Module code: FRE2036

Module Overview

Student journey integration: this module builds in particular on other L4 modules which have a higher degree of specialism in terms of knowledge and methodology. For students enrolled in a joint degree combining two languages, it is closely connected with ‘parallel’ modules in German or Spanish. It also makes references to and builds on skills developed in other L5 modules, in particular data analysis. By extending the students’ knowledge of contemporary French-speaking societies and in particular their ability to discuss them in specialised French, the module contributes to their readiness to undertake the level P year abroad, especially when they are going on placement

This module is taught in the target language in semester 2 of FHEQ Level 5.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

BANTMAN Constance (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 57

Seminar Hours: 33

Guided Learning: 55

Captured Content: 5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • recent political history

  • the state and its citizens, the constitution, the electoral system, State political institutions

  • the political parties and major political figures

  • issues of gender equality in France

  • French multiculturalism and the problems of French secularism

  • the normalisation of the far right in France

  • the relationship of France with the European Union and other international organisations

  • foreign policy

  • French culture and “l’exception francaise”

  • economic policies, structure and performance; France’s major industries

  • understanding French labour relations and ‘strike culture’

  • major recent political events/ crises, e.g. terrorist attacks, the Gilets Jaunes rebellion and the Covid-19 pandemic

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PORTFOLIO 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • knowledge and understanding of the use of the target language

  • ability to analyse and interpret texts

  • ability to select and synthesise information from written and oral texts

  • ability to take notes effectively and use IT skills to find and present relevant information

  • subject-specific knowledge of French history and culture.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Written Assignment of 1500 words (50%)
    Takes the form of a research essay on a topic chosen by each students in relation to the module contents enabling students to develop subject specific knowledge, improve their written French, and develop research skills. In-class discussions will support students in preparing this task, and individual appointments may be made to discuss individual essay topics and methods

  • Portfolio (50%)
    Takes the form of two or three pieces of work produced during the semester and submitted as one item after teaching ends.

  • Enables students to develop subject-specific knowledge, improve their written French, and develop research skills.


Formative assessment and feedback

  • Formative assessment will focus on student participation and class discussions throughout the module.

  • Students will be provided with detailed written feedback following coursework assignments.

  • Verbal feedback will also occur in class and individual appointments if required.

Module aims

  • This module aims to equip students with knowledge and understanding of the major political and economic institutions, the contexts in which they were created and evolved and their relevance in France and other French-speaking societies.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 On successful completion of this module, students will be able to: follow and take notes from lectures delivered in French, engaging fully with recorded captured content CPT
002 Participate in seminars in French and describe the development of the political and economic systems of France and the French-speaking world CPT
003 Read and critically evaluate authentic online and written sources on a range of topics related to contemporary society as well as gain confidence discussing complex societal issues in different formats, using the relevant terminology KCPT
004 Understand some of the key environmental challenges posed by the climate emergency in the French-speaking world and how they affect politics and the French economy in particular as well as write critically and extensively in French on politico-economic topics KCP
005 Learn to decipher and explain a range of visual resources, such as graphs and political cartoons, using the relevant specialised vocabulary as well as gain an understanding of the diversity of the French-speaking world and some of the challenges faced by different areas KC
006 Understand some of the key environmental challenges posed by the climate emergency in the French-speaking world and how they affect politics and the French economy in particular KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • enable students to develop their language skills as a medium for understanding, expression and communication, through listening, speaking, reading and writing in the target language, acquiring the language tools to express themselves in authentic French in relation to a range of current political, social and economic themes

  • encourage student participation and learner autonomy, through small group classes, reading outside contact hours and participating in seminars

  • support students in acquiring research skills, through reading and engaging with a wide range of sources, and presenting findings, through informal class presentations and in the written assignment and final exam

  • enable students to engage in analytical and evaluative thinking, to analyse and interpret texts and other cultural products, through attending classes and engaging in individual study

  • develop communication skills through active interactions in class

  • guide students in acquiring  an emerging specialist knowledge of the history, culture and institutions of the societies in which French is used


The learning and teaching methods include:

Two contact hours per week over Semester 2 and one hour of captured content.

Classes will include lectures and seminars.

Students are expected to read extensively outside classes in order to follow lectures and participate in seminars. Flipped approaches are used in order to encourage learner autonomy and maximise class time.

A wide range of engaging sources are used and students are encouraged to work independently in order to extend their knowledge beyond course contents.

Participation in class is encouraged through a range of tasks formats, for instance Padlets, anonymous Google documents, small-group discussions. This participation is crucial to the delivery of the module outcomes.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: FRE2036

Other information

Surrey's Curriculum Framework is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital Capabilities: students learn how to source and select appropriate online resources, assess them critically and use purposefully. The successful completion of this LO is assessed in the research essay assignment, where students are encouraged for incorporating high-quality digital resources, for instance podcasts or other online resources of a strong academic standard. The use and growing command of a range of digital tools is central to the module delivery: shared Google docs are used frequently to encourage collaborative work and individual anonymous engagement, as well as peer feedback on written tasks.

Employability: This module develops important professional skills, in particular research and presentation skills in different formats, acquiring and using specialist terminology. In familiarising students with the culture, economy and institutions of French-speaking countries, it also prepares students for their placement year and a professional experience abroad. The relevance of the module in all these respects is explicitly flagged throughout the semester, in order to encourage students to reflect on the practical merits of what may at first appear to them as a theoretically-focused module.

Global and Cultural Capabilities: in common with all modules in Modern Languages, this module invites students to learn about cultural/ political/ economic differences and explore them in-depth, understanding the complex realities behind enshrined national stereotypes such as French revolutionary/ strike culture. The module also requires students to adopt an academic standpoint when discussing countries other than their own and to avoid any judgmental perspective, grounding their assessments in facts and research above all; they learn to develop methodologies to do so effectively, and to reflect on cultural differences in a constructive and productive manner.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Discussing, researching and writing about complex societal issues in correct and authentic French is challenging and often daunting for students; in supporting them to engage with contents and tasks in these areas,  the module builds their intellectual self-confidence. This is especially important given the theoretical and perceived political focus of this module, which students often feel poorly equipped to tackle; the module helps them relate to and engage with these seemingly abstract themes.

Sustainability: themes may change from one year to another, but themes related to SDG will always feature at some point in this module. It is especially prominent in several themes of the module, such as the study of the geography and natural resources of the French-speaking world, France’s economic/ energy policy, the notion of cultural exceptionalism still attached to France, as well as a number of other themes. This allows students to gain relevant knowledge on sustainability practices (and their absences, in some instances), but also to reflect on the notion of sustainability itself.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature and French BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Modern Languages (French and Spanish) BA (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business Management and French BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.