How to study a foreign language
HOW TO STUDY A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Learning a foreign language is a lot like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport. It requires regular practice! Your ability to understand and communicate in French will increase each day -- if you are willing to use the language! Here are some recommendations for studying the language!
Take advantage of class time. Listen carefully when new material is presented, and take notes, if appropriate. Ask the teacher questions, and ask yourself whether or not you really understand. If you are given class time to start an assignment, do it! That way, you will be able to ask the teacher for help.
Speak French as much as possible. Once you have learned the phrases such as “I have a question.” ( J’ai une question? ) and “May I sharpen my pencil?” (Je peux tailler mon crayon?) you should use them, rather than English.
Don’t expect to understand everything. Try not to become frustrated when you don’t understand something the teacher says. You aren’t expected to understand everything! Your comprehension will improve over time, so be patient.
Expect to make some mistakes! Mistakes are a normal part of the learning process. The important thing is to learn from them.
Learn to make some intelligent guesses. There are hundreds of cognates (words that look or sound the same as their English equivalents). Learn to recognize them and use them. What do you think the following words mean?
Expect some language and cultural differences. This may be your first contact with another language and culture, so it may surprise you to learn that English is odd, and has many exceptions, and our culture is different, rather than the other way around.
Practice every day. You didn’t master the English language without a lot of repetition and practice, and the same will be true of learning a foreign language. Spend 15-20 minutes reviewing, in addition to doing assigned homework. Use the "GRILLE - DEVOIRS” if there is no other assignment. I expect something to be done every night.
* When you turn in your week's work, copy the HW grid like a tiny bingocard on the top corner of your homework sheet, and write the date you did the work in the corresponding box (no need to copy the instructions in this grid)
* For some activities (the ones that don't require writing) you will need the signature of someone who can verify that you did it.
Experiment to find your own learning style. Some of you may need to write new words five or more times in order to learn them, and others may find flash cards more helpful. The important thing is to use what works best for you. Here are some suggestions:
• Make flash cards, with English OR a picture on one side and French on the other side
• Use copies of the tapes at home
• Write out the answers to textbook exercises (at home, never in class)
• Correct and / or redo homework exercises
• Review textbook exercises that were done in class
• Say words aloud as you study them
• Look at pictures in magazines or newspapers and try to describe them in French.
• Study outside of class with a partner
Get organized! Keep your notebook and other materials in order, and bring them to class.
Riddle: What is the difference between a student who gets an A and one who doesn’t?
GET HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE !
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