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Section 5

Don’t get ahead of yourself.

It’s vitally important to learn Lesson One backwards, forwards and upside down before going on to Lesson Two – and this is true of every subsequent lesson, too. If you go more than a day without studying your French at all, repeat the entire last lesson you completed to make sure you really have it locked in your memory bank, and then take a practice test to make sure.

And don’t skip a lesson, even if you think its subject matter seems irrelevant. Mastery is cumulative; it builds on the foundation of the lesson before. The surest way to suddenly find yourself at sea – and thus become frustrated with learning French – is to pick and choose what you think will be valuable from your French curriculum. Your lesson plan is structured the way it is for a reason, so learn it all.

And finally, nothing will build your motivation to learn more French better than interaction with real live French speakers.

Meet as many as you can; see them as often as you can; and when you’re with them, speak as much as you can. You’ll learn so much from them that couldn’t possibly be conveyed in a formal curriculum, and you’ll enjoy the experience, too!

Learning any new skill is a challenge, and motivating yourself to take the necessary steps toward mastery is half the battle. Set the right conditions for success, study and test yourself every day, and be willing to change aspects of your lesson plan that don’t work for you. And then relax, and let French be fun! You’ll find you’ve sailed over that motivational slump before you can say “c’est fini!

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