6 questions you should ask yourself when choosing a way to learn French

So you want to find a way to learn French, because this time, that's it. You want to feel comfortable in all your interactions in French be it with your colleagues, with the teachers, with the doctor, in the shops...

Maybe you have already attended a class and it failed to motivate you. It left you feeling miserable and inadequate. Or maybe it is the first time you are looking and you want to make the right decision, so you are asking around for advice. Or you have taken advantage of lessons that were paid by your company but they did not take you to the level you are aiming for.

You want value for money and it is perfectly legitimate. And maybe you have not yet got over how expensive everything is in Switzerland. So you ask yourself and/or others how much you should pay for French tuition. But before you get to that point, here is what you should ask yourself.

  1. What's my starting point? Next to zero, good knowledge but lack of confidence...

  2. What's my learning objective? Survival (A2), getting by (B1), comfort zone (B2), academic proficiency (C1). You get the picture.

  3. How much time do I have on my hands to reach that objective? Or how much time I am prepared to invest to meet my objective? If you have a lot of time on your hands and do not mind a bit of trial and error until you find what works for you, then you might want to go for a cheaper option? If, on the other hand, you have already had your fair share of disheartening experiences and/or you do not have time to beat around the bush, then be prepared to invest a little more money.

  4. How do I learn best? The energy of a group might motivate you, or you might like individual attention. You might be happy with traditional teaching methods (Open you book on page x, do exercise y, etc.) or might get bored out of your mind and completely demotivated by that type of approach. Are you then going to go for it just because it is cheaper and end up feeling like a failure again because that approach decidedly does not suit you?

  5. How much flexibility do I need? If you are likely to have last minute change of schedules and so not be able to attend half the lessons you paid for, it might be worth considering a more flexible service.

  6. Last, but not least, how much money are my time and motivation worth? And I'll let you expand on that one yourself.

One extra consideration I want to leave you with is that of the cultural context. Is it useful for you to know about the area you have come to and its people? Or is it just a matter of learning the language?

Once all these things are clear in your mind, you can make a choice that will suit you. And that choice might be different to other people's whose advice you are asking, because we each have our own imperatives and needs.

I hope these few pointers will help you choose the way to learn French that is right for you.

I'd be happy to discuss it further with you if you are interested. Get in touch. The first meeting is free, no strings attached.

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