“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” - Flora Lewis
There is an estimated 2.5 million French nationals who reside outside of France and many of them make a living from teaching French as a foreign language. These numbers really demonstrate that there is certainly a market for teaching French to English speakers or teaching children French in schools, colleges, and universities.
While teaching children French in schools is an an obvious way to make use of your French teaching certificate, remember that you can teach French to beginners even when they are adults. These could typically be refugees, immigrants, business people working in French-speaking countries, and teenagers who want to improve their French grades at school.
So, what does teaching French to English speakers really entail?
This article takes a look at what it takes to teach French as a foreign language, what kind of qualifications or French teaching certificate you will need as well as the difference between a language assistant and those who actually teach French.
A French Teaching Certificate: FLE
Teaching French to English speakers or other foreigners is often referred to as teaching French as a Foreign Language. Put simply, French nationals who live in French-speaking countries don’t have to learn French as a foreign language because they learn it naturally from a young age.
However, learning French as a second language is very common in many African countries like Mali, Nigeria, and the DRC. When it comes to French as a foreign language it can be taken as a second language at school, through a private French teacher, or in language schools for adults.
When you’re teaching children French, or teaching French to English speakers, you can teach it anywhere around the world where people want to learn it. Of course, there are certain constraints to teaching a language to a non-native and this is where a French teaching certificate to prove that you have accumulated the necessary tools to teach French to beginners is essential.
As a French teacher, one of the most important things you will need to learn how to do is to adapt to the varying ages and abilities of your students.
So what does it mean to teach French to beginners?
The Role of Teaching French to English Speakers
Teaching French to English speakers abroad means that you could even teach French to beginners as a private tutor. This is often a route that an English-French bilingual person who has a degree in French, but not a teaching qualification which is required by primary and secondary schools, would take.
Outside of schools, there are many places to teach French to beginners. It doesn’t really matter where you do it, it may even be via webcam through private online lessons, the primary goal for anyone teaching French to English speakers is to teach them to speak French with confidence, correct pronunciation, and enough vocabulary to hold a conversation.
The Role of a Second Language French Teacher
Teaching French to English speakers requires several different goals:
- Create a course: The French teacher has to produce courses for various age groups.
- Create shared objectives for the class while paying careful consideration to the needs of individual students.
- Teach grammar rules through written and oral exercises.
- Share aspects of the French culture with students.
- Encourage the practice of French outside of class.
What Qualities Do You Need for Teaching Children French?
When it comes to teaching children French, two of the most important requirements are the correct pedagogy and patience.
You need to have a love for teaching, an innate empathy for people, and an understanding of how to work with children.
Young learners in particular can get frustrated by a struggle to understand certain concepts. This is when your teacher training in order to gain a French teaching certificate, can truly pay off. As the teacher, your role will be to reassure and encourage learners so that they continue without losing confidence.
As a French teacher, you will need to listen to your students and understand their challenges. It’s important to be flexible and ensure that students do not fall behind especially when it comes to teaching children French.
It’s important that you are constantly trying to improve your own French language ability. In this way, when you teach French to beginners, you will have an understanding of what your students are going through.
Why not begin French lessons yourself, to get some insight into what they are going through?
How to Obtain a French Teaching Certificate
To work towards obtaining a French teaching certificate, it is recommended that you have matric first language French and then move on toward studying a French-language degree.
This of course is the traditional route to follow, however, remember that there are many paths you could take to becoming a French second language teacher. Often French classes are available in other degree or diploma courses like Communications, Public Relations, Business or Tourism. To make the most out of these lessons, you could always supplement and advance your learning through working with a private French tutor to suit your goals for becoming a French second language teacher or language assistant.
If you find that learning French and training to teach it is more exciting than your original degree, you could always change career paths and work towards a formal French teaching certificate.
When you work with a private tutor on Superprof for instance, you will have access to French teachers who are located near to you, for in-person learning, or you could opt for lessons with a French tutor from somewhere much further away, even overseas.
During your studies, you can learn about teaching children French as a foreign language and adapt your own lessons for young learners.
If you’re already overseas and want to learn how to teach French to beginners, you could always opt to do the DAEFLE course which is recognised by the Alliance Française.
The Different Types of French Tutors
There are varying ways to teach French as a foreign language. It can be taught at universities to foreign students, to immigrants relocating to a French-speaking country, or even to business executives in private companies.
There are also teachers for cultural and language centres all over the world including South Africa.
As a French teacher, one of the best ways to ensure your job security is to make sure that you have the appropriate qualifications to teach in primary and high schools, colleges, universities, and also overseas.
In terms of salaries, this will depend on several factors like where you teach, your qualification and the level of French that you will be teaching.
Who Are the Students?
Of course, since you will be teaching French as a second language, you won’t be teaching native French people. If you are teaching in France itself, you could be teaching Erasmus students, refugees, children of ex-pats, or many others. Basically anyone from 1 to 99 years old.
Teenagers and children tend to learn more quickly than adults. This is because adults can be quite set in their ways. Also, learning a new language is a complex endeavour, not unlike learning mathematics. Motivation, discipline, and perseverance are all key ingredients when learning a new language. Just go for it!
If you need extra help with any aspect of your French studies, a wise choice would be to consider the help of a private French tutor like those who are found on Superprof.
When you use Superprof, you not only have the variety of choices, but also the peace of mind in knowing that every tutor’s credentials have been verified. In addition, if you check out their profile pages, you could find reviews from past students too.
As mentioned you can opt for in-person, or face-to-face tutorials with someone located near your home, or you could try private online tutorials and even group tutorials. It all depends on you, your circumstances, and your budget.
There is no doubt that private one-on-one tutoring is the most effective way to educate yourself in any subject, but if you want to gather a small group of people together to make private tutoring more affordable, then this is a good option too.
Private, one-on-one teaching is very powerful, not only because the tutor is focused solely on you, but because it allows you the opportunity to tailor your tuition in a way that meets your specific requirements.
Private online tutorials have similar benefits except students are taught via webcam using meeting software like Zoom or Google Meet.
One of the further benefits of using Superprof tutors is that in most cases the first lesson is for free which gives you a valuable opportunity to assess whether you connect with the tutor and also whether their background and experience are aligned with your goals!