Even if you’re fluent, running a classroom in French is a huge challenge. The challenge manifests from the fact that most US students, homeschooled or otherwise, have very little familiarity with the language. Many teachers will attempt a sort of immersion class where they speak entirely in French. Most often, this results in a lot of confused students. In the worst possible scenario, the students become irritated-there is a psychological threshold where hearing unfamiliar sounds becomes mentally exhausting-and never want to learn the language on their own, only doing well enough to pass tests.
There are very constructive ways to run a classroom in French, however, and they can provide excellent education for anyone. One of the best ways to learn French is from stories that employ the language. This offers the benefits of immersion education without the nuisances of listening to truly boring phrases over and over again. Listening to a story provides some excitement to the process and wanting to hear how the story turns out provides some motivation for the students to work harder at comprehension.
Listening to a story also allows you to run a classroom in French without having the language instruction become too formal and stiff. In the real world, people pepper their language with colloquialisms, they sometimes pronounce things in a way that differs slightly from the proper pronunciation and sometimes phrases have enough slang in them that you’d never learn them correctly from academy language classes. Stories allow students to hear people speaking their language in all different states of mind and emotion, which leads to the students getting a good sampling of how French speakers will sound in real life. Instead of expecting every French speaker to approach them with very proper speech patterns, students will be ready for how the language sounds in everyday life.
You can run your entire classroom in French and get great results, but your materials should allow the students to have fun. Learning by listening is one of the oldest techniques for fast language instruction. Immersion learning is also very useful, but it doesn’t have to be frustrating. Adding a bit of spark to the experience by providing language materials that are based around storytelling is one of the best ways to get students engaged and to teach them through materials that won’t easily be forgotten.
About the Author
Dr.Dennis Dunham has over 25 years in international education experience and is a co-creator of LanguageandLyrics.com, a website designed to help you learn French the right way. If you’ve tried every language product out there and haven’t made progress, visit LanguageandLyrics.com to see how learning French can be easy and fun.