France/ Sarthe: twinning with a town in Wales and teaching English

Published on 23/02/2024 | La rédaction


Since October 2023, Clermont-Créans (Sarthe) has been twinned with Haye-on-Wye in Wales. To prepare for future exchanges, English courses are offered.

To be, or not to be. This is the friendly, Shakespearean name given to a new twinning arrangement in the Sarthe region: that of an association between Clermont-Créans and Haye-on-Wye, a town in Wales (some 50 kilometers north of the capital Cardiff, in the Brecon Beacons National Park).

Things were made official in October 2023, between the Clermont-Ferrand-based association, chaired by Solène Hamon, and the elected representatives of Haye-on-Wye.

A village with seven bookshops

Pascale (vice-president) and Jean-Jacques Glotin (treasurer), both lovers of the English language and literature, are the driving force behind this project. "When I was a schoolboy, I used to spend whole afternoons translating the texts of Charles Dickens," recalls Jean-Jacques Glotin.

Now retired from the French Post Office, this enthusiast "created twinnings just about everywhere" he went in his professional career. He has also set up a number of book fairs (the latest of which is held in La Flèche every November) .

With To be, or not to be, the aim is to "promote exchanges between our commune of Clermont and this village of similar size, on the other side of the Channel".

A village with an identical demography(1,300 inhabitants), chosen also for a specificity that did not leave the Glotins indifferent: it has seven bookshops, no less.

Volunteer English classes

The idea of forging links with the Welsh attracted a small group of twenty or so members in Clermont, Mareil-sur-Loir and La Flèche. A small group who don't necessarily speak English.

Pascale Glotin (a teacher of English, French and criminal law) and her husband Jean-Jacques (a graduate of Cambridge University), decided to organize a language course in Clermont-sur-Loir. Cambridge), have decided to organize voluntary classes every Monday evening in the premises of the local boule de fort club.

Most of the members of the twinning committee have very little English, dating back to school... The idea is to brush up on their English so as to be able to exchange with the inhabitants of Haye-on-Wye more easily.

Jean-Jacques Glotin

The group is divided in two: Jean-Jacques teaches "false beginners" at 6:30 p.m., and Pascale teaches "confirmed beginners" at 7:30 p.m. In a warm and relaxed atmosphere, vocabulary and conjugation are worked on, mainly orally.

We don't care if we make mistakes, we're here to learn, and have fun doing it.

Séverine is one of the "false beginners". "I've been wanting to improve my English for a long time, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to help my daughter, who's in 5th grade," says 13-year-old Emeline, who accompanies her mom to the Monday evening sessions.

Like the other members of the group, the duo hope to be able to take part in the first exchanges with the Welsh, scheduled for spring 2024.


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