French the natural way: how to aid comprehension?

Coucou les French learners,

La confiance, confidence is key !


“One earns confidence by drops and loses it by litres” Jean-Paul Sartre

Over the past few weeks, I have truly come to believe that gaining confidence is key to acquire another language. I already talked about it in my last newsletter. Many learners who I meet have lost confidence. From my own experience, I lost confidence in German. At this stage, it feels like, as a student, you are “on the defensive”, your brain is lockedStevick uses this term in his book Memory, Meaning, and Method.

Comprehension is the other key to unlock the brain and boost confidence. Once you understand some or most of another language, your confidence increases by BIG drops. Once your confidence increases, your brain opens itself to receive more input.

It is un cercle vertueux, a virtuous circle.

L’input optimal

Optimal input is comprehensible input to language learners. It focuses the acquirer on the message and not on form. To go a step further, the best input is so interesting and relevant that the acquirer may even “forget” that the message is encoded in a foreign language.

My goal as a second language teacher (I prefer to call myself language parent) is to help make input comprehensible and interesting.

I use supplementations to achieve this goal:

  • Drawings
  • Written Words
  • Gestures (Body Movements)
  • Mimic (Facial Expressions)
  • Synonyms/Antonyms, Suffix/Prefix, Parts of Speech, Word Families
  • Learner’s First Language
  • Slow & Clear Speech
  • Shorter, Easier Sentences
  • Quick Explanation about the rules of the Language. The explanation may make the input more comprehensible.
Source: https://storiesfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/SF_handout_supplements.pdf

Des exemples à la fin de sessions de français en ligne.

My amazing German teacher, Kathrin Shechtman wrote a thoughtful post on her perspective as a student learning French, the “traditional way” and Spanish with me (you can watch Spanish stories I told her which I recorded on my YouTube channel). She illustrated the supplementations beautifully:


Dr. Stephen Krashen & Dr. Beniko Mason, 2017 (Graphic: Kathrin Shechtman, 2018)

By using these tools, the “language parent” helps learners acquire more and gain confidence.

#inputaloneissufficient

Une histoire et un livre

As you may already know, Halloween is not my cup of tea!

However I did make a video about a spooky story Le doigt de pied poilu !

Gaining confidence in reading is also key. That is why it is best to start with easy readers. They are repetitive and simple and use many cognates and high-frequency words to make the book comprehensible. Jean-Paul et ses bonnes idées is perfect!

I love hearing from you so keep up sending me feedback. I am here to help you acquire French effortlessly.

Happy French acquisition!

#trusttheprocess

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 :-)

P.P.S The 30 scripts of the season 1 videos are nearly ready!!! Watch out for the eBook (pdf) release in December!

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