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French for Mischa

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The first question I used to ask my students was "Why are you studying French?" They didn't always have the "best" reason but those that had a good reason, started with a great attitude and did well. In case they didn't have a good reason, I had a handout with "More than 75 good reasons to study French." So, of course, I have to ask you, Mischa: "Why are you studying French?"

The next thing we did was to anaylze what kind of learner each student was. If you learn best by something visual, you need to SEE what you want to learn. If you learn, aurally, you need to HEAR what you want to learn. If you learn kinesthetically, you need to PHYSICALLY be involved in what you are learning. I am a kinesthetic learner so it is more difficult to learn, but once you do, it stays a lot longer! Of course, the best way to learn, in order to "hit" all those types of learning is to HEAR, SAY, SEE, WRITE in that order!

Flash cards are good if they are small enough to carry in your pocket. Then you can practice whenever you have time (waiting for a bus, etc.), by having English on one side and French on the other. It doesn't take long to make 2 piles = those you need spend no more time on and those that need more work. I used to color-code the parts of speech: nouns = blue, verbs = green, adjectives = red, etc.

All my students had access to a hand-held recorder. Record what you want to learn (or have someone with good pronunciation do that for you), leaving a space after each word or expression. At first you only listen passively. This is as close to learning by osmosis as you can get! Then, listen and repeat in the space you left, trying to match the pronunciation, intonation exactly of the model. To do this, you need to be sure that the model is correct. The third step is to listen, think and read (see) what you are trying to learn. Then, when you can listen, say, close your eyes and "see" it in your mind's eye, you are ready for the final step. Listen and write in that space, checking VERY closely with the written script, having the exact spelling, including accents.


1. Pay attention in class. The old "you snooze, you lose" saying applies here.

2. Ask questions. How will you understand something confusing if you do not ask?

3. Study a little every night. You can not learn a language just by attending class and then putting your book in your locker until the next day! Language learning is an ongoing process. Think about how you learned English as a young child!

4. Start flash cards today. For each vocbulary lesson, make a stack of cards (3x5 cards work great because they are sturdier than paper).

5. Participate ACTIVELY! Do not wait to be called on; raise your hand! By being an active member in class you can get feedback on your pronunciation and make sure you have a handle on what you are learning!

6. Color-code the spelling problems to "set" this in your "mind's eye." Use the bilious yellow, orange, lime-green, hot pink, etc.

Hope there are not many typos as I'm going as fast as I can!


  • French for Mischa -

    Personally, I really like the sound of the language. And I always wanted to go to France, maybe travel or even for work. I am just really interested in French culture.

    I would love to know some of your 75 good reasons to learn french.

  • French for Mischa -

    Here you go; no way am I typing all this!

  • French for Mischa -

    How do you spell Com ce com ca?

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