Meet the Team

The Avancée Formation teaching team includes 3 French teachers and 2 English teachers. In busy periods, we sometimes ask for help from other supply teachers. Everyone teaches their mother tongue. All our teachers are qualified, experienced, have worked in France and abroad, and all of us speak at least 2 languages so we have first hand experience with learning a foreign language.

Chloé Legout

French Teacher & Social Events Coordinator

I’ve always loved meeting and trying to converse with people from different countries & cultures. I believe language is the main tool for breaking down barriers between people. That’s why I decided to study in this field. For me, getting a message across and understanding one in return is essential, even with mistakes! Everyone improves at their own pace.

I’ve been working alongside Jenny for two years now, and I’m very happy to have moved to this exceptional region. I’m originally from Nantes in the northwest of France.

What I love about my job is the exchange and mutual learning with students. My idea of teaching is trying to guide students in their progress, adapting to their individual rhythm and encouraging them to practice outside the classroom. Learning a foreign language is often difficult, so I try to be creative, to include games in the classroom, to use different media and above all to encourage speaking so that students gain confidence… Every day is different, and I really enjoy that!

Outside the classroom, I enjoy all the incredible things the Vallée du Giffre has to offer, like hiking or running for headspace, paragliding to admire the scenery and for a bit of fresh air, or yoga to relax.

Elise Chopard

French Teacher

I spent my childhood and studied near Besançon, in Franche-Comté, my parents’ home region. But I was always keen to move and discover the world! During the last year of my masters, I went to Madagascar, and I haven’t stopped travelling since! I’ve lived in Ecuador and spent 3.5 years traveling around Latin America. I came back to France because of COVID and settled in Haute Savoie in the middle of the mountains. I’m not very sporty, but I love spending time near lakes and in remote areas in the mountains with a good book, listening to music and spending time with friends. I keep going on trips every year to continue exploring the world and satisfy my desire for discovering new things.

I realise that when you travel or move to a new country, you need basic vocabulary and functional phrases that can be real life savers! It’s always a pleasure for me to share my culture and experience and that’s the main reason I’ve been teaching French for over 8 years now.

As well as French (my mother tongue), I speak English and Spanish, which helps me to understand students’ difficulties and to be able to compare, analyse and find common grounds between languages.

I love seeing my students develop, improve, and acquire skills that may have seemed impossible to them!

For me, it’s important to develop listening skills through authentic audio or video, to teach grammar using games to help normalise rules and exceptions (so rare in our beautiful French language!) and to help students gain confidence.

Bonnie Phelan

English Teacher

I grew up in Queensland, Australia, and although I spent a lot of my childhood on the beach, I also developed a love of the mountains and countryside, and all the outdoor adventures that were on offer.

After completing a Law/Commerce degree and working in finance for a few years, I decided that teaching would be a much more rewarding career and so completed a Diploma of Education….and escaped to the country!

Like most Australians, I took a year off in my twenties to travel around Europe and this is when I first discovered the stunning French Alps and also my passion for languages, including my own. On returning home, I completed my CELTA qualification and taught English privately while continuing to teach Economics and Accounting in secondary schools.

I returned to France a few years later to hike around Mt Blanc and I came across beautiful Samoens. I decided to stay, and after a few seasons spent hiking all over the Alps, I studied a course in French language and culture at Grenoble University and taught English to other students and my host family. After meeting my English husband, I then moved to the south of France and worked for a language school where my students included children, business people and school teachers.

I have finally settled back in Samoens with my family and am very excited to be working with Avancée. I try to make my lessons fun, relevant and engaging through the use of games, songs and activities, while encouraging as much conversation as possible.

Jennifer Sanders

School Director

French & English Teacher

I grew up locally and did what local kids do: skiing, snowboarding, horse-riding… I didn’t like school very much, which is quite funny considering I now manage one! At 19 I went to London for a year – which turned into 10. I worked many jobs from barmaid to admin and recruitment assistant and discovered ESL teaching (English as a second language) in my mid-twenties. I worked in a central London School of English for 3 years and found my calling – teaching mixed nationality classes in the centre of my adoptive city. For a country girl, I love the bright lights. I’ve also travelled extensively through Southeast Asia and spent time teaching English and French in New Delhi, India.

In my 30s I came home to the Vallée du Giffre and finding no language school here but many students keen to learn, I started my own business and in 2020 opened a school in Samoëns. Learning about business management and with the help of other great teachers, the school has grown and in 2023 we moved to bigger and better premises in Verchaix.

I teach both French and English as I have both nationalities (French mum, English dad). I love constantly discovering the similarities and differences between the two, and helping students face the challenges of learning foreign languages. These days, management takes me away from the classroom, but I still enjoy keeping my eye in. I’m a firm believer in the saying “practice makes perfect” and my lessons always focus on a maximum of natural interaction. This means students get to learn to express what really matters to them.

Avancée Formation is a huge part of my life, but when I’m out of the school, you’ll find me on my mountain bike scaring myself silly on downhill tracks, at the restaurant enjoying good food and good times, in my camper van wandering neighbouring countries, or on city breaks getting my fix of bright city lights and shopping!