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There’s much debate about whether it’s more effective to learn a language with a native speaker or with someone who has learned another language later in life. Learning French or another language with either a native or non-native teacher has its advantages. Above all, what’s important with French classes for kids is that the teacher has a good knowledge of the language and culture as well as the teaching skills required to transmit that knowledge. Just as important is that the teaching style is adapted to each child, their age and learning preferences.

 

A native speaker is a person who learned to speak the language as a child rather than learning it later in life. Native speakers are able to innately understand the language and speak it fluently without an accent. On the other hand, non-native speakers, are people who have learned a language as a second or third tongue. One advantage of non-native teachers is that they learned the language at school themselves, so they understand the learning process from a student’s perspective. Learning a language with a native speaker however has many other benefits and is definitely recommended for those looking for a more practical and actionable result.

 

  1. Learn French as it’s Spoken in France

French is a beautiful language. But it’s also one that can be intimidating when spoken by a native. Native speakers tend to speak a little faster, using idioms, slang and phrases you will not find in a textbook. However, this is the way French is spoken in France today. If your child learns French in this way from the beginning, they will be able to understand and participate in real conversation. They will also be able to continue learning for themselves in a French-speaking environment. By learning from a French native speaker, your child receives their linguistic and cultural passport to France.

 

  1. Better Pronunciation

One of the key components to learning a language is pronunciation. According to the Canadian Center of Science and Education (CCSE), “Pronunciation must be viewed as a crucial and integral part of communication that should be incorporated into classroom activities.” Because even if your French grammar and vocabulary is textbook perfect, there’s no way you can make yourself understood in-country if your pronunciation is incorrect. However, if your child is learning from a native speaker, correct pronunciation is the only form of French they will know. They will naturally mimic the way the teacher speaks and in turn, establish correct pronunciation habits.

 

  1. Become Familiar with French Culture

As well as correct pronunciation, native-speaking French teachers grew up with and have excellent knowledge of French culture. Understanding French culture will make it a lot easier and enjoyable for your child to learn the language and spend time conversing with people in-country. For example, when your child enjoys their first French meal, they will have no trouble saying important phrases like “Est-ce que je pourrais avoir encore de la mousse au chocolat s’il vous plait” ; ) Followed of course by, “merci beaucoup, tout était delicieux!”

 

  1. French is More than Words

Learning any language requires more than just words. French, in particular, is a language full of gestures that can either confuse language learners or make it significantly easier for them to communicate. Native speakers are not only fluent in the verbal form of their language but also in gestures. By speaking to students the way people would in France, using gestures, native-speaking teachers relay this important information to students.

 

  1. Strengthen Links to France

As well as a language teacher, your instructor is your link to France. Your native-speaking teacher will be proud of their country and culture and can share a wealth of information with students. By sharing anecdotes about life in France, your native-speaking French teacher can inspire your child to learn and continue their learning for themselves. Your native-speaking teacher can also recommend resources that will help your child learn outside the classroom such as popular French children’s books, TV shows or films.

 

Teaching a child a foreign language requires much more than knowledge of the language, grammar and the right classroom materials. First of all, teachers must be enthusiastic. They should also be patient, empathetic, engaging, attentive and skilled at providing clear explanations and regular feedback. However, there’s no doubt that your child’s learning will be directly linked to the knowledge and experience of his or her teacher. And that’s why learning French from a native speaker has so many noticeable benefits. Learning the way people actually speak in France equips your child to be able to continue learning French on their own. On your next trip to France, your child will be able to ask for directions, order at a restaurant and make friends with French children. And as soon as they can do these things, their passion and desire to learn the French language will blossom.