our words make worlds

Aesop's Fables and Other Famous Tales


Bérengère Battarbee-Mauduit is a mezzo-soprano singer and educator of more than ten years' experience. With an MA in linguistics and music from the Sorbonne, she also has a deep interest in the role of music in language learning, and of language in music listening and appreciation. She is a bilingual French-English speaker, and is fluent in German and Italian.

In 2020, supported by Language Acts and Worldmaking, Bérengère and the concert pianist Alice Turner organised an interactive performance of classical songs in French for primary schools in Tonbridge. Tonbridge is a multilingual town, with several Saturday schools teaching in French, German, Russian and Polish, but there is currently little opportunity there for young people to experience live music performances in foreign languages. The performance programme included musical settings of fables by Charles Gounod, André Caplet, Jacques Offenbach, Francis Poulenc as well as extracts from Massenet’s Cinderella.

The aims of the performance were:

  • To offer children an opportunity to experience and engage with a foreign language through a live art form
  • To support MFL teachers, both through the event itself as well as through the creation of a resource pack and school visits to prepare the children for the event
  • To collect, using feedback forms and video, data on the effectiveness of such an intervention to boost and better integrate MFL in the curriculum, motivate learners, boost confidence and lift barriers to learning as well as develop cross-cultural awareness
  • To bring communities together

This event was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic but it is hoped that is can be rescheduled for 2021, while Bérengère and Alice's resource pack for MFL primary school teachers can be downloaded below.

Resource pack

This resource pack for teaching French and English songs in schools is free to print out and use for non-commercial, educational purposes with the following credit: ‘Resource pack for schools. Created by Bérengère Battarbee-Mauduit and Alice Turner, with support from the Language Acts and Worldmaking project, https://languageacts.org/related-projects/may-2019-call/aesops-fables-and-other-famous-tales, March 2020. Permissions: Translations of the fables by Richard Stokes, © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder, published by Faber, provided courtesy of Oxford Lieder (www.oxfordlieder.co.uk).'

  1. Introduction
  2. Aesop's Fables concert programme
  3. Notes of composers
  4. Texts of the Fables in French and translations
  5. Signing the Fables
  6. Rewriting-Acting activities
  7. The Language Detective cognates
  8. Sound lab
  9. Wolf and the Lamb song
  10. Fables in pictures (I) and Fables in pictures (II)

For further information about this project or the resource pack, please contact Bérengère Battarbee-Mauduit, at cbattarbee14 [at] gmail [dot] com.