watching, they will note areas in which the Americans and the French have cultural differences.  Discuss:  what cultural values might underpin some of these differences?

        Students will read an article about the 35-hour work week debate.  In groups, students will discuss the pros and cons of the 35-hour work week.  Individually, students will choose a stance on the issue and write an essay defending their position.

        In collaboration with a business class, students will present some of the cultural differences they have discovered during the unit to the business students.  Together, discuss how theses differences can affect the way we conduct international business.  The French students will then write a reaction essay, describing which French practices they agree with and which they do not agree with.




        Daily observation of studentsí progress during above activities

        Entrance and exit ticket activities, tied to daily vocabulary, grammar, or culture points, student self-assessment, and/or student feedback to teacher on activities as appropriate

        Progress on CV and cover letter drafts



        Job presentation


        Cover letter

        Interview presentation

        Business culture reaction essay