Zyl racontée par...

Madame Françoise Zylberberg (施蘭芳 1946-2010) arrived with Monsieur Jacques Picoux in Taiwan in April 1979 and began teaching French at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at National Taiwan University.

It was an immediate success as the two of them adopted primarily an interactive, production-based pedagogy and conducted classes entirely in fluent French.

As a French teacher, Françoise had not just the appeal of a young native speaker, her trademark crew cut, so confident and avant-garde at that time, drew admiration and was considered a benign and yet unwavering vote on feminism vis-à-vis the traditional Chinese social hierarchy.

But she never shouted hostile slogans.

Françoise was an extremely dedicated teacher who taught with genuine passion.

I had put aside my French for quite a while when she and Jacques volunteered to teach free French lessons to our colleagues in the early 80s, and I soon found that their approach was much more rewarding as they emphasized speech performance and deemphasized the robotic yet customary grammar-and-syntax approach.

As a colleague, Françoise was personable and loved by all. She showed a clear passion for Taiwan very early on. At a time when many local intellectuals and elites chose to emigrate to the United States, she and Jacques quietly settled here and called this place home.Francoise was an avid reader who loved books. Her eyes always sparkled with wisdom.

In 1999 she opened the Librairie Le Pigeonnier (Pigeon Books) on Song Jiang Road, just a few long blocks north of the National Taiwan University campus.  Françoise retired from her teaching job on February 1, 2006, after serving the Department for 27 long years.  Four years later, on March 28, 2010, she was awarded the distinguished l’insigne de Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, an honor befitting only the literati of the first order.  She will be dearly missed by her colleagues and her numerous students.