I really wanted to get the most out of my French immersion stay in France, so when I heard that one student was having classes for C1+, I wanted to try the challenge too. I spoke to the reception to ask about joining, and they explained to me that as the class size is very small, there would be shorter lessons. The idea is that as you have smaller classes, you learn quicker, so you learn the same in shorter hours as you would in a normal French lesson.
I wasn’t sure about having shorter classes, but I decided to try it out anyway, so I turned up for my French courses at 10:45, giving me an unusual lie in for a Monday morning. There was only one other student, our teacher, and me, and we started off by discussing what had brought us to Montpellier, and to ILA French Language School. I noticed immediately that I was talking so much more than I had in my other classes. With such a small group, it felt so natural to contribute, as there was no fear of talking over people or getting things wrong. It was just like we were having a conversation, with our teacher often pushing us further on points we raised or chiming in to correct mistakes or help us out with vocab. We could also talk about more complex subjects too; I wasn’t worried about derailing the French course if I brought up things that were interesting to me, as we could discuss everything as a group – the aim was really to speak French as much and as in depth as possible.
As there were only two of us in the class, we could decide exactly what we wanted to work on as well. This way, we could go through specific French grammar points which we found difficult, or choose the articles that we wanted to discuss. For example, the first lesson we worked on an article all about fake news, which provoked some really interesting discussions, and then looked at when to use different past tenses, using the article as an example. It was almost like having a French private lesson, as it was catered towards exactly what we wanted to work on and I was able to participate as much as I wanted without taking up too much space in the class. By the time the lesson finished, my brain felt a bit like it was hurting, but in a good way. Although the class was shorter, it felt a lot more intense and I learnt a lot.
I then had time the rest of the day to go over what we had learnt in a little café, and do my homework for the next day. As it was a class with a difficult level, it was definitely a good thing that I had more time to study independently and consolidate everything. I also found some really helpful exercises under the self-study section of my ILA student access, so the next day in my class, I felt completely at ease with what we had covered the day before.
So, my experience with smaller, shorter French lessons has been really positive; I’ve found that it really suits the way that I learn best, and allows me to work more independently but have lots of support with what I need!