Les niveaux à CLE – PAGE EN

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Learn French at CLE: morning classes and levels

CLE integrates into the organisation of its courses the framework put together by the Council of Europe known as the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages” (CEFRL). This framework provides a uniform evaluation method for the learning of languages across Europe.   It provides for the following six levels of language-learning proficiency:

  • A1 and A2 relate to the elementary user;
  • B1 and B2 relate to the independent user; and
  • C1 and C2 relate to the proficient user.

This framework guides our teachers in setting their teaching objectives.

 Whilst we work on all four competencies (namely understanding written French, understanding spoken French, writing French and speaking French), we prioritise the speaking of French. At all levels, you will develop your knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and you will study the sound and written form of words. Using a range of original materials, you will become familiar with the language used in various different situations and discover more about French culture.

The objective is to develop what we call «savoir-faire» (or expertise) in communication, language and French culture which will enable you to handle situations independently after your time at CLE.

Each week, you will receive a detailed program outlining the content of your course.

CLE offers courses for complete beginners through to advanced learners. We outline below the skills and competencies associated with each CEFRL level.

Complete beginners and beginners’ level A1

The objective for complete beginners is to reach beginners’ level A1. At this stage, you are able to understand very simple sentences about daily life if someone speaks to you slowly and clearly. You know how to introduce yourself, to describe your work, your family and your environment and to talk about your tastes, your hobbies and events in your past. You can write a postcard. Your skills allow you to respond to simple and practical things.

Please note that we have only one starting date each year for group lessons at this level.  The next starting date will be 28 September 2020.

Course outline: Objective A1

Elementary level A2

At this level, you are able to understand simple sentences about familiar subjects in daily life. You can grasp what a conversation is about and participate in a simple exchange.

In class, you will work on written documents about everyday life (letters, guides, advertisements, instructions and notices) and on understanding the key information in a short article.

You will learn to speak about your daily life and express your feelings and opinions and apply your skills so that you can manage in shops and in situations such as at the railway station.   You will also be able to deal with basic administrative matters.

In order to improve your written French, you will learn to write simple letters to say thank you or extend an invitation, or to book a hotel room etc. You will keep a diary describing your daily life in France.

Course outline: Objective A2

Intermediate level B1

At this level, you understand the key points of an everyday conversation, or a radio or television broadcast.

In class, you will work on expressing yourself on personal or professional subjects and on taking part in a conversation on subjects that you are familiar with. You could, for example, talk about a film that you have seen and explain or justify your opinion of the film. In reaching this level, you will be able to handle most situations that you would typically encounter while travelling.

You will work on understanding the basics of written texts using everyday language: e-mails, brochures, articles and film reviews, on writing simple texts and on making yourself understood about familiar subjects.

Course outline: Objective B1

Upper intermediate level B2

The objective of this course is to be able to communicate in more complex situations.

This course includes a review and extension of the main syntactic structures and grammatical forms. You will learn to express your opinions and feelings with greater ease and precision. To improve your socio-linguistic competence, you will become familiar with the different registers of language.

While the communicative approach will be the primary emphasis, you will also focus on the cultural aspect of learning. An important element of this course is the use of authentic documents of all kinds, such as press articles, videos, various recordings, songs and literary texts. Morning classes will focus on the study of language and French culture, while the afternoon classes will be organised around a theme, with a variety of teaching aids being used to enhance your learning.

This course will provide you with the means to express your ideas clearly and precisely through presentations and debates based on press articles, media reporting and radio news.  You will produce reports and persuasive texts to further improve your writing skills.

Course outline: Objective B2

Advanced level C1

This course is intended for people who speak French with confidence.

You will work with lengthy documents aimed at the general public and also texts or recordings dealing with more specialised fields. You will practise speaking in detail about complex information that you have read or heard.

You will learn to express yourself with nuances in personal, professional and academic fields.

The documents studied deal with today’s French society, attitudes and behaviours.

Course outline: Objective C1

How long will it take to reach each level?


It is difficult to predict how long it will take to reach a level because it depends on so many factors, including:

  • your motivation;
  • your native language (if it is ‘close’ to French, you will progress more quickly);
  • your method of work and the way you study;
  • your personality (if you are reserved and reluctant to express yourself outside of the classroom, you will progress more slowly than if you are extroverted and talkative); and
  • your age (in general, it’s easier when you are 20 than when you are 65!)

Progress is generally fast from complete beginner to beginner level A1 then on to A2. On the other hand, the more you progress, the more time it takes to move from one level to another. Accordingly, it is possible to reach level A1 in 100 hours but it will take at least 200 hours to move from level B1 to B2.

If you don’t study, you could live in France for many years at level B1, B2 or C1 and yet never reach level C2.