I’ve been teaching French for years now, and I’ve noticed that most methods seem to miss the essential point of learning a language, which is: communication. And communication is not a one-way street, it’s about understanding as well as being understood.
Most folks get comfortable with writing and reading, but when you start engaging in an actual conversation, that’s where things start to get challenging. I would say that if you can manage to start thinking in French, then things should get smoother. The other tip I would give is not being afraid to make mistakes, take a chance – after all you’re learning a language – nobody’s going to make fun of you. And if you’re wrong, you will learn something.
As my dear students (and God knows that I challenge them all the time) are becoming more fluent in conversation, they still admit that the listening is their weakness. I admit that French people can talk fast (and I think it’s the same goes with any natives speakers in their own country) therefore I try to speak a little bit slower and in a comprehensible manner. With that in mind, I’ve decided to record some French podcasts.
What will they be about? Well, most likely topics of my own interest: literature, art, folklore, herbal medicine maybe, European myths & legends, maybe some of my own writings and projects as well…Whatever strikes my fancy! I plan to indicate whether my podcasts are for beginner, intermediate and/or advanced students.
How to use them? I would, of course, recommend a first listening to get a gist of what the podcast is about. A second listening should allow you to be able to catch some words and sentences. With a third listening, maybe you can start translating some of it. You can also use those podcasts as dictations: you write down what you hear and understand. Rereading your notes should allow you to self-correct some grammatical and conjugation mistakes. I will prepare a written transcript that I will be willing to email to folks who request it via email or private message.
For each podcast, I will prepare a written transcript that I will be able to email to folks who request it via email or private message. Subscribing to my blog is optional, but would allow you to not miss any podcast (I’m thinking about doing it on a weekly basis for now, but things might change over time).
I also plan to work on my own French learning method (that I hope to be able to use for my classes in a near future) based on TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), in which language, art, and tales can coexist harmoniously…But that’s another story ;).