French the natural way with the one essential ingredient: comprehensible input

Coucou les French learners,

today I want to share with you my own experience with teaching and learning another language and why facilitating French input which is comprehensible is so dear to my heart.

My personal story and why I teach French the natural way

I have always loved grammar. When I was a child, it was one of my favorite subject and I remember quite vividly circling the verbs in a text, underlining the subject pronouns and squaring the direct object complements. It was like a game to me, I could have done this kind of activity for hours! I am and I was a grammar freak and that is maybe one of the reason why, I became a language teacher.

Fast forward a few years when I began to teach French and Spanish, I believed grammar should be taught for students to understand how the language was built and how it worked. However, I came to realize that understanding grammar concepts like adjective agreements and verbs conjugation did not really help my students to communicate in the language. I was spending more time speaking in English explaining the grammar rules than speaking in the target language (French or Spanish)! Not mentioning the fact that my students were bored out of their minds!

Hence, I started to turn to other approaches because at the end of the day I wanted my students to be able to take part in conversations. I wanted them to become fluent in the language. Dr. Stephen Krashen made me realize how receiving input is the first and only step to achieve fluency in a language: ” The input Hypothesis claims that we acquire language in an amazingly simple way – when we understand messages. We have tried everything else – learning grammar rules, memorizing vocabulary, using expensive machinery, forms of group therapy, etc. What has escaped us all these years, however, is the one essential ingredient: comprehensible input.” (Krashen,1985: The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications, page vii).

J’ai eu le déclic, I clicked when I read Krashen’s Input Hypothesis because I, myself became fluent in Spanish this way! Listen to my experience in Spain here:

Hiccups story

Telling comprehensible stories is so much more fun than explaining grammar rules and my learners feel much more empowered too because they can understand so much in the target language.

This week’s French story is inspired by a cute Spanish story I used to tell to my middle school students. It is about a common but annoying problem: le hoquet . We all have our own little astuces, tricks to get rid of hiccups but why do we get hiccups? In this story, you will find out a very bizarre cause!

You will acquire:
Il a le hoquet = he has hiccups
Il ne peut pas = he can’t
Je ne peux pas = I can’t
Il essaie = he tries
arrête de respirer = stop breathing
il fait = he does

Do you have un truc, a trick pour se débarrasser, to get rid of hiccups? Make sure to leave a comment below this post or on Youtube.

Les trucs, the tricks

You can read this useful article about the causes and tricks to get rid of le hoquet. You will find out that some people can have hiccups for months, even for years!!! It is called le hoquet réfractaire! Quelle horreur !

Le hoquet est énervant !


C’est fini pour aujourd’hui ! I hope you enjoyed your dose of French input. See you next week for more stories!

Happy French acquisition!

A bientôt !

P.S. Got friends, family, colleagues or clients who want to become fluent in French? Share this with them, they’ll thank you for it 🙂

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