French 1

Hello! I am Joel, author and teacher of the Dreaming Spires living languages courses, each one of which equips students to become independent language learners and fluent speakers of French.

French 1 builds students’ knowledge of the basics of the language methodically and thoroughly and it trains students in the habits of language learning that will last a lifetime. It takes complete beginners and anyone who cannot hold a basic, unplanned conversation, whose vocabulary is <500 words or who cannot reliably use verbs in the present tense.

Right from the beginning of the first course, students will need to spend a few hours a week reading French texts, building their vocabulary, practising their language skills, using drills to improve their fluency, studying and asking questions of the language. The vast majority of students succeed at this and the results are excellent. All a student needs is the desire to learn and the discipline to do frequent practice.

The conversation session add-on for Level 1 courses involves listening activities, one-to-one conversation, group discussions, reading aloud with pronunciation feedback and word games and challenges in French. It is ideal for students who enjoy participation and conversation, and gives these students a great boost towards fluency in the spoken language.

At Dreaming Spires, we don't treat languages as school subjects to be “taken” but as real, living languages to be spoken and lived. Students are encouraged to incorporate their new language increasingly into their daily lives and to engage with authentic texts and other resources from the Francophone world.

Speaking and listening therefore feature prominently in a diverse range of learning activities but the courses do not shy away from grammar and linguistics, but instead of being rote-learning, these take a methodical and practical approach to mastering the elements of French.

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