But what simple tips can we offer to help you improve your language skills for individual French courses or French courses for families?
Learning a language is a personal goal which requires consistent effort to develop four skills: listening, reading, speaking and writing. But how can you improve your French speaking skills? What kinds of activities will also help you make progress in your writing?
Listening to French songs is a free and effective way to improve your listening skills and expand your vocabulary. With an impressive number of artists representing all possible musical styles (rap, pop, opera, rock, singer-songwriters, and more), everyone will be able to find something they like. Each month, the Centre International d’Antibes’ learning website, Le Français et Vous (French and You), offers the opportunity to discover a French album. Plus, you can easily find the lyrics for your favourite French songs online. Go ahead and sing along as you listen to the original performance – there’s no better way to improve your pronunciation.
As for videos, TV5Monde is a website featuring resources categorised by level, topic and audience type. RFI is another website known for its audio resources, including the famous Journal en français facile (News in Simple French). If your skills are at an advanced level, don’t forget about French TV series. Check out this list of the ten best series for learning French. The advantage of a series is that it allows you to immerse yourself in authentic language and delve into a culture, while helping you get to grips with a country’s unique sense of humour. Lupin, the detective series starring Omar Sy, Jonathan Cohen’s La Flamme (The Flame), Family Business, Le bazar de la charité (The Bonfire of Destiny), Dix pour cent (Call My Agent!) or HPI with Audrey Fleurot are some examples of series to get stuck into.
Regular contact with a native speaker can help you to consolidate your level and speak more fluently. It’s also a way of getting closer to local people to learn about their everyday lives. If you’ve reached a good enough level, register on discussion forums or join Facebook groups which use French. If you’re preparing for an exam like the DELF, there are dedicated groups available. If you have the time and the opportunity, finding a job in France can help you to make quick progress. Leading activities, homework help, language courses, fast food and childcare are all sectors which are recruiting. Volunteering for a charity is another good option if you want to communicate with native speakers. Working alongside local people will require you to use all your skills and give you the keys to understanding the ins and outs of the culture.
Don’t forget team games like the famous Loups garous de Thiercelieux (The Werewolves of Millers Hollow) or Taboo! In addition to encouraging socialisation and competitiveness, games will give you an opportunity to support your answers, argue, be more responsive... Of course, nothing can replace the French lessons taught by the teachers at the Centre International d’Antibes! During online French courses or in-person classes, your teacher will do everything possible to ensure a great experience, selecting activities that are appropriate to your level, correcting your pronunciation, explaining tricky areas of grammar, and so on.
Activities where you have to produce language are more challenging than comprehension activities. So it’s important to first figure out the time of day at which you feel the most ‘productive’. In addition, consolidate your grammar skills on a regular basis by varying the kinds of activities you do. There’s no need to limit yourself to a traditional exercise book, you can also make use of online digital resources like multiple choice questions, quizzes and so on. Our learning website, Le Français et Vous, also offers grammar activities aimed at all levels.
To improve your writing skills you can of course enrol in a massive open online course (MOOC) if you are able to work independently for a few hours a week. In other words, this approach to learning requires motivation and discipline! There are many advantages: the vast majority of these courses are free, you can attend from whatever country you are in and you will receive a completion certificate at the end of the course.
Read anything and everything you can get your hands on! Magazines and newspapers are perfect, but you need to find ones that suit your tastes and are appropriate to your level. Social media also offers a good way to improve your French, especially your reading skills. On Instagram, La Boîte au Fle offers grammar and vocabulary exercises with a touch of humour. Pourquoipasenfle allows you to complete fun grammar activities, while A Cup of French is perfect for everyday vocabulary and conjugation. Over on Facebook, MOddou FLE is a great place to improve your level through written activities. When it comes to vocabulary, you can’t beat the idea of creating small cards on a particular theme (home, work, recreation, etc). You will then need to revise them every day and get a friend to quiz you.