Which method to choose for learning a foreign language?
In the era of multifaceted communication and the learning of French according to the CEFR (Common European Framework Reference) , is there still a need to question the best ways to learn a foreign language?
Certainly, the offer is wide between the plethora of applications for Smartphone and those for language stays all claiming excellence and differentiation of their method. So, one may wonder why learning a language remains a challenge.
In fact, the reason is simple. It is you who learn. Whatever the quality of your digital application or your teacher, it is ultimately you and only you who will have to memorize, integrate, understand and express yourself.
1- The best method is the one that suits you !
This is why I believe that there is not one single learning method but the one that works for you.
If you like to play games and want to spend just a few minutes a day learning a foreign language, then turn to mobile applications.
If you want to communicate orally, then choose online courses with a native speaker who is qualified to teach your language. Conversing with someone who does not fully master the language you want to learn may help you to become more fluent, but not in the quality of your oral expression. You risk expressing yourself badly and anchoring grammatical or other errors without speaking of pronunciation !
Finally, if you have more time and want to get to know the culture and language of a country, there is nothing better than immersing yourself in that country.
Here again, there are many proposals.
However, if you really want to significantly improve your level, nothing beats immersion. But real immersion.
2- Immersion, what does it mean?
If you learn French for example, it means that for the time of your French immersion program, you will not speak your mother tongue, or very rarely. You will not hear it either, unless a few words spoken by your teacher if you are a beginner.
Thus, you will live in a linguistic and cultural bath which will certainly be tiring at first glance but will be extremely profitable for you and especially for your cognitive capacities . As Ping Li, professor of psychology and linguistics at Pennsylvania State University, explains: “Learning and practicing something, such as a second language, strengthens the brain. Like physical exercise, the more you use a specific area of your brain, the more it develops and strengthens.”
In fact, by learning a foreign language, we also influence our ways of thinking and acting and become more rational, less prone to emotions in decision making.
As you can guess, deciding to learn a foreign language cannot be done without the how.
3-How do I want to learn this language?
What am I attracted to? What is right for me, according to my availability, my goals and my interests?
In order to know the best way to learn a language for you, it is essential to answer these questions.
There is no point in using an application if you are not motivated to learn on your own.
If you have chosen immersion, I congratulate you.
For my part, I love to travel and I regret not having made language immersion one of my priorities.