Att lära sig franska av en fransyska


När Caroline kontaktade mig för att höra om jag ville utbyta intervjuer med henne tyckte jag att det lät spännande. Hon är en franskalärare som bor i Paris, och om du vill boka tio lektioner med henne så får du en av dem gratis! Jag har intervjuat Caroline om hennes Paris och att lära sig franska. Vill du ta franskalektioner i Paris på dina egna villkor så kan du höra av dig till Caroline, mer information finns här.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself! 
My name is Caroline. I was born in Fréjus, South of France. I have been living in Paris for 5 years and I really enjoy living in this city. Even though I traveled quite a bit during my studies, I wouldn’t like to live anywhere else in the world. Paris had a lot to offer, especially in terms of art, food and culture. 

How long have you worked as a French teacher, and what are your favorite things about the job? 
I have been working as a French teacher in Paris and abroad for the past seven years. I started teaching French, my mother tongue, when I was doing an exchange program in the US. I instantly liked the exchange with the students. 
My favorite aspects about teaching French to foreign speakers is its intercultural dimension. Through comparisons and contrasts between the French language and their own, students develop insight into the nature of the language and the concept of culture and realize that there are multiple ways of viewing the world. 
Last but not least, as a French teacher specialised in the field of linguistics, I appreciate helping my students with all kinds of grammar rules. French grammar can be complex, and all its intricacies must be understood – and understanding is most easily achieved when students are engaged, interested and having fun during a French language lesson. Therefore, I incorporate interactive activities, such as games and role-plays, and use a language that is easy for them to understand and make the situation clear enough for them to hazard a guess about the French language. 

What are some of your best spots in Paris? 
I really like the Lamarck-Caulaincourt area, which is located in within the 18th arrondissement of Paris and covers some of the northern-most parts of the city. This area is still part of Montmartre and close to most of its famous monuments (the Church of Sacré Coeur, the Bateau-Lavoir, the Musée de Montmartre, Musée Salvador Dali, Musée de la Vie Romantique, and even Paris’ last remaining vineyards) but it is much less crowded and more authentic too. 
Another area of Paris that I really appreciate is the Latin Quarter, known for its student life, lively atmosphere and bistros. I feel very lucky to work in that area. My favorite spots are the Plant Garden and the rue Mouffetard, a pedestrian avenue which slopes up from Saint-Médard Square to Place de la Contrescarpe. The street is famous for its quaint and typically French atmosphere. Countless restaurants and cafes jostle for room along with the butcher shops, greengrocers, fishmongers, cheese shops and bakeries all along this long paved street. 

What are your three best tips (aside from learning the language, of course!) for feeling at home in Paris? 
1. Take the first step
Parisians are a bit reserved but if you engage the conversation and smile at them, you’d be surprised to see how friendly they can be. They also appreciate the fact that people make an effort to speak the language.
2. Get involved in clubs or associations to meet new people. 
Paris is home to many associations of all sizes which offer good ways to interact with the locals, most often people who live in your own arrondissement.
3. Picnic at dusk
It may be the Ile St Louis, the fabulous Parc de Sceaux, or the Champ de Mars under the Eiffel tower. Pack cheese and wine and enjoy. 

What are your best tips to learn French in Paris?
  • Combine learning French with your hobbies.This makes the task easier by enhancing your motivation as you can express yourself about your personal interests, perhaps in a more informal setting than in the classroom environment. This may be, for instance, going to a cooking or photography class with French speakers, watching your favorite movies in French with the subtitles if needed, or listening to some French music. 
  • Use the free teaching resources available online. I recommend my French students to try the Journal en français facile offered by Radio France International (RFI), which is available with the transcript, as well as the program called « Première Classe » proposed by TV5 monde, which offers a lot of videos and quizzes to enhance your listening comprehension.
  • Practice with native speakers. There are several ssociations that meet on a weekly basis such as WICE and Polyglott, which offer you many opportunities to meet and exchange with native French speakers.

Do you use a specific method / textbook?
I do use several grammar textbooks, such as the « Grammaire progressive du français » (CLE International), in which the rules are clearly explicited.
However, in some fields such as French for fashion or French for gastronomy, there isn’t any existing method or textbook available. This involves doing some research and creating specific learning activities. I’m always happy to adapt the content of the lessons to the particular needs of my learners and make a point in selecting the materials that are the most relevant for my students, which makes my work interesting and very diverse. Every French course and every French learner is different!

What’s the difference between learning French with a private tutor and learning it at school?
One-on-one lessons allow the tutor to devote his/her full attention to the individual student and focus on the student’s particular needs. A tutor often adapts the course to the student’s precise level, concentrating on the student’s individual linguistic needs and addressing the student’s particular areas for improvement. I remember of a student who needed to improve her listening and speaking skills to fill a position at an international organization based in Western Africa so I tailored the material, selected videos showing different accents from the francophone world and articles related to NGO’s work in terms of conflict resolution. In my view, such level of course personnalisation would be more difficult to achieve in a language school.
Learning French with a private tutor also has the following advantages:
  • The student can learn at his or her own pace.
  • A French tutor is able to focus on areas of difficulty and skim over areas in which the student is already well trained.
  • A French tutor is are able to incorporate into lessons those learning techniques that are best suited to the particular student (e.g. discussion based on pre-lesson reading or audio material, role play scenarios, grammar exercises, etc.). One-on-one lessons can be particularly effective for all students, who will benefit from maximum speaking practice and can progress faster than in the group setting.

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