Do you ever find it frustrating during your French language course in France when you are having a conversation and a topic you’ve already covered arises and yet you can’t remember what is involved at all? A lot of us have those topics which take us a bit of time to construct before blurting out something in a slow and unconfident way but occasionally we have those things that we can’t even do that for. Now the teachers at ILA, my French Immersion School in Montpellier are brilliant at revisiting topics in a systematic way so if you do the work they assign you and maybe have a look over your notes at the weekends this should naturally take care of itself. However if you maybe want to catch up because you haven’t been doing that or you just want to get ahead and make the absolute most of your French immersion course in France then here is a little insight into how our memory works.
How Will Spaced Repetition Help You During Your Language Stay in France?
If you can get into the rhythm of this easy learning technique it will enable you to excel in your French immersion course by helping things stay in your mind for longer, reducing the amount of work you need to do in the long run, stop chasing your tail and make measurable progress and stopping regression.
How Your Memory Works When Learning the French Language in France
Unfortunately the cruel fact of the matter is this; as soon as you learn French you start to forget it. Even crueller is that you are forgetting it at quite a fast rate. If you imagine a graph which plots time against the ability to retrieve French language topics you have learnt then it is a rather steep curve. So what does this mean for your progress in French immersion? Are you going to have to constantly revise an ever growing number of topics to stay on top of it all? That doesn’t seem possible. That is where ‘spaced repetition’ comes in.
How ‘Spaced Repetition’ Can Make You the Best French Student
The relieving thing is that when you revise a concept of the French language your curve gets bumped back up to the top where it started from just after initially learning the subject. This time however the gradient isn’t as steep. The information does still lose its clarity in your mind but slower than before. What is really great is this happens each time you revisit a French topic. You revise it the first time after a day and then 6 days later you still remember it. This goes on until finally it plateaus and you can go years without recalling the information but it is still there in your mind just waiting to be called out the opportune moment.
Apparently the way to make the most of this technique for your French immersion course in France is to revise the subject just as you’re about to forget it because your brain has to work harder to retrieve that information. So if for example we learn the ‘subjunctive’ concept on day 1 we will want to wait until that starts to slip from our mind, perhaps 2 days later so we’re on day 3. Now after we have revised it this time we won’t forget it until a bit further down the line let’s say day 7, the information is even more embedded now so same process again; maybe we revise it on day 14. So here we are 2 weeks later and we have only reviewed the topic 3 times, that doesn’t sound like a crazy work load does it?
It’s Not Just Me Recommending This To French Students
If you don’t believe me I suggest you go online and have a little research; this is a pioneering technique that is going big. So many language learning programs are now using algorithms to detect how long it takes for you to start to forget a concept so it can spring it on you at precisely the right moment. There are heaps of youtube videos on the subject too so go take a look but unfortunately there isn’t a set formula as we all forget stuff at different rates
This technique has huge potential to help your short and long term progress at learning the French language. When this technique is utilised in combination with a French immersion course in France like at my ILA French school in Montpellier it is put into hyper drive as you are constantly revisiting everything and if you are staying with a French host family you will be moving at light speed. To learn French in France can be a lot of fun if you do it the right way!