Your own personalized language course
Here you can study the language at your own speed, following your own needs and interests. An individual language course gives you the chance to ask all those questions you hesitated to ask within a group and to diagnose and deal with any particular points of difficulty. The concentrated input possible in a period set aside for study, free from the distractions of everyday life at home, offers you the opportunity to improve your command of the language by leaps and bounds and to speak with greater confidence. It is the chance to make a breakthrough.
The grammatical structure of the language is important, but stories, songs, films and language games all play their part. And when you look out of your window or step outside the door, you find yourself in a French village in a valley of the Languedoc, in a landscape of great beauty, steeped in history.
A typical week's course would include three hours of study per day, Monday to Friday, 9 O'clock to 12.30 (including 30 minutes tea/coffee break). The afternoons would be free for exploring the area, or relaxing, unless you chose an intensive course of five hours study per day. Preparation work, or the viewing of a dvd, might fill the evening, if much of the evening remained to be filled : there are three restaurants worth patronising within the village, and others fifteen minutes away in the next valley.
The difficulty with learning French in France from a native speaker often lies in the fact that all the explanations are given to you in incomprehensible French. You may be left floundering , having gained the impression that the whole business is impossibly difficult, and that you yourself are amazingly stupid.
It isn't, and you aren't!
Having had that experience myself, I believe that all explanations should be given, wherever possible, in the learner's own language, at least until they reach intermediate level, and can then follow what is being said to them.
Even in Britain, real beginners in French often find themselves in groups where the majority have already studied the language, though some time previously, and are now revising and remembering rather than learning from scratch. The majority may need to go through the basics swiftly, since for them everything falls neatly into place, whereas the true beginner needs to take their time and repeat and repeat until the new material and the new techniques gradually sink in and become part of their minds.
Everybody needs to start from where they are.
Everybody needs to progress as slowly or as fast as suits them best.
Your own private language course may be the ideal way to gain the confidence you need to enable you to profit from a group class later.
Intermediate and Advanced Learners
Your own private language course is the opportunity to deepen your knowledge, follow up a particular interest, and do so in the context of life in France.
If you have moved to France, or are about to do so, or if you enjoy holidays in France, you will find your life transformed by a working knowledge of the language. You don't need lessons (though they help) in order to pick up phrases to enable you to get by in shops, garages and so on. But if you want to make friends with your neighbours, understand the bank manager or the secretary at the mairie, you need to learn the structure of the language, both in order to understand what is said to you, and in order to be able to construct your own sentences and be understood; for that, you do need lessons.
This is not a bar to language learning. The ideal age to learn a language is between birth and seven years old. Most of us had already missed that particular bus when we first began to study a foreign language. Obviously, other things being equal, the younger you are, the easier it is to absorb new words and phrases, but older people can learn too, so long they accept the need to repeat and revise several times something that, when younger, they might have absorbed at first reading.
People in their nineties gain Open University degrees. The more you use your brain, the more efficient it will become !
Special interest courses
A course can be angled to concentrate on a particular theme. I propose the following topics which reflect my own interests and reading :
1 - La Vie Rurale en France. Life on the land and in the village. If you have enjoyed "Lark Rise to Candleford", you will enjoy this.
2 - La France sous l'Occupation, 1940 - 1945 : la résistance, les Juifs.
3 - Poètes et Chanteurs: Les grandes Voix du Vingtième Siècle : Sablon, Piaf, Vian, Brassens, Ferrat, et beaucoup d'autres.
4 - Les Cathares : leurs croyances, leur histoire.
If you let me know beforehand of a particular author or topic you wish to explore, your course could be designed to include this.