Michelle Boularès – Flaming Passion for French at NYU Paris

Michelle BoularèsEntering her 24th year at NYU Paris, Michelle Boularès is one of the most senior members of the teaching and administrative staff at the site. “Madame Boularès” to the thousands of students who have learned French under her keen and demanding eye, she has helped establish language learning as a centerpiece of students’ experience at NYU Paris, and developed the language program from a small offering of courses to a model of rigor and excellence.
The author of several widely used grammar books, Professor Boularès came to NYU Paris from the elite national school of public administration, the Ecole Nationale de l’Administration (ENA), where she oversaw program development for the school’s international students and taught French as a foreign language. In her tenure as Director of the Language Program at NYUParis she has created innovative courses and helped build a solid and dedicated team of outstanding specialists in teaching French as a foreign language. The program has contributed greatly to the serious academic environment for which NYU Paris is known.
As the program has expanded, Professor Boularès has developed language instruction for undergraduate students whose French language skills range from complete beginner to very advanced. She is attuned to the particular needs of students living in a foreign country, and has created courses designed to activate their speaking and comprehension skills quickly. For the most advanced students at both the undergraduate and graduate level, she has designed courses intended to help them master the skills for university level work, both at NYU and at the University of Paris where they also take courses.
In 2008, Professor Boularès helped create and launch a new joint master’s degree program in Teaching French as a Foreign Language with the Steinhardt School. This highly original program allows students the opportunity to study French language, culture, and teaching methodology for one year in Paris, before completing their teacher training in New York.
NYU Paris now boasts six different levels of French instruction, plus courses in Business French, Acting French, and others. Undergraduate students who arrive with little or no French leave the semester with more than competent speaking, reading, and comprehension skills. Most important, their study of the language provides a foundation for the rest of what they do at NYUP, opening doors to their understanding of France and building their confidence as they get around the city. “Working with American students has been an enormous pleasure,” she states, “their autonomy and creativity, the give and take of the classroom. It is a great pleasure to watch their progress, and everything they discover while they are here.”

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