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French Classes for Beginners in New York, New York
Director François Thibaut is a self-taught language researcher and educator who has developed successful French language teaching methods for children and adults. In 2019, he was honored with the Chevalier de l’ Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms) for his contribution to French language and culture.
Contact us below with any questions or to request more information:
1. Why should I choose the French Language Salon?
There’s a strong feeling of community in every classroom at the French Language Salon. It’s a privilege that comes from a small school with a small staff. Every teacher knows each student individually. Students get one-on-one attention, and teachers can accommodate the various learning styles in each of their classes because they get to know their students well.
At the French Language Salon, classes meet in small groups, not large auditoriums, so every meeting feels personal. The classroom is a place to not only learn a new language, but a place to build community and friendships.
Our director, Mr. Thibaut is a very visible part of the school. He not only creates the lesson plans and trains teachers in the Thibaut technique, but also teaches many of the classes himself! Every so often, Mr. Thibaut will host a themed party for students to celebrate and practice their language skills together.
Aside from the great sense of bonding and community, the French Language Salon uses the proprietary Thibaut Technique, a method that combines visual memory and emotions to engage students and give them an intuitive sense for how to have meaningful conversations in French.
2. There are so many methods of learning a second language. What makes your method different?
After working with children and adults for more than 40 years, and observing the similarities and differences between how children and adults learn a second language, Mr. Thibaut developed a specific method that appeals to different types of learners. Our method (known as the “Thibaut technique”) is unique for many reasons. Rather than memorize long lists of grammar rules and vocabulary, the Thibaut technique uses a combination of integrated grammar, conversation, and visual aids. Each lesson, written by director Francois Thibaut himself, focuses on the strong connection between emotion and memory. Just as we remember things most clearly when there is an emotion attached to it, the visual aids send emotions to the brain, making learning a foreign language fun and easy.
Many of the visuals contained in his multi-award winning Mr. Toto curriculum were adapted to adults and tested on numerous students.
The lessons at the French Language Salon are also focused on “you.” There are no textbooks with imaginary characters like Madame Durant asking you to explain what she is doing! The best way to learn language is by owning each conversation and partaking in it yourself, with “you” as the central character. That is why we build our lessons around realistic situations involving you and real people.
Our classes are different because they rely on practical vocabulary and everyday conversation. We avoid teaching vocabulary words you are unlikely to ever use. Instead, we focus on everything you need to know in order to have effective and meaningful conversations with native speakers.
Lastly, there’s no pressure at the French Language Salon– no tests, no hours of studying long charts. Our goal is to ensure you leave each session with a grasp of fundamentals that help you think in your chosen language naturally. Our job is to make the language intuitive for you, instead of a memory game.
3. Do you use immersion in your classes?
We have found that 100% immersion works well with children and adults who take a foreign language class every day. For beginners taking class once a week, it is more realistic to apply what we call the rule of “nearly all in French.” Very minimal English is used in the first few classes. Throughout the course, we will gradually use less and less English so that by your tenth class, we are speaking nearly entirely in French.
The use of English allows beginners to feel comfortable and gain a stronger understanding of their own abilities. Over time, students stop using English all on their own. They find that they no longer need it to take part in conversations and class sessions.
4. How do you compare your teachers to other teachers in other schools?
All teachers at the French Language Salon are native speakers, and trained in the Thibaut technique. Our director Francois Thibaut is a native French speaker with over 40 years of experience teaching French to children and adults. His methods have been well documented in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and New York Post, among others. He currently writes the lessons for and takes part in all French classes himself.
We are so confident you’ll have a great experience that we offer a guarantee. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your 10 week (beginner) session, you can repeat the course with absolutely zero charge.
5. How long will it take me to learn a language?
Results differ for everyone, but it is common that after 10 weeks (20 hours) you will be able to have a basic conversation. After 40 hours, you will feel comfortable speaking in the past, and future tense, and after 60 hours you will be able to speak in all three tenses, and express your opinion about a wide range of topics. We give you the best materials and lessons you need to learn quickly, and our professors are always willing to meet with you to discuss your progress!
6. How do I know what level or class is best for me?
We offer beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes for people of every skill level. You can learn more by viewing the “Our Classes” in our navigation menu .
If you feel unsure what level you belong in, our teacher and director Francois Thibaut will be happy to speak with you on the phone to help determine the class that is best for you.
7. How long are classes, and how often do classes meet?
Each class session runs for two hours. Classes usually meet once per week. During select sessions, we will offer intensive classes, which meet two or more days a week.
We offer a range of day or evening hours to fit your schedule. You can view the class schedule for your selected language on it’s page or call us at 212.628.2700 if you have any questions about scheduling.
8. I work long hours – is there a later class I can attend in the evening?
Our classes generally start at 6:30 pm that meets each evening and lasts until 8:30 pm. Private lessons can be tailored to fit your schedule.
9. How many weeks is a course?
The full session is available for ten weeks. We also have private lessons available that you can schedule at your own convenience for as long as you like!
10. Are there tests? Homework?
We have a no-test policy at French Language Salon. This takes the pressure off – learning a new language should be fun! We do assign homework as a way to reinforce the lessons you learn and help you practice between classes. The homework we give consists mostly of listening to materials covered in class. Many students have reported that they do this easily on a subway ride on their way to work, or on the treadmill at the gym. In other words, it’s all very manageable.
11. How many people are in one class? And what is the age range?
Our classes meet in small groups that range anywhere from 8 people to 14. Adult classes range in age from 18 years and up. Many adults who enroll in the classes really enjoy the diversity and range of people and ages in their classes. That’s one of the beauties of New York City – the opportunity to meet with new, interesting people, and make friends with people you may never have otherwise met!
12. Will I need to purchase expensive materials?
No. For those enrolled in the full 10 week session, your booklet and CD comes absolutely free of charge!
13. Is the curriculum aligned according to levels?
Indeed it is! As a beginner, you can expect to learn the fundamentals of conversation, build vocabulary, acquire basic grammar, and work on native pronunciation, as well as practical scenarios like how to order and pay the bill in a restaurant. As an intermediate, you will cover common business and social situations and how to speak in the past and future tense.
14. What if I decide I don’t like the class?
We are so convinced of your success in the course that we offer you a guarantee. If for any reason you finish a beginner level class, and feel dissatisfied, you can repeat the course for absolutely no cost.
15. What are the goals and expectations for each of your class levels?
Great question! After 20 hours, our expectations are that a student can have a meaningful conversation – not just repeating phrases – in French. After 40 hours, our goal is that students feel confident speaking in the past and future tenses, and are able to engage in conversation the way a native speaker would. After 60 hours, the goal is for a student to speak confidently at all levels using all tenses.
Aside from being able to have meaningful conversation, students gain an in-depth understanding of the culture. They discuss topics around food, social situations, culture and general facts about society. This helps students leave their course capable of holding conversations with native speakers about many topics. They also have a healthy enthusiasm for all the culture has to offer. While there are no “grades,” a successful graduate should also leave a French course with the fundamentals necessary to take on the skills and vocabulary at the next level.
16. Why learn a foreign language?
There are many reasons to learn another language. Bilingualism makes you more competitive in the workplace, gives you an opportunity to travel far and wide, and makes it possible to communicate in different situations.
Clearly, there are many opportunities to use French to communicate with many other people in the world, including those in your community. Speaking a foreign language helps you get to know the culture, too, since language and culture go hand in hand.
Language is innate to all of us. We don’t often think about what we say and why we say it. Learning another language gives you new skills and abilities, and can also help you understand your own language better.
17. What is the best way to learn a foreign language?
The classes at the French Language Salon are built around the concept of combining real communication and context/scenario-based conversation. By using practical conversation, the language is learned in such a way that it becomes intuitive. This technique sets students up to become fluent, but also, students who learn in this way are more likely to continue their language studies and feel excited about learning.
18. How do I register?
You can sign up for a group class online by clicking the enroll link on the schedules & tuition page. If you would like to start private lessons, please call us at 212.628.2700 to schedule the class with us.
19. What is your makeup policy?
We recommend that you attend all of the classes in your session for maximum progress. In the event of an absence, the student will be invited to participate in another class. If the class is full, the student may observe his/her make-up class. We do our best to provide make-up classes at the same level, but this cannot be guaranteed.