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French as a Second Language for ESL Teacher

French as a Second Language for ESL Teacher | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I have chosen this topic as I have been living in France for the past seven years and I would like to write about how I learned French and how learning this language has helped me in teaching English as a foreign language.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Daniel L. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Learning Experience

I remember when I wanted to come to France, I bought a book called 'French in three months'. I followed the instructions, I learned the words and I had the impression that I could speak French albeit very slowly with a terrible accent. On arrival in France, I quickly learned that my French was nowhere near as good as I thought it was. I didn't understand anything more than 'bonjour'. I had learned primarily by reading with very little oral practice. I tried to learn a few songs which gave me some vocabulary but I was still lost.

Also Read: How do I apply for a student visa to legally teach English in France?

Job Placement

I started my job in a preschool and luckily there were some bilingual co-workers there to help me. My concentration during the meetings in French didn't last long before I was staring into space wondering if I would ever be able to understand everyone. It was my goal to learn French in two years, so I went out to buy some books to help me, 'The french Verb Workbook' would be my new friend. I would do a chapter or two then try and use my new vocabulary with my coworkers, who would correct my accent and any mistakes I would make.

Language Practice

Over time I started to be able to separate and hear the words on their own, I could ask what a particular word meant, I listened to the radio, I read the newspaper while on the metro, I went to language exchanges, I found new friends and I asked a lot of questions.

I realized that interactive speaking practice was the most effective way to learn a language along with other supports to gain vocabulary. I saw a big improvement after three months, six months even more and after a year of really trying, I finally felt quite comfortable speaking to anyone about a wide range of subjects.

france

Also Read: How much can I earn teaching English in France?

Tutoring

After a few years, I took this to teach English privately. I spoke as much English to my students as possible without overwhelming them, like I was in the meetings. I broke the lessons down into vocabulary to be learned with a game and encourage my students at all times to make sentences.

I think it was in my second year in France that I took the step to read a real novella, it was a translation of Harry Potter. With a vocabulary as my friend, it took a long time to finish but it expanded my vocabulary at the end. I often leave English books with my students to read after we have read them together. It's always a pleasure to see improvements, especially with the accent after studying a book.

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Learning a foreign language has been a long and funny journey with lots of mistakes. I like to tell my students there is no learning without mistakes, as when one makes a mistake and it is then explained to you it is highlighted and it more easily remembered. Although I feel fluent today, I am still learning every day, always a new word or expression or slang I've never heard before. I have also started to learn both Spanish and German but that is just fun.

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