Learning French as a second language is a decision rarely made suddenly, accidentally, or impulsively.

Taking French lessons rather for your own growth and benefit, is not a concept to rule out entirely . 

Setting aside any foolish reasons for learning la langue française, it would be fair to say that most people consciously and intentionally decide to commit to French. There may be dozens of reasons why you've chosen to open up new opportunities for yourself by studying a new language:

  • appreciate the health and financial benefits that come with being bilingual
  • want to learn more than just the basic bonjour before your next trip to France or other French speaking country
  • dream of working in an iconic Parisian fashion house, or any other French business
  • are a connoisseur of delicious French food, and are brushing up on your reading skills for those foreign recipes and menus

Whichever the motive, there is a growing number of people wanting to learn French online, though their community, or a language learning centre. 

Brush off the troubling reports which suggest a decline in foreign language learning in British schools.

The opportunity to learn French remains high despite any reports that may suggest a decline in foreign language education.

Any student can improve their language skills with a genuine desire to learn, whether it be through free courses online, apps used on the go, or through schools dedicated to French language and culture. 

Learning French for beginners is no easy task! Let us not devalue those who have spent countless hours trying to master the language of Molière. 

There are several elements which must be considered to achieve proficiency in French.   

And so, we've put together exactly what you need to know before giving it a go. 

Vous êtes prêts? Allons-y!

Discover hundreds of French language courses and online french courses on Superprof.

You shouldn't have to dig into your savings to learn French!
Find out how much money you should set aside for French courses. Source: Unspash Credit: Melissa Walker Horn

How Much Should I Budget for French Lessons?

You might be wondering how far you'll have to dig into your pockets for a French tutor. 

That is absolutely a genuine concern! 

To put it into context, it is said that learning a new language is a lifetime commitment.

Forking out on French classes for the foreseeable future certainly sounds frightening!

The situation however is not as dreadful as it might seem, you don't need to burn your budget. 

When learning French for beginners, it would indeed be wise to factor in the cost of lessons.

But with so many free courses online, why should anyone actually spend money on a French class?

Can the quality of online materials be trusted though? Can you assess progress without proper feedback?

Rest assured, we are not suggesting everything found on the Internet is inferior! As a matter of fact, practicing your French using flashcards or through native speakers is actually quite valuable.

The best and most effective way to become fluent however, is to dedicate equal time to each of the four aspects of language learning - not only reading and writing, but also speaking and listening!

Formal lessons in particular can especially help beginners learn French quickly!

You might be wondering where can you find courses outside of high school, and how much each French lesson costs?

Studying French through a France-based Platform

Those who live close to the 30 Alliance Française branches around Australia can enjoy French for beginners all the way up to an advanced language classes.

Perhaps you are looking for more local French lessons Melbourne. Or if you are wanting to study at a French language school such as L'Alliance, courses are available for children right through to adult learners. The 9 week high school program for example, offers 1.5 hours of teaching per week at the Alliance offices and averages a cost of $320.

If you prefer to learn tenses and the subjunctive at your own pace, there are private one-to-one sessions which cost $98 for one hour of teaching. Or if you wish to have a French tutor deliver a lesson chez vous, this would set you back between $106 - $146 depending on your location.

You can also gather a few mates for a group class! These begin at $147 for one hour French lessons of 3 people at the Alliance office, or ranges between $155 - $195 if you request the French tutor travels to you.

N.B. Fees may be subject to change, enquire at the local Alliance centre to find out the prices for a language course in your area.

Attending a language school is the next option for French lessons for those who don't live close by to an Alliance branch!

Search your area French lessons Brisbane.

French learning in schools is possible for children and adults
Find a cost effective French language school for you. Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt

Studying French through a Private Organisation

Have you ever thought about going on exchange? It is often said that one of the most effective ways to learn a second language is by simply surrounding yourself in it! 

Immersion in a francophone country will not only help you improve your language skills, but it will also broaden your cultural perspective. Taking part in a language exchange program abroad is a fantastic opportunity to learn French authentically.  

But if you, unfortunately, cannot fit in an (educational) holiday into your busy schedule, your next option in learning how to parler français is through a platform that exclusively employs teachers whose native language is French.

Language Trainers, for example, offers courses in Australia and worldwide taught by qualified instructors who either hold degrees in French, or other internationally-recognised qualifications for teaching French (or both!). 

The organisation estimates that students with no prior knowledge can reach beginner's level after approximately 15 sessions consisting of 2 hours each.

Language Trainers do not offer singular lessons, rather they provide courses which can be tailored to match your specific learning needs and preferences.

If you feel like you've got a good hold on French vocab, Language Trainers can also target lessons to a more advanced level and help you progress to using more intermediate words and phrases.

You may choose however much time you feel you need to perfect your skills. The program is offered in blocks of 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 hours.

Some students have greater confidence and learn more quickly when they have one-to-one lessons with a French tutor. Language Trainers can offer singular or group classes. 

The program begins with a 10-hour package. If you are more comfortable learning French in your office or at your home, this will cost you $99 per hour.

There is also the choice of doing French lessons over Skype! The rate for online French lessons drops to $58 per hour. 

Note that the more hours you purchase, the cheaper it will be. And if you pay for your lessons upfront, you may receive a discount.

The most popular is the 30-hour course. The price per hour for these face-to-face lessons is $69.

You should also factor in the cost of your study materials! These are integral to learning French, ask your teacher on which textbooks or resources they recommend for your French lessons. 

A passionate teacher will do everything they can to see you succeed.

But of course each teacher will have their own particular way of leading a classroom. 

You might see an ad for a French tutor on Gumtree. If there are no reviews or ratings from students, how can you be sure of what their teaching style or success rate is?

There are thousands of French teachers on Superprof awaiting for you to get in contact and ready to launch into French lessons! Find a tutor to practice your French conversation with and discuss French literature, or even spend time going over grammar rules. 

If you're continuing to get a funny look or two when you're busting out your favourite French phrases, it may be time to work on your spoken French. 

It can be confusing to know when you should use the formal pronoun and which situations it is appropriate to be more informal, or perhaps you are still grappling with verb tenses. Whichever the case, your Superprof tutor will be able to offer guidance!

Usually costing an average of about $30 for each hour of instruction, these lessons are hard to match!

To summarise how much French lessons cost, please refer below:

NameIn OfficeIn Your HomeOnline
Alliance Française£52£58Average £46
Language Trainers£49£49£28
Superprof(in a mutually agreed location)
Average £15
Average £15Average £15

How can a teacher help you navigate between language courses, textbooks, teachers, and immersion learning?

A good French tutor should be an expert on grammar and vocab!
A French tutor well across the subject matter is incredibly important Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt

Finding the Right French Tutor for You

Remember that teacher who always used to have favourites in class? That didn't quite pay attention to your learning needs, leaving you feeling inadequate?

Finding the right French tutor who understands and adapts to your learning style, and picks up rather than glossing over a point you are failing to grasp, is not an easy task. 

It is critical that the teaching style of your French instructor corresponds well with your criteria.

Particularly since you are paying for French lessons out of your hard earned money! 

As you begin to narrow down the list of available teachers, you must first establish what learning level you are at. 

Do you need someone who is skilled in teaching French for beginners?

Perhaps you already know some basic French, and are just looking to upgrade your conversation skills by adding some new words and phrases to you repertoire.

The Year 12 French exams could be coming up, pr maybe you're about to sit a placement test. 

You might be looking for a French tutor for yourself, another adult, or you'd like your children to start learning la langue française. 

Regardless of the circumstance, some things to look out for in a teacher are: 

  • patience
  • confidence
  • empathy
  • understanding
  • supportiveness 
  • a passion for both learning and in life
  • the ability to rework subject matter so it is understood
  • open-mindedness and flexible delivery methods

Perhaps you like to joke around in class from time to time.... let's hope you do not find yourself with a teacher who sets off on a rampage the second they hear students giggling at a funny-sounding French word!

In addition to these characteristics, the right French tutor must have the appropriate subject matter knowledge. 

Imagine you're in one of your French classes wondering why some objects are masculine yet others have feminine articles, and have asked your instructor to explain the logic behind all these grammatical gender rules.

Rather than seizing the opportunity to illustrate a valid point, your teacher disregards the question insisting it will be 'covered after' or that you'll 'understand later on.'

Determine Your Teacher is Suited to You

Looking through a whole bunch of adverts and reading a list of bios dotted with various qualifications can only allow you to deduce so much. What you need to do is simply talk with your prospective French teacher. 

It is worthwhile to have a quick interview before before you engage someone, whether it be for in person, or online French lessons. 

Rest assured that a school or learning centre would have already reviewed and deemed a teacher's qualifications acceptable prior to their first lesson. 

By all means, ask your prospective tutor about their experiences. It would also be helpful to inquire:

  • If they learn more towards educating younger, older or adult students
  • What their teaching methodology is
  • What they feel is the most essential aspect of language learning?
    • Some instructors focus on reading or writing skills, while others prioritise listening, comprehension or pronunciation
  • What learning materials are provided? Or which textbooks are recommended?

  • If they have ever worked with people who have learning disabilities? 

You are not compelled to share any disability you or your child may have with an instructor, the last question is intended more to gauge their patience levels. 

Posing questions is basically a way of assessing how well you would work with a French tutor, and how receptive they would be to you during a lesson.

FYI most Superprof tutors are happy to offer the initial hour of instruction for free to help you decide if the instructor is right for you!

Feel free to browse French lessons Sydney here.

Trying to learn French? Download some French podcasts to enhance your listening comprehension skills
Try downloading a French podcast to listen to whilst you're on the move Source: Pixabay Credit: PIX1861

Ways to Improve Your Level of French Between Lessons

Supplementing your French lessons with a tutor will add further perspectives and contributions to your learning.

A tutor can be a fantastic help to the high school students preparing for their French exams!

Enrolling yourself in a French course is an excellent way of formally committing to language learning. 

However, a common piece of advice given is that, the period of time spent in the classroom should be doubled with additional hours dedicated to individual study.

This does not mean you're expected to lock yourself in a room or be glued to a chair with your nose buried in a textbook if you want to achieve fluency! 

Romance languages are said to be difficult to learn. Despite this, there are many other ways to learn a language beyond what are thought to be traditional methods.

Try improving your French language skills by downloading a podcast or a French television program. You could listen to some French music whilst having a coffee break, treat yourself to a night of classic French cinéma, or how about connecting with a native speaker to practice your conversational French?

How can people living outside of a city centre access these opportunities?

Make Use of Online French Materials

When trying to learn a new language, a speedy Internet connection allows you to take advantage of a plethora of free French resources. 

You can improve your listening comprehension by watching native French speakers on Youtube (with English subtitles if you choose) that can help you understand various language concepts.

Or live stream a news broadcast during the day or night-time!

With Streema, you can browse several French TV stations and watch anything from sports to international news. 

French learners can also grow their vocabulary from podcasts specialised from a basic all the way to an intermediate level. 

A word of warning: Be selective with your materials! They may be accurate, but it is important to be mindful of their origin.

French of course is designated as the official language of multiple countries outside L'Hexagone.

Canadian French is unlike the French spoken in Belgium for example, which also has slight variations to Parisian French

The regional variations in francophone countries is such that if you learnt French in Montréal or New Brunswick, there is a chance those speaking French in Switzerland will have trouble understanding you!

Therefore it is advised that you listen to what is known as "metropolitan" or standard French. This is spoken throughout the country from Paris to Bordeaux, and can be adapted worldwide.

If you're studying for an official French language exam, ensure you are concentrating on Metropolitan French!

Let's not forget about practicing how to speak French! 

Tandem is an online language exchange community that can be used to help you connect and converse with all types of native speakers via text messaging, audio or video chatting. There may be students who speak Spanish for instance or want to learn Italian.

Another useful platform is Conversation Exchange, a site that allows you to match up with people wanting to practice other languages. You could connect with someone keen to enhance their English speaking for example, who in turn can help you improve your French.

Brush up on those speaking skills if you're preparing for the DELF!

Wouldn't it be ideal if French lessons contained a croissant eating component?
If only you could prove your level of French through devouring delicious pastries! Source: Pixabay Credit: PDP

How to Officially Test Your French Skills

Whichever the reason you are studying French, you might dream of working and studying overseas or perhaps it is for a professional advantage - you will need to prove you are able to speak and understand the language.

The way in which this is done is through an official exam administered by the Ministry of National Education in France that measures and categorises your ability.

This series of tests are much like other European language exam structures.

Beginning at A1, this level corresponds to basic capabilities in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

C2 is the highest level where the speaker is considered fluent or bilingual and is expected to be fully capable in conversation or interpreting any documents.

The DELF also includes a Pro exam geared towards business professionals. 

Students at all levels are assessed on all four of the aspects of language learning: reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension, no matter which DELF exam is taken.

It is worth knowing, the exams do not include individual sections on French vocabulary, grammar or verb tenses. 

Rather, these are tested within your use of the language. 

A sigh of relief - If you are preparing for the DELF, don't expect any questions on conjugation!

What the examiners are looking for at all levels is actually fluency.

The DELF is scored through either a pass or a fail proposition.

If you meet the minimum criterion for a particular grade, your French skills will be considered as having reached that level. 

Whilst the DELF follows a progressive structure, you are not required to sit each test one by one. Students are able to select the exam which matches their French level. 

What if you want to test yourself before formally assessing your abilities?

Search online for free self-assessmentyou can firstly estimate your skills before taking the quiz.

There are also placement quizzes on the French DELF website that allow you to analyse your linguistic strengths and weaknesses. 

Whether you're jetting off to the south of France or about to enrol at the Sorbonne Université, if you want to live and work in France or any country where French is the mother tongue - you should absolutely learn how to speak French. 

You are now familiar on where to take French language courses; how to practice that pronunciation; the place to look for interesting broadcasts that will develop your listening skills, and what to search for in a French tutor.

You're ready! Now you've figured out where you have to go to learn, how quickly you do this is absolutely up to you!

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