What are those common needs that I notice among French learners?
It’s everyone’s problem nowadays. And actually, it has nothing to do with the French language itself. It’s things applying to all fields in life.
I teach students which are very aware that they need me, especially for guide them, giving them a feedback on their learning process more than teaching them grammar. Because everything they need technically is on the internet, I provide them feedback and precious advice to stay on the right track in the process of learning French. It’s an online French lesson but it often happens that we speak about their motivation and how to stay focus and not give up on French. And I think sometimes it’s the best way I can help students.
Motivation leading to action is the difference between people achieving something and those who don’t. Here are a few things my students need the most:
Plan. We need to plan everything since we have too much freedom and things to do at the same time. Too much leisure and tools are available nowadays so it can be hard to stay focused.
Focus. We say we don’t have time to study but it’s not true. When I watch people in the subway most of them play Candy Crush on their smartphones. Technology made the learning process fun. We’ve got all the tools we ever dreamed about but it looks like the more we have, the less we care. Let’s focus on 2 or 3 tools maximum.
Regularity. Everybody wants to learn faster, to do things faster. Learning needs practice and repetition, you can’t avoid that. What’s the point of learning 500 words in 2 weeks, but forgetting everything after 2 months? Better to learn 10 words and remember them your whole life. That’s why regularity is necessary, to learn deeply and let the French language being a part of you.
Action. Stop consuming medias, and start to be active (see post about Edgard Dale’s cone of learning). The less that you can do is repeating a dialogue or reading out loud (even if you don’t understand). That’s not much but it’s enough to start being active while learning French.
Habits. The second step is habits. Habits are powerful. That’s how you succeed when you start a diet and that’s how you will success to speak French. Brushing your teeth is a habit. You can’t forget this, you can’t miss this intimate meeting with your teeth. This kind of ritual is part of your life and you can’t say “well..today I think I will not put clothes on”, and just go outside. I think we need to get the learning process to the same level.
Process. Let’s just forget about the “learning process”. Let’s live with it like it will be in our lives forever. Because we learn during the whole life. That’s something we need to avoid, thinking we need to achieve something perfectly before starting something else. It freezes us. Nothing is ever perfect or completely done about languages, there’s always something new or interesting to learn. So we need to think more about a long way to go and not about “I’ll visit France when I’ll be fluent”.