Je manque de volonte
September 20, 2012 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for online foreign language (French) courses/classes with an instructor component.

Mefi has recommended lots of resources for learning French online, but I'm finding myself needing a kick in the pants to keep myself on track, and so looking to enroll in a online course that involves weekly/bi-weekly assignments with some repercussions if I miss them. I have French speakers I can practice with, so the speaking portion that you might lose online wouldn't be such a big deal.

I'm flexible about styles of learning, and I'm willing to pay.
posted by benbenson to Education (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
What level?
posted by Dansaman at 1:31 PM on September 20, 2012

As an autodidactic language learner, I can tell you that if you do not have the motivation to keep yourself on track, you are not going to make it very far in a language.

You are in search for "repercussions", but since you are presumably out of school, the only repercussions I can imagine for failing to study properly are (1) the fact that you are wasting money on a study program that you are not using as designed and (2) the repercussion of not improving in your language proficiency. Or, if you don't stay on track, your instructor will quit because you keep flaking.

For me, this is the big motivator: if I don't put in the time, I won't see the results. Why are you learning French? What will be the repercussions for you if you don't stay on track? If they are no worse than what an online instructor could do to you, it will be very hard for you to stay motivated.

To your question, your proficiency level would be relevant. If you are an absolute beginner, I would recommend starting with an audio course such as Pimsleur or Michel Thomas to become accustomed to phonology and certain set expressions. Then, I might recommend the free FSI course materials or the Teach Yourself/Colloquial series. None of these have the "repercussions" you seem to be seeking but as I discussed, I do not think such an animal exists.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:45 PM on September 20, 2012

Response by poster: To give some more information, I have a great motivation to learn (my SO is French), but work and other things keep me quite busy and I find myself falling out of the habit of working 30 minutes each night, as I had been doing. I understand that if I don't put in time, I won't see results.

My level of French would probably be intermediate. I have a good base vocabulary (~1000 words), but what I feel like I'm missing is the building blocks of grammar. When I studied Spanish and Italian in school, we spent a lot of time conjugating and learning different rules, and I've learned French in a very different way--by talking with my SO, by listening to movies/radio/reading articles.
posted by benbenson at 1:56 PM on September 20, 2012

I would also consider using RosettaStone. Their online course has a component where you personally interact with a teacher (in a small online group).
posted by Dansaman at 2:33 PM on September 20, 2012

Best answer: You might want to consider doing courses with a live teacher via Skype to supplement your self-taught lessons. When I moved from San Francisco, I wanted to continue my classes with The French Class. You can schedule a time that's convenient for your schedule and structure the material however you want, grammar or conversation. I was meeting twice a week, one day for grammar and one for conversation.

There's also French Today, she lives in France and offers French lessons via Skype with a focus on conversation as it's actually spoken and not how you learn it.
posted by shoesietart at 4:11 PM on September 20, 2012

...not how you learn it meaning written French versus spoken French.
posted by shoesietart at 4:12 PM on September 20, 2012

Best answer: If you're looking for repercussions, try stickK. It's a website that let's you set goals that are tied to your money or your reputation. If you don't reach your goal, the website automatically punishes you by charging a designated amount of money to your credit card. stickK sends the money to whoever you chose, but for the best results you are suppose to send the money to an organization you oppose. I read about it in Ian Ayres' book Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done.
posted by 1smartcookie at 4:14 PM on September 20, 2012

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