Education & Training

4 Fun Techniques to Help Your Child Learn French

French is a vital and important language, serving as the first language of approximately 60 million people in France and Corsica, while Canada tops about 7.3 million, Belgium 4 million, and the United States—particularly the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont—accounting for 1.3 million French speakers.

New and exciting methods for learning new languages

In light of this, teaching your children French as a second or even third language will stand them in good stead as they travel, learn, and perhaps settle in a French-speaking country. As the Internet continues to innovate many new and exciting methods for learning new languages, here’s a quick summary of some of the ways in which you can start teaching your children French:

1. Online tutoring

Modern technology is aiding and abetting human-to-human cooperation like never before, and one of the best ways to learn a new language is via live lessons on digital platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, or any number of proprietary systems from a multitude of service providers.

Learning a language this way is by far the best method because students are able to get tuition and help from native speakers of French.

Lessons can be called up when convenient and specific tutors chosen for a good personality match, or other needs such as costs, qualifications, and how well they are reviewed. What’s more, learning becomes fun and extends beyond simply the language—it’s possible to uncover new passions and interact with fabulous people across the world.

Lessons are short, fun, and conversational and keep learners engaged and focused on daily conversation rather than traditional grammatical rules. The goal is to encourage French fluency without it feeling like a school lesson.

2. “Listening” to lessons while sleeping

Learning a new language is a complicated psychological process with new evidence now suggesting that learning new words is entrenched via episodic memory—we remember new words by remembering the event of learning the word and everything surrounding it.

Researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, performing experiments on sleep and language learning, have recently determined that playing an audiobook or radio show with familiar words can be beneficial. Moreover, the research suggests that it’s best to play audio recordings of your child’s classes or online sessions with tutors.

One method of harnessing this technique, therefore, would be to record online lessons and play them back while your child sleeps. There are any number of applications available that allow you to record the content of classes and tutorials for playback later.

3. Smartphone apps

“There’s an app for that” has become a popular catchphrase, and not for nothing, because there “literally” is an app for everything. But with so many apps clamoring for attention, it has become difficult to find a mobile application that teaches French fluency, and fast.

There are, of course, thousands of options available and knowing where to start is a difficult decision. To help with this, it’s advisable to research and read reviews available online of the various language learning apps and their strengths and weaknesses, and make an informed decision.

In a recent survey, Forbes, for example, rated Babbel as the best paid-for language learning app overall, while Duolingo rated as the best free option. In finer degrees of categorization, Forbes rated Mondly best to learn pronunciation, Speakly was adjudged the best learning app for real-life conversations, Lirica best for learning through music, and QLango top for learning through games.

4. Watching TV shows and movies

While it might sound just too easy, Lingopie has emerged as the only learning platform designed specifically around real TV shows and films to help learners acquire French. The idea is to make language learning simple, fun, and entertaining.

The application uses real TV shows and movies, each packed with subtitles in French and with every word, phrase, or slang term clickable for an instant translation. As you watch, you can review new vocabulary and learn grammar rules with flashcards and word lists.

Lingopie claims that viewing only three or four episodes of a TV series is enough to bring a notable improvement in listening comprehension and vocabulary. After a full season of at least eight episodes of a show that your child really likes, confidence and comprehension are likely to soar as his or her brain “rewires” to acquire new words, phrases, and grammatical rules.

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