mercredi 21 janvier 2015

How to be productive when learning French?


  • Repeat, repeat, repeat again 
Repetition is the key to success. If you concentrate just on new words you will quickly forget what you learned previously… don’t forget to repeat!!! 

  • 5 x 20 minutes is more productive than 1 x 100 minutes a week
Dedicating 20 minutes each day (why not on the bus?) for learning French is more useful than sitting down for a couple of hours at the weekend with the idea of “now I’m going to learn everything by heart”. 20 minutes is enough for repeating 15-20 new words and to revise the explanation of a rule of grammar. With this technique you’ll go far! 

  • Concentrate on what is important! Personalise your learning! 
What is the point of learning the names of all the plants in French if you are not interested in gardening? You’ll have no-one to talk with about it. Concentrate on the words and expressions in French that are important for you, that you are really going to use in your work or daily life. You will move forward faster and have the impression of using what you have learned!

  • Put into context!
It is very important to learn new words by heart in their context (meaning in a sentence) and not on their own. This technique will allow you to retain the meaning of a word more easily and also to know how to use it (with a suffix? In an expression? At the beginning or the end of a sentence? etc.)


  • Avoid translating
Putting new words into context will help you avoid translation!. Translation may seem helpful to you as a technique for learning, but it is not. It will get you into the bad habit of thinking in your native language and then translating your ideas into French. The result is that you won’t speak real French, with genuine French expressions. So stop translating and start thinking in French, even if that seems difficult at the beginning!
Here is an example to illustrate this problem with beginners:
You want to say: I am 35 years old. – I’ll translate into French - Je suis 35 ans…. No way! That’s not how it works… in French you use the verb avoir (have) when you are talking about age. ⟼ J’ai 35 ans (I have 35 years).
Learn to think in French!  It will help you save time and energy!

  • Accept the way you are
You are not learning French as rapidly as the others. You need to revise a word three times to know it by heart. Don’t worry, each person works with their own resources! If you need to hear the rule for the passé compose (present perfect tense) four times to know it by heart, don’t hesitate to ask your French teacher to explain it four times. No need to be ashamed of asking questions when you are learning French!

  • Concentrate on the communication 

Whatever your goals for learning French you must always find the time for spoken exercises!!!  Written French is very different from spoken French. If you don’t learn them at the same time it will be harder later on! Don’t forget that a language is above all meant for communicating.





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