I’ve been studying French at L’Alliance Francaise de Chicago since the July 2011. I’ve been taking a two hour class each week. The classes are grouped into 8 week sessions that build off of each other and utilize the spiral learning method – wherein you touch on a topic briefly initially (quick introduction) then get reintroduced in a more in depth fashion a few weeks later, then again and again. I end up missing one or two classes each 8 week session because of work or vacation commitments. I do the homework and I participate in class, but I’m not where I want to be in my language study. After 3.5 years of studying, I’d like to feel comfortable enough to vacation in France and basically function in French.
I can order food and drinks in restaurants. I can ask for directions (and understand the basic responses). I can read signs and menus. I can’t carry on basic back and forth with a server in a restaurant or a shopkeeper. My listening skills aren’t where I want them to be and the quickness of my mind isn’t there either.
I use Anki to study the vocabulary words from the immediate session we are studying in class — and I can memorize these terms pretty quickly. I feel I’m a bit ahead of the rest of my class in this regard — but not in many other parts.
I can listen to a dialog and read along with it and can respond pretty quickly, but without the subtitles or a script along with it, I struggle. This is not where I want to be. I don’t feel I spend enough time each week studying — I think I need to focus more.
I’ve decided for 2015 to put together an official Language Study Plan that I hope will allow me to progress to the level I feel I should be. I want to focus on all aspects of Language Study – Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. My plan is below:
- Continue to take classes at L’Alliance each term
- Flashcards – Daily
- Continue Chapter Vocab
- Learn Other Critical Words
- Read two French Language Books in 2015
- L’Etranger (I love this book by Albert Camus and know the story very well and it’s a small book). Finish by 6/30
- Any suggestions for the other book? I hear reading a children’s book is good too. Finish by 12/31
- Write a one page essay each month (and share with my French classmates to critique, and share on Tim-Foolery.com)
- February – Autobiography
- March – Winter
- April – Spring
- May – Wine
- June – Our Garden
- July – L’Etranger Book Report
- August – International Pinot Noir Celebration / Vacation
- September – Summer
- October – French Foods / Recipes
- November – Fall
- December – Christmas
- Listen to the Michel Thomas Language Lessons (for listening/speaking)
- Two 30 Minute Sessions Each Week
- Watch one French Film each month
- Watch TV5 News twice weekly
- Watch 30 minutes of non-news each week on TV5
- Travel to one French Speaking Country in 2015
This is my plan as it stands now. Do you have any recommendations or suggested ways to tweak my plan for 2015? What are your language study plans for the year? What languages are you studying now?