But don’t sing au revoir (goodbye) to your friends and family quite yet!
In order to perfect your French skills about five years ago you’d be packing your bags, saying goodbye to your loved ones and hopping on a flight to a French-speaking region in order to get direct access to real native French speakers.
Oh, but how times change!
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a big believer in the deep cultural and emotional value added to your language learning by packing those bags and setting off, in addition to that liberating feeling of setting off.
Nonetheless, at times you need those far off places to come to you, right to your home!
Lucky you. You’re alive in the age of online tutors, qualified native-speaking language professionals waiting to work with you in order for you to reach your language goals.
This means no more clicking on the Google Translate voice recognition over and over to make sure you got the pronunciation right or spending countless hours listening to French through movies and sitcoms without ever really speaking it. All of these things come to an end (or at least happen far less often) the day you say “oui” to an online French tutor!
Before we expand and explore the many resources available to you to find and contact an online French language tutor, let’s first explore the reasons why you should invest in one in the first place.
Très bonne idée, n’est-ce pas? (good idea, don’t you think?)
5 Reasons to Get an Online French Tutor
1. Learn French through French
This point cannot be stressed enough!
Using the target language as the medium in which one learns is an extremely effective strategy, from Day 1.
Some suggest this is overwhelming for beginners, but you’ll do yourself, your comprehension and your pronunciation a big favor by jumping into the deep end of the language pool and swimming right away.
Even if it feels like you’re drowning, your tutor is there to save you and help you float. Just think how much harder it would be to learn how to actually swim if you never touched water and just read about breaststrokes instead!
For a complete beginner, it may be a good idea to make sure the tutor understands some English, but for intermediate learners and beyond, go 100% in French!
2. Learn the French you want to learn
Are you planning to live, travel, study or work abroad in a particular part of the French-speaking world? Then you can choose a tutor that speaks this region’s unique breed of French!
Bring France, Quebec, Senegal, Belgium or Morocco to your home! The beauty of online learning means you can access the world with a click. This way not only do you get to learn, practice and converse with a native speaker, but you can pick where that person is from.
Considering the global reach of the French language, you could dabble around with different tutors from different regions to really reinforce your comprehension and pick up all that handy slang!
3. Pick up pertinent cultural knowledge
As language learners, we know that simply memorizing a vocabulary list isn’t enough. We begin learning a language because deep down there’s something that intrigues us about the peoples and cultures that speak it and, to really improve, we need to keep up to date and familiarize ourselves with our target language’s culture.
Working one-on-one with a native tutor living in a French-speaking country can give you insider access to cultural knowledge and current events. Just think, you can explore and access a rich source of information about the traditions and views of life held by French speakers with an individual who lives and breathes them every day!
4. Make your language learning live and physically present
When we do our learning online, sometimes we get a bit tired learning alone. This isn’t to say that we get tired of our language but we do feel a bit stretched out after all those PDFs, print-outs and online grammar activities because we don’t get a chance to practice what we learn in a live setting.
With a tutor, you can schedule in that all-so-important live practice, where you can try out your subjunctive, conditional and even ask about idiomatic expressions. Take a break from interactive activities and get down to real interaction with your online tutor!
5. Reinforce good study habits and get feedback
Speaking of making your learning present, meeting with a tutor 1-2 times a week helps to reinforce good study habits and it also gets you straight and timely feedback on your progress with the language.
Your tutor will adapt to you and your needs so you can really reinforce weak areas and further strengthen your pronunciation and comprehension.
Indeed another practical thing about having a tutor is the ability to adjust the time around your work life and personal commitments. We cannot all attend language classes from Monday to Friday at 10 a.m., but we can all meet with our online tutors for a minimum 30 minutes a week, perhaps on a laid back Saturday afternoon or even Sunday morning. The sheer flexibility of this system is enough to accommodate anyone.
Now to convince you even more, let’s briefly look at the advantages of having an online tutor at each language level!
The Advantages of Online Tutoring for French Learners of All Levels
Get your learning off on a good start and begin learning French in French. Get a friendly introduction to the language with the added bonus of getting your ears attuned to a native speaker from day one.
An online tutor provides beginners with the orientation and guidance that keeps them excited to learn and continue pushing through those more difficult lessons.
Many intermediate learners get stuck because they seem to understand everything but have difficulty speaking. An online tutor will take care of that as they will get you talking in real conversations, nailing down your grammar and even starting with writing those intermediate compositions!
An outline tutor is a gem for advanced learners as they can get advanced conversation practice, work on refining pronunciation (this one is difficult in French), discuss trouble spots and work with an individual who not only corrects errors but who can potentially help them become fully bilingual...c’est genial vraiment ! (it’s really great!)
Okay, so you see the benefits you can get from this. By this point, you’re looking for your online tutor.
But, wait…maybe you’re asking, “okay, so even if I get an online French tutor, how will I really make good use of this resource?”
An online tutor isn’t a magic wand, as in one which you wave and poof, you’re fluent! You have to work hard and, like any language resource you invest in, you need to know how to use it effectively.
From my personal experience, here are five quick tips to help you take advantage of your online tutor and really soar to new heights.
5 Quick Tips to Take Advantage of Your Online French Tutor
1. Have a 1-hour session every week (minimum) on the same day and hour
Try to meet at least once a week, perhaps for one hour. You might opt for two 30-minute sessions per week instead.
If you can budget for more, go for it—but also keep it balanced. Try your best to schedule your times at the same hour. For example, if you have a session on Tuesday from 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., then set the same time slot for your Thursday class. This consistency helps you keep on schedule.
Speaking of schedules…
2. Don’t skip class!
Make your online meetings consistent and don’t skip online practice time!
When you begin rearranging, canceling and not attending class with your online tutor, that’s when you lose motivation and your dream doesn’t come into fruition. This consistency allows you to properly structure classes with your tutor. And speaking of structure…
3. Split your time equally between oral and grammar exercises
Don’t just see this as open conversation time, really make use of your time!
Discuss and set both grammar and conversation goals with your tutor for each week so that you strike a balance for your individual needs! Ask your tutor to assign you some suggested homework. Practice on your own time, make some progress and come back to the tutor to fill in any blanks, get corrections and have questions answered. Once that’s done, you’ll be ready to set new goals for the upcoming week.
Speaking of conversation goals…
4. Listen to your tutor speak and take note of relevant vocabulary
Take out your pen and paper from the first second and keep your ears open!
Jot down new words you hear your tutor say and ask them about the meanings and the contexts if you’re unsure. You can also try repeating what the tutor says to neutralize your accent!
And to get you speaking…
5. Aim to ask 1-2 questions at the end of each lesson
This is the key sentence strategy and it works wonders. Tell your tutor that you’d like to spend the last five minutes of every class reviewing key sentences, i.e. constructing new sentences with the terminology learned during class. This way you can start the first five minutes of your second class using the terminology in your own sentences and contexts! This allows terminology to stick and also forces you to speak from day one!
Okay. Now you want to know where to find this online tutor ASAP, right? Below are seven online platforms where you can bring Paris, Quebec City or Brussels rights to your home starting tomorrow.
7 Stellar Online French Tutoring Platforms
VerbalPlanet really brings the planet to your language learning. You can sign up for free, create an online profile and then start your search for an online tutor from a global database of teachers right away.
The feature that really stands out about VerbalPlanet is that the French language tutors hail from all over the world: Africa, North America, Europe and the Caribbean.
Also, they have your budget in mind, as in you can adapt your profile to filter for tutors that fit your availability and price range. You can also access ratings from current and previous students in order for you to pick the tutor that’s just right!
Lingoda is specialized in the main European languages, including French! All the teachers are certified and native speakers. A really great bonus about this platform is that for €0.99 Euros (about $1.20 USD) you get a student profile and a free trial class.
With a trial class you can get a feel for the online tutor experience. If you’re happy with what you get, simply sign up for sessions with your trial class tutor! Awesome? Yes!
Keep in mind that this platform is geared to the European market, so most native teachers will thus speak European French.
Some other key features that really stand out here are that language classes are available around the clock, teaching and learning materials are included at no additional cost and, if you need an official certificate, you can sign up for a full class cycle with your tutor to get a report and certificate on your language level within the Common European Framework of References for Languages.
Need to learn French, and fast? Well, get yourself a tutor on the French Faster platform. The teachers on this platform come from around the French-speaking world, are native speakers and are also certified teachers.
This platform allows you to sign up for free using your contact information and language level. Then they give you a complimentary trial class with a teacher. If you’re happy with the accelerated learning method, you can sign up for more sessions with your tutor! The accelerated learning method has three pillars: Constructivism, participative learning and memorization.
Constructivism allows you to see the general patterns between English and French. In this way, your tutor helps you develop an intuition of what would and wouldn’t work in French. Participative learning means that these tutors adapt to your learning style rather than imposing one, and this is further reinforced by memorization techniques adapted to your learning style.
Learning French at Home is another European platform. The tutors are from either France or Switzerland. This platform does not give you any trial classes, but it does give you real structure regardless of your language level.
As an advanced learner your concern may simply be improving conversation skills. All right, then sign up for the Conversation Programme.
Maybe you’re in University and really need to refine your writing skills. No problem. Sign up for the Customized French Writing Programme.
Maybe you really need to prepare to take a French assessment test. Well, they also have specialized tutors to help you prepare!
LiveLingua uses Skype as their online platform to give you live web-conference or telephone tutoring sessions in French.
This is another platform that allows you to sign up for free and gives you a free trial class. Keep in mind that the French tutors and teachers on this platform are exclusively from France. If France is your Francophone destination, go for these tutors.
This platform is very flexible, as in you can sign up for as little or as many class sessions as you would like with your tutor, and there’s no minimum or maximum.
Verbling has a database of over 300 native, certified and qualified teachers from around the world ready to work with you today. Verbling allows you to really refine your search to help you find the perfect teacher.
This is great for beginners because you can find a native teacher who also speaks English, just in case you need to during your sessions! Also, you can refine your search around preparing for specific exams, general French, business French, price range or simply reviews of other students who have worked with the same teacher!
French Tutor Online is geared solely to the French learning market, so they’re really specialized! Teachers are also mostly European-based but the real added bonus here is that, in addition to flexible and affordable rates, you can sign up for 1:1 sessions or group lessons.
Group sessions are a fantastic way to get you motivated and working alongside a friend or colleague who’s also learning. The group sessions are a budget friendly option as they allow you to sign up for more classes at a discounted rate. Talk about a fantastic Christmas or birthday gift!
There you have it!
A good tip right now would be to take a few moments with yourself, pull out a sheet of paper and jot down your learner profile: language level, strong areas, areas to improve and your goals.
From your personal assessment, create an imaginary tutor profile, making sure to consult your budget to see how much you can realistically afford.
Then take your preferred tutor profile and start your search on the platforms listed above.
Remember, it never hurts to sign up for a free trial class!
Happy learning to you! A la prochaine, les amis. (See you soon friends).
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