Tips to find a French teacher
Why lessons with a French teacher is a smart choice?
You might be asking yourself why it’s a smart decision to hire a private French teacher when there are seemingly endless options to learn French online. It’s important to note that these two approaches can be complementary. Self-teaching can be can be a really effective way to reinforce what you learn during formal instruction, especially if you are a complete beginner. Online lessons have the advantage of being less expensive and allow you to schedule the time dedicated to your lessons according to your availability. However, I strongly believe that self-learning has limitations once you reach an intermediate level. Why? First, because you have very little feedback. How will you know if you’re pronouncing words correctly? The voice graph? Talk about a scam! This picks up on the modulation of your voice, but not your pronunciation. Second, many online methods lack any solid grammatical structure. You cannot master French without this. Third, online lessons aren’t interactive and you won’t develop the confidence to speak freely. Don’t forget that speaking a language is all about interaction and being able to engage in conversations in French is essential.
Taking private French lessons with our native French teacher is a fast and efficient way to improve your speaking abilities. At French à La Carte, you’ll get individual attention and many opportunities to speak French on a daily basis. Students taking one-to-one French classes in Paris can expect to rapidly improve their skill level and are guaranteed more time working directly, one-to-one with a French teacher.
Finding a French tutor that matches your needs
Before starting private French lessons, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone can teach their native language. There are a lot of people out there claiming that they can provide French lessons, but are not fully qualified. First of all, you should check references. Especially before committing to a large number of classes. A French teacher should be qualified, organized, punctual, reliable, and have a good French accent. They must also know grammar, be able to to explain it (in French and sometimes in English if necessary), and have strong interpersonal skills, e.g. the ability to help students feel comfortable speaking in French.
In general, French teachers and language tutors are reasonably good at these things. And degrees in French don’t necessarily guarantee that a teacher will possess the very best interpersonal skills. Be particularly careful with French people offering “conversation lessons.” They sometimes have no formal teaching experience. For example, they might be able to engage you in conversation and point out mistakes, but they won’t be able to explain them. Learning from mistakes is essential if you want to progress quickly.
If you look around on the internet, you can find many, many advertisements on sites like Craigslist offering private French lessons. A good tip here is to search for a school dedicated to French tutoring that offers private French lessons.
Questions to ask to a French teacher before starting
If you’re going to pay someone to help you learn French, you want to make sure that you have found the right person. It’s worth asking a potential teacher at least some of the following questions:
- What qualifications do you have? (Ideally you’re looking for someone who has a degree in FLE)
- What experience do you have? (A teacher with at least a few years of experience is preferable)
- Where will the lessons be? (Some tutors are able to teach at your home or office)
- How much do you charge? (An average hourly rate for one-to-one private French lessons is somewhere between 45 and 55 € / hour)
- What materials do you use? (Will they provide a workbook? Try and choose someone that combines different methods, e.g. books in addition to online material)
- Do you specialize in any particular levels, or types of French? (Some French tutors have more experience in teaching Business French and you can find tutors specialized in particular topics such as legal French)
It’s also a good idea to find out about their cancellation policy. Some may require only a few hours notice for a cancellation, while others may need several days. The average is 24 hours notice.