Another one of the great free excursions that the ILA French Language School runs throughout the year. This 30 minute lesson is run after all the French immersion courses have finished for the day so doesn’t clash with anything and hardly takes any time at all. It will however have a lasting impact on your time learning French in France.
So after our French lessons were done for the day we met in the library at the ILA French Immersion School. It was a small group of about 6 students two of which are in my business French course and and a few others who are doing the DELF preparation. It was being hosted by David who is one of the most experienced teachers at the ILA French Immersion School. I was with Lena who has been one of my closest friends while I have been here learning French in Montpellier. She is from a small village in eastern Switzerland. She was originally in my standard course and my business French lessons at B1 but she moved up to B2 after a couple weeks. We have a little ritual of going for lunch by the fountain in the ‘place de la comedie’ and only talking in French which is always fun. She is doing her DELF preparation so is keen for anyway to improve her study skills so she can smash the exam in a fortnight. I am here for a longer period and I’m at a pretty good level with my writing but my oral comprehension is terrible. So I want to put in a bit of extra work at home at get on the level.
Brilliant Websites to Give Your French Studies a Boost
Like I said we were in the library and we all started by looking at the table of resources that you can find in the ILA French Immersion School handbook that you will have been given on your first day. It is divided into grades from A1 to C1 so you can use it no matter what level you’re at. The table lists the type of work you might want to do e.g Written comprehension, speaking etc. and then lists several websites for each one that will particularly help develop that skill. This list is absolutely amazing and even if you don’t come to the self-learning lesson you should use this resource all the time.
David started off by taking us on a guided tour of the TV5 Monde website. This is a very advanced site which is easy to use and looks very up to date too.
In general it is a website showcasing both French and international news as well as culture, sport and all sorts of fun things but they have a very good section for French learners. It is also divided into grades. It has exercises on current news topics and cultural phenomena which I love as you are learning French whilst also learning about other things at the same time. For example the topic that David demonstrated was on west Africa and a debate about immigration from this region to France. A very interesting topic on the language connection and whether France had a responsibility as the former colonial power in these countries. It didn’t even feel like we were working on our French skills as I was just interested in the topic but I learnt loads of new vocabulary and got familiar with the sound of some new parts of the language.
After that David showed us ‘lepointdufle.net’ which was more of a practical website. Not quite as exciting as TV5 but still useful. It focused more on the theory of things so was better at helping us with the understanding behind concepts in the French language.
After that we Moved on to arte7 which was more similar to TV5 with a very dynamic looking homepage. The site was divided into subjects rather than grades so you could learn French whilst delving into history, science or whatever you’re into. They had more videos here with subtitles in most languages which is another great asset. The video we looked at was about Finland celebrating it’s 100th birthday which was interesting.
We went through a couple more sites like filmfra.com which houses loads of French movies available for free with subtitles and RFI which was more of a radio site.
All of the resources had their own unique style and I think all of them will help me whilst I’m here learning French in France. Like I said all of the resources are available in the booklet but I still recommend coming to the self-learning lesson at the ILA French Immersion School in Montpellier as it gives you a good intro into all of the sites so you can decide which will fit your style better. Anyway it’s free and is run right at the French language school so give it a go.