10 key points to learn French*
and improve quickly
*or any new language you want to learn
Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience
Absolutely French’s program to learn french is based
on the cone of learning or Cone of Dale .
This cone explains that the best way to learn french is through what we do and not only through what we hear, read or observe. “Learning by doing”, i.e. when you are directly engaged, in action.
This is the reason why during your classes, we use a large panel of activities where you are the “doers”: games, cooking classes, visits…
Our method has been extensively thought through and is also based on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages - Learning, Teaching, Evaluating (CEFR)
for continuity of linguistic objectives.
However, learning a language requires personal work.
The hours spent in class are essential to progress on the following: speaking, interaction, reading, writing and listening.
They are the keys to your integration in France.
Then, the E-learning platform will provide you additional tools to go over what you have done in class and to complete additional work in writing and in reading French.
It is a long road and through 50 hours of training you will be able to understand and express yourself in French but you will not yet be bilingual!
It took me 10 years to reach a certain level of English and I have to admit that my teachers kept on telling me I wasn’t good and that didn’t help my progression*.
But back here and now, you are in the very fortunate scenario where you are learning the language in complete immersion: everything around you is in French …
take advantage of every opportunity you come across to speak, make the most of it!
I’m now going to share with you 10 tips learn french!
1 – Listening
The more you listen, the more you will integrate the language
and the language structure: sentence structure, vocabulary, and grammar.
So listen as much as you can!
What can you listen to?
– The radio even if you do not understand at first, but the sounds will register with you as well as the pronunciation and you will eventually recognize some words
– Songs on YouTube, with French subtitles, it’s even better
– French movies in French, subtitled in French, yes at the beginning it’s hard. The images will make the context a lot easier.
– TV, of course, if in French
– Specific online programs, such as TV5 Monde @ http://teach.tv5monde.com/
– Podcasts are a great way to listen to programs that correspond to your centers of interest, you can bring them everywhere with you and all radios have their programs available as podcast such as France Inter @ www.franceinter.fr
– Radio France Internationale (FRI) provides you with the news in “French made easy” (le journal en français facile) every day at 22h00,
you can also podcast the program: https://savoirs.rfi.fr/fr/apprendre-enseigner/langue-francaise/journal-en-francais-facile
Then listen over and over again to the same content.
You have to hear a word 30 times to retain it.
2 – Repeat
Repeating words again and again.
Use the links provided on the e-learning platform to ear the sounds of the words or
there is also a very good tool to do your flashcards by yourself :
Listen and repeat as many times as you need to feel comfortable.
The language is spoken – unlike ancient Latin or Greek-
so you need to feel at ease pronouncing the words.
Then when you practice outside your home, if people don’t understand you the first time,
that’s OK as well, keep on repeating and it will work!
I learned Spanish for 5 years and still today
when using it I find people who do not always understand me.
The more you repeat, the deeper the words,
phrases and expressions will be engraved in your memory.
3 – Make time to learn
You think you don’t have many time to learn, so much things to do.
How to overcome this?
Block it in your agenda.
But first you need to know when you learn the best?
The morning? The evening? At 11h?
For me, it’s early the morning, but it depends of you.
Then when you have chosen that best moment for you,
set yourself objectives you wish to achieve:
day(s) of the week,
time of the day,
duration and activity (ies) you will complete.
Exemple : 3 hours/week, during 2 months or more or less…
You have to fixe your own objectives.
The key to success is consistency.
When you have determined all of the above,
then split the time dedicated to learning into 4 :
Don’t be to hard on yourself at the beginning but review your objectives on a monthly basis
4 – Be patient
Feeling like making no progress? And thus despite attending all the classes,
being very diligent with your homework.
You may not realize it yet but you are building this huge database of words, expressions, and knowledge that your brain is still currently processing and organizing.
Give it time, learning progress can be seen by level.
Next thing you will jump a level and you will be so proud of it.
5 – Be nice to yourself : No stress
Stress is bad for learning.
Be gentle with yourself, let’s face it,
we do not learn the same way and as quickly as our children do?
We also have so many other things to retain!
So give it time.
It is frustrating sometimes, we all would like to be going faster, however you need to accept it and keep on learning while having fun.
Creating memories helps retaining.
The more you stress, the less you will learn.
Anxiety manifests itself more in stressful situations: for example, moving …
It prevents cognitive functioning and interferes with memory process (Eysenck, 1979).
If you know it, it should help you,
so please has a break everytime you feel some stress and enjoy a cup of tea!
Above you can see the curve of a standard learning process with the progress
on the Y-axis and the timeline on the X-axis.
As you can see, there are plateau: progression is followed by regression.
The latter being necessary for your brain to process the information.
This is the reason why breaks of 1 or 2 weeks are beneficial.
6 – Be active in your learning
Engage as much as you can during class: doing is the best way of learning
Dare to speak and be wrong: you will have learned even more!
Then back home, use the e-learning platform:
go over what you have done in class, read and write.
In terms of writing, you do not need big topics:
write your shopping list, your to-do list, your wish list, the places you want to go visit….
7 – Find out how you learn best
How does your brain work?
Do you have a visual, auditory or kinesthetic memory.
We all have some elements of the 3 however one is more predominant.
So, when you’ve done the test or if you already know what way it works for you, here are some advices
- Visual : You remember better what you see: diagrams, photos, and keywords. You like to understand how things work. Images are tools that help you understand. You like details.-To memorize: link images with words, draw diagrams. Write the words; make cards with colors according to what you learn.Draw the words you want to learn and make the link between the word and the image.
- Auditory : You remember better what you hear, you have an auditory memory.To remember you need explanations that go to the essential, rather short. Before memorizing, you like to sort the main ideas.– To improve your learning: bring most of your attention during class; this is where your memory works best. Read out loud in order to hear yourself will help you learn better. Listening to the radio or songs are great tools as well.
- Kinesthetic : You are sensitive to emotions. Ambiance, positive environment will help you to learn. You like experiences and concrete things. Your motivation is class has often differed according to your teachers.– To better learn, make links between what you learn and what you have experienced. Your sense of touch is very developed. Touch objects as you learn (which you do naturally): pens, eraser…Put yourself in a pleasant environment, you will learn better with deemed light and silence.
8 – Learn through the context of a situation :
This is another important key point
In a text, if you have the context, you can guess a word.
For example: the action of your text happens at the seaside, if you do not understand: » pêcheur ». You can guess the meaning of the word using the subject of your text.
It is very effective, as you will be processing the information without thinking about it: you will do it without thinking and without translating.
It will help you learning new words and also grammar.
To work, you need to understand the context: who, what, where and when.
Start by listening or reading “simple” things either on the radio, with books or movies.
9 – Ban videos with foreign translations
Watch movies in French with French sub-titles.
Do not use language methods in your own language to learn French
You need to learn French using French language exclusively with the goal to think in French!
Yes you can: take one step at the time.
And repeat some French sentences (not only words)
again and again (Yes! I do repeat too ?).
10 – De-install Google Translation
Getting the translation of a word you do not understand will not help retaining long term.
Try to understand the word first through the context or through the etymology of the word .
If you still do not understand your next step is to look up the definition of the word in a French dictionary or on www.larousse.fr
To conclude, I would like to say again that learning a foreign language takes time and effort (don’t listen to people saying otherwise).
The very good news is that we are all capable of it.
I look forward to teaching you French, at Absolutely French,
in a pleasant atmosphere (for kinesthetic),
where we use sounds (for auditory),
visuals (for visuals),
but above all where we prioritize action as it’s the best way to memorize.
* A good trainer never tells its students that they are not good, especially to young learners.
A teacher never tells them either that they are mathematics minded and consequently not good at learning languages.
Any student is good at learning language if the teacher offers the best method for that student.
Learning a language must be a game and a shared pleasure.
And most importantly, it must be done exclusively through the language to learn.
Want to know more about the topic
Here are some interesting articles
Learn as an adult: interests for the brain:
On the cone of Dale
Follow these 10 key points to learn French and you will see your evolution!?
Article writting by Armelle Perben
Armelle is defending the dual career in expatriation : for the expat, and the expat partner,
because expat spouses (please don’t use « trailing spouses » anymore :-)) are also wonderful talents.
Absolutely French is the first French school ?? dedicated only to expat spouses.
Our main mission is to promote double career among expatriate couples.
With our fun, friendly and innovative French trainings, we guarantee you a better integration! ❤️
You want to learn with us?
You want to register an expat partner?
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