By: Slim Essid
Learning a language by yourself is definitely possible, especially nowadays where technology allows access to anything and everything. Of course, the challenge would be to build your plan and program to give structure and organization to your learning process. This is where a tutor comes in handy. However, the information is there, accessible like never before. If you want to learn and improve in anything, all you have to do is search it on the internet!
One resource that I usually use with my students is YouTube. The number of channels that specialize in learning language is incredible and each has its own style of presenting the information. So, you can definitely find a channel that works for you (check out our other blog entitled “Work less, learn more” to figure what kind of learner you are!).
Usually, we can divide these channels into two categories: ones that deal with the grammatical rules and vocabulary, and others that present short stories with subtitles. Both have their pros and cons, but they share a similar benefit. In fact, it has been proven that visual learning is much more effective than any other method (check out our other blog already!). So, let's jump right into it and see the best 5 channels to follow on YouTube if you want to improve your French skills (some of these also have playlists related to English and other languages):
This channel is perfect for complete beginners that would like to learn the basics in French. Everything is covered, from an extended list of vocabulary, organized in categories, to the conjugation. With static images, it’s like opening an interactive book. The advantages of this channel:
With its wide range of subjects covered, it is perfect for both kids and adults! You get to learn all types of vocabulary, like the ones related to French health, which could be very useful before a trip to France, for example.
The lessons are presented in a very clear and simple manner which makes them easy to understand.
The only con would be that it’s not as visually stimulating as the other channels. Visual stimulation has been shown to boost learning as it keeps the reader/watcher engaged and thus, the connections between words and concepts are easily made.
Learn French with Alexa
In this channel, lessons are divided into grammar, vocabulary, and commonly used French sentences. The teacher, Alexa, is perfectly bilingual which makes it easier for English speaking folks to transition into French. Having her speak directly facing the audience makes it interactive and her charming personality is definitely a plus!
However, there isn’t a great deal of visual stimulus. So apart from her writing and talking (occasionally with the use of different objects to illustrate her points), it can get repetitive.
Learn French with Frenchpod101.com
This channel offers a large diversity of content. You can find the usual grammar lessons, but also many videos that give you tips or insights on how to perfect your French. Also, the person speaking changes, so keeping you interested is certainly not an issue with this kind of content.
The only con is that it can get quite confusing if you are trying to learn French with all of these different kinds of videos. The best thing to do is to go to the playlist tab and click on what you are looking for.
As the name indicates, this channel is about different creative stories narrated in simple French with an easy to watch the animation. It is like watching a virtual book for kids. The presence of subtitles allows the audience to pay attention to how words are written and so you can be sure your child is working on their listening, comprehension, and spelling skills.
This channel is great to get familiar with the language but lacks the structure and organization of a course. The other disadvantage is that it’s hard for an adult to take the videos seriously, so this content is specially tailored for kids.
Kids Planet Français
The French version (because there is an English version of this) is very appreciated by kids because it is a retelling of famous fairy tales, with a simple and colorful animation that stimulates the brain and makes it more receptive to the language.
The main difference with Bookbox French is the simplistic style of animation and the stories.
As you can see, both types of channels allow you to work on theory (grammar, vocabulary) and practice (comprehension, spelling, pronunciation), which is why they are best used together!