French the natural way: la confiance en soi

Coucou les French learners,

I am back from beautiful Portugal and en plein boum, in full swing!

The most important is not to let yourself overwhelmed.

Prendre confiance

As I am working at full speed this week, I am also taking the time to reflect on my ten days in Portugal. Whilst I was there, I noticed Portuguese people were opened to other languages. Every time I would speak to them in my Spanish-Portuguese mix, they would be opened to listen to me and understand me. I did not meet any Portuguese shutting down as I would speak in my bad Portuguese.

Le marché à Vila Verde.

Another amazing thing I noticed is that most Portuguese can speak two ot three other languages, mostly French or English. The taximan who drove us to the airport spoke French to us. He did some grammar and vocabulary mistakes but we could understand him. When I asked him if he had lived in France, he said he had learned French at school and that was it. However, he said French and Portuguese were similar and therefore he could get by.

He absolutely didn’t care about making mistakes, he wanted to have a conversation with us.

This is la confiance, confidence.

Confidence is difficult to obtain, but so easy to lose…

Many of my learners are too self-conscious and therefore they hesitate to speak because they fear, they are going to make mistakes. Most of the time, they are actually right! But they don’t trust themselves, they don’t trust their brains!

This is the affective filter : an invisible psychological filter that can either facilitate or hinder language production in a second language.

The Collaborative Classroom blog explains that

When the filter is high, you:

  • experience stress
  • feel anxious and self-conscious
  • The lack of self-confidence might inhibit success in acquiring the second language
  • are reluctant to participate and seek out opportunities to collaborate

When the filter is low, you:

  • become a risk-taker as you manipulate language
  • feel safe in making mistakes without judgement and constant corrections
  • feel empowered to interact and seek out models of language

My job as a language parent is to lower the affective filter as much as possible.

Recently, American actor Bradley Cooper was interviewed in the French program Quotidien. He speaks fluently although he is making mistakes. However, he admits himself he doesn’t care about making errors. He is confident, his affective filter is low.

C’est fantastique, it is amazing, n’est-ce pas ? Isn’t it?




Un livre parfait pour débutants

Reading is a powerful way to boost confidence. This article on GettingBalance mentions that reading:

  • reduces stress. “Reading just six minutes every day has been proven to reduce stress, and thirty minutes a day reduces stress by over sixty percent. That lack of stress can easily become an increase in confidence.
  • increases knowledge. “The most important part is that you read something you enjoy. Almost everything you read can increase your knowledge. The more you read, the more information you’ll gather, giving you the confidence you’ll need.”
  • makes you happier. “By reading, you can take yourself anywhere to somewhere you can forget about your problems for a while. It’s been shown to be a form of meditation that engages your mind. When you’re back from your mental vacation, you’ll be refreshed and in a happier state, which will boost your confidence.”

This week’s video is part of Critiques de livres series. In this short video, I recommend you to read this fun easy short novel in French about a little girl’s adventures in Paris “ Les aventures d’Isabelle “. This book is parfait, perfect if you it is your first or second French book and you need to gain confidence!

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

Happy French acquisition!

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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