Talking. A lot of fun talking. Your teacher makes notes while we talk and keeps track of what you do well and where your errors are: pronunciation, vocab, sentence structure...
In modern language teaching, the student is the class. Everything is centered on the student.
Speaking is important because it trains the ability to process the message you receive (turning sound into information) but also enables you to turn your own ideas into messages and see how a native speaker understands them.
In our classes, we don't follow a syllabus in which we speak of situations such as "how to order food in the restaurant" or "how to feed a duck at the park in French" because it is too specific.
Our priority is always to give you the tools so that you may make up your own sentences. We tell you how the language works and provide you with sufficient practice.
Once you have your login, you can use our website that functions as a video dictionary and is structured to make it convenient to find answers. We use it for extra practice after class but also for more in-depth explanations.
Anything that can be turned into an exercise is made into a PDF and video. Students can do the exercises on the PDF sheet, then correct themselves by reading and by listening to the answers on video.
You ask: "I wonder how that works in French?" We provide the answer. At no extra cost.
At last count (28 Feb 2023), there are 705 pages of condensed PDF learning material and 23 hours of video. This is enough to keep a learner busy for months, due to the number of exercises contained herein and the time necessary to process these notions.
We offer friendly one-on-one French classes. Nothing quite new here.
The major difference is the bilingual angle. Compared to a "traditional" French teacher, we'll be several steps ahead when it comes to assessing you as a student.
It is important to be aware that each language comes with its set of rules ranging to how we use intonation to how we choose our words according to context. It's something we've internalized on a subconscious level.
When we approach a new language, our brain will use our mother tongue as a point of reference. This is why we have an "accent" - which is the most noticeable influence.
Booking lessons with us comes down to choosing between a teacher who knows why you do what you do (when you speak French) and one who doesn't.
For example, our French lessons to speakers of Japanese or Italian would be a lot less good. Why because we don't know these languages and have no understanding of how they use verbs, tenses, articles, intonation or anything else.
Did you know that French doesn't distinguish between "shadow" and "shade" ? And did you know that there is only one word for "mind" and "spirit" ?
Those are just two easy examples. Imagine the level of misunderstandings trying to teach a language to speakers of Japanese or Italian?
As we mention above, every person approaches a foreign language through the spectrum of their own language. For this reason, lessons that don't take this into account are less effective. By pointing out the differences with English, we offer a more comprehensible base for learning.
We are true native speakers of both English and French and have the ability to bridge both worlds together. There is a "typical" way that a native speakers of English will approach and process French. We wish to work with this and turn it into a strength.
Our resources were made by an experienced teacher and a holder of a Master's degree in Linguistics. Years of French coaching have gone into each of our exercises.
2010-2014 Bachelor's degree in Modern Literature
2015-2016 Masters in Literature and Linguistics
2017-2018 High school teaching diploma (QTS/PGCE)
2018-2019 TEFL Certificate
2019-2020 Advanced TEFL Certificate for Online Teaching
2019-2020 TEFL Certificate in Business English
2019-2020 Certificate in Digital Marketing
Our students come from all walks of life. We've had the pleasure of working with expats who now live in Europe, children who take French in school, a college professor, a professional soldier, a sound engineer who had to supervise the radio frequencies between F1 cars in France, a lead violinist who had to know French to work with an orchestra, salespeople, francophiles in snowy mountain towns in the Midwest, and many, many others...
Our lessons have met with success in learners as young as 8 years up to retirees. Our ability to present the facts in a clear manner appeals to students of all ages and doesn't seem to go out of fashion. (at least not yet!)
Essentially, they are people just like yourself who wished to learn with a teacher they could trust and a guaranteed outcome of quality.
Where to start? My wife thinks I speak too much about languages, which might be an indicator of how much it weasels its way back into our conversations. It seems I'm always picking up on variations in tone or choices of words and analyzing why people say what they do. Whether at a supermarket or in a film, my ear is ever alert to the way we use language.
I founded OuiCommunicate for two essential reasons: firstly, it seemed I was in a sense predestined to do so, having grown up in a bilingual family in which French and English were spoken fluently since childhood. Also, our family grew up in an area in which a third language was spoken: Dutch. Multilingualism was our everyday reality.
The second reason is that I view languages as my gift to the world, in an almost spiritual way. It's the medium through which I can enable people to reach their higher potential. Truth be told, French lessons are almost an excuse: I get hyped to see learners break through mental barriers and achieve new heights they didn't think were possible. In another life I'd be a fitness coach or a motivational speaker: I am a believer in the abilities of everyone to achieve greatness, however we define it.
Can you learn French at age 10, 40 or 60? Sure you can! Why not 80? Not only that, but if you dedicate 2 years of continued learning to that one language, you can pick up another language after that, and another. In 6 years' time you might have learned 3 new languages.
Believe me, its all about unlocking the abilities that lie within your brain. The number one cause for not achieving the skill of knowing French is feeling overwhelmed by a worksheet and thinking: Oh my, what's all these "verbs" and things ! I could never do that ! In my classes, there is no negative talking allowed because I know that each student is as able as the next.
Do I think I have it all figured out ? Certainly not, but there I was at age 34 going back to college (uni for some) to do a Masters in German literature and Linguistics. People thought I was insane. German??? I had left education behind for 15 years and armed with my high school diploma and no method, I was getting ready to face a "swim or sink" high-level academic education system.
At the end of my first year of Bachelors I was failing, precisely because of German. (It had been hard enough trying to teach myself how to study again.) I went to see my teacher Mrs Obst who told me "Chris, you just have no talent for languages. You could always buy German For Dummies and see if that helps you for your resit exam."
I swear on my Honour that she did say that. I didn't see the irony in German for Dummies and actually went and bought the book... Then, still desperate I went to see our secretary, a retired lady by the name of Mrs Haberfeld who told me these solemn words: "A language is studied in a grammar" and handed me a dusty old book on German Grammar. (You know, with the gothic font and no pictures inside.)
I studied that thing for the 2 months I had before my resit in German. In the end, I passed the exam with a score of 70% and earned myself a Distinction for my first year back in college after 15 years.
The moral of this story is that if I can achieve this, I know that anyone can. Age is just a number and the self-imposed limitations we place on ourselves are there to be broken down.
As I mentioned, French is just the medium. Booking lessons with OuiCommunicate will not only bring you a new skill for life but will enable you to use this accomplishment for new challenges. Your success will be my success, and believe me it will make me "jump-about-happy" when you do well.
My wife will have to grin and bear it, because she's going to hear all about it !
At the top of my Skype account there is a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says:
'In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.'
This quote essentially says that I approach every lesson with the certainty that the student will teach me something also. Lessons are always an exchange and not a unidirectional transfer of knowledge.
Students teach me through their life experience, but also as learners. Each class teaches me something about my job, about languages, about humans and about the student's views on the world.
Hey, did you think I'd be getting nothing out of this? : )
Send us a message or call us. We will be happy to provide you with a guided tour of the website and see how our French lessons can best meet your needs.
Whatsapp, Zoom or Skype video calls are available also.
30 North Gould Street, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801, United States
Hi! I'm Chris, a university-qualified linguist and teacher of French, German and English.
OuiCommunicate comes as an answer to a simple question: "What would I want as a learner of languages?"
Through this platform, I want to offer the speaker of English the most relatable way to learn French online.
If you're after a solution to make French clearer than ever before, this is the place for you!