It’s never too late to learn French, Alan and Liz’s stay at Francis and Isabelle’s house in Brittany
It’s a surprise arrival. Liz and Alan have made a simple observation: touring France in their splendid motor home is not enough; they can only learn French with the help of a French immersion teacher. One Google search later, S.L.Immersion appeared to them as an obvious choice. They are lucky, there is a teacher and his partner in Brittany who are there to welcome them at home to improve their French thanks to guided conversations, structured courses, and especially to share their French way of life!
They arrived at our lovely house in Pont-Scorff, Morbihan, three days later.
English, in their fifties and on sabbatical, eager to learn the language of Molière, they din’t know where to start. We have a week ahead of us and a lot of work to do. We set up classes each morning to establish the basics: conjugation of essential verbs (être, avoir, pouvoir, devoir, faire), the present tense and practical vocabulary essential to their journey (asking for information, choosing a menu in a restaurant, finding their way)… In the large classroom/ library next to their room, they are back to “school”. But not just any school. A school where they have completely personalized classes thanks to the evaluation I give them before their arrival. But also because we adapt to their desires and tastes.
The atmosphere is both educational and relaxed. Liz works on her visual memory by taking lots of notes. Alan, on the other hand, uses his ear more during the audio dialogues. Together, they form a complementary team.
During meals, it is plenty of topics for discussion. Isabelle and I talk about the richness of the different regions of France, the tourist jewels of Brittany or the differences between France and England. With Alan, a cycling enthusiast, we discuss sports, history and politics. Liz, always equipped with her notebook, asks us about typical culinary specialties, French customs and tells us about their numerous trips. With a lot of patience (and a little English), the exchanges intensify as the days go by. Both of them gained confidence. It was a pleasure to see their daily progress.
In the afternoon, during the tourist visits, I encouraged them to use each meeting as an opportunity to practice French while forgetting about possible mistakes. The important thing is to dare to communicate. And it works!
Among the best memories of this stay, I will keep two: the course practiced on the market of Hennebont to work on the lexicon of fruits and vegetables and textiles while choosing our lunch. It was their first market in France and they were delighted to be able to mingle with local life. Finally, I will not forget the quiz prepared for the last class. As they liked to be challenged and compete in a friendly way (they play Wordle daily), with Liz’s notebook. I asked them about the words and expressions listed since the beginning of the week. One point for the first one who gives the right answer. A real moment of conviviality with a few laughs and Alan who won the buzzer on the last question. Or how to mix relaxation, game and revisions.
Article written by Francis, French teacher at S.L.Immersion