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Do "Home Study" Conversational French Courses Work as Well as Taking French Classes?

Mar 1, 2008
There are many conversational French courses available, and the newest breed of these is available online so the student can begin learning French immediately. But the question is, are "home study" French courses as effective as taking an adult education or other classroom-based French course? Let's take a look.

Traditionally, conversational French courses were available either from a private tutor or by taking night classes. While having a private tutor can be an effective way to learn French, how beneficial it is to you personally will depend on the experience and skill of the tutor you select; so it can be a "hit and miss" affair.

Hiring a private French tutor can also be quite expensive, and you will normally need to work around the schedule of the tutor when setting up lessons. The high cost and inconvenience of finding and hiring a suitable French tutor makes night courses in conversational French seem like an attractive alternative. But again, there can be down sides to this option as well.

The biggest problem in signing up for conversational French courses at a night school or adult education center is that, for most working adults, it can be difficult to make time for the classes in your schedule. Adults with families, jobs and community commitments may not have the possibility of attending every class, making it easy to fall behind in your French studies.

Besides the scheduling problems, night school French courses normally have fees as well, so it is really important to make every class and get your money's worth out of the experience.

For many working adults, using "home study" conversational French courses is a better option. These courses work around your schedule, so you can study lessons when it's convenient to you. As most modern conversational French courses use a combination of audio and written text resources, it is also possible to listen and study where ever you are. For example, many people listen to their French lessons while jogging, or during their daily commute. This makes it possible to get something valuable out of time that would normally be wasted stressing about traffic and trying to make it to work on time.

The cost of home study French courses varies, but in general they are a good value compared with the expense of taking classes, and a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the cost of hiring a private French tutor to come to your home.

So it's clear that conversational French courses allow greater flexibility for a very reasonable price, but are they as effective as taking night classes? The short answer is, yes and no. Everyone is unique, and we all learn and a slightly different way. Because of this, some people will probably learn better in a classroom environment.

But other people will learn just as well -- or even better -- when allowed to study at their own pace using guided audio examples, such as those found in most modern conversational French courses. At the end of the day, only you can tell which study method is right for you. But for most people, home study conversational French courses make a lot of sense, and provide an easy way to become proficient in conversational French quickly.
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