01.27.17 | Bilingualism, Blog

The Introvert’s Guide to French Immersion

Does your child appear to be more content alone than in a group setting? Would you describe your child as introverted?

One of the most common misconceptions about introversion versus extroversion is that introversion equates to “shyness”, when in fact introversion simply means that an individual is more energized when they are alone than when they are with people. An extrovert, on the other hand, gets more energy when they are surrounded by people.

Neither trait is good nor bad, and there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both. Some of the pros of being introverted are that it is conducive for independent study, solo projects and reading, but it does create a challenge when it comes to the social interaction required for effective language-learning. However, this does not mean that extroverts are better language-learners. In fact, that is a big myth! What it does mean is that forcing an introvert to learn like an extrovert is not going to be effective. Instead, it’s important to tailor the learning process to how your child learns best.

Here are our top three tools that can help your introverted child learn French effectively:

#1 Interactive Online Programs

Free programs like Duolingo or paid programs like Rosetta Stone are an effective way to practice French independently. With its advanced voice technology, language-learners are able to improve their French accent, boost vocabulary and strengthen grammar skills.

The best part is that these programs have been carefully designed to feel very much like a game, so your child will have so much fun practicing French, that it won’t ever feel like “studying”.

#2 Hire a Virtual Conversation Tutor

One of the key requirements for practicing any language is to have a conversation with a native speaker. But for introverts who aren’t naturally keen on “small talk”, this might feel especially uncomfortable when they haven’t yet mastered the language.

Instead, a virtual conversation tutor might be exactly what your child needs. Introverts might prefer the online interaction over face-to-face. And because there is a set beginning and end time to “log in” and “log off”, the awkward small talk that introverts tend to dislike can be avoided.

Where can you find a virtual conversation tutor?

As you might know, we recently launched our Skype tutoring classes. Click here for more information. Italki.com is another option; or you could even post an ad on Craigslist.

If you would like a free option, you can sign your child up for a language exchange tutor. This would be someone who wants to learn English (or any other language that your child speaks), and they would “exchange” language tutoring for free. Visit italki.com to find a language exchange tutor.

#3 Register For an Online Community

Your child can practice writing by signing up for an online forum dedicated to language-learning. Lang-8 is a free online forum where members can post in the language they are trying to learn, and native speakers can read the entries and (politely!) correct any mistakes or make suggestions to improve their work.

If your child prefers to connect with people individually instead of in a community forum setting, InterPals is an online “pen pal” service that facilitates a connection between your child and a French native-speaker. Your child can write to the native speaker in French and their pen pal will reply in English.

Now back to you…

Has French Immersion been challenging for your introverted child?

Will the tools we listed above be helpful? Which ones do you think you will encourage your child to use?

Sound off in the comments below!

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