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What are the workshops like?

In the Language Exchange Workshops, 2-4 students (native French and English speakers) are led through a series of student-centered activities that will create mini-immersions in each language. The entire group speaks the same language at any one time, alternating languages at regular intervals.

When the group is speaking French, the activities will challenge you in all aspects of French conversation: listening comprehension, speaking, persuading others, coming to agreement, pronunciation, etc.

When the group is speaking English, you will converse with your partners in English and help them with their learning. This gives you a well-needed break from working in French. You will stay fresh, and therefore ready and able to learn.

"I like best... the chance to practice with real native speakers in an environment somewhat more structured than the 'real world'... Great atmosphere for language learning. Students are an interesting cosmopolitan mix. Teachers are great."
- student of Helene's face-to-face workshops - spring 2000.

All the time, an experienced facilitator and qualified teacher is present to ensure everyone knows what to do and to give formal language help when needed. The activities are also customized to meet the personality dynamics in each group and the language skill levels and interests of the students. So even if your partners are shy for example, you will get the same high quality practice every time!

"The topics in the workshops are thought-provoking and the participation and interaction of the group is very good! Both the Workshops and the Caf linguistique are very effective and I have not been disappointed."
- student of Helene's face-to-face workshops - spring 2000.

Your teacher and facilitator will also show you how to be an effective language exchange partner. When the group is speaking French, she will show you how to take charge of your own learning: knowing when to ask your partner to stop and repeat, for example and developing your confidence to do it. When the group is speaking English, your teacher will show you how to help your partners: when to give corrections, and what kinds of corrections to give. This means that if you ever practice on your own, you will get more from your practice sessions.

In addition to being designed to exercise all aspects of your conversation skills, the activities are fun and enjoyable. This means you will learn better because you will be relaxed and interested in the activities. Equally important, this also keeps you involved and motivated - two very important features when you consider the time and energy required to become fluent.

"J'aimais les exercices - poser des questions de l'un l'autre. Et ces sujets m'intressaient... I enjoyed the workshop, and hope to do another sometime in the future."
- Henry Eichel, student of Helene's online workshops - summer 2001

The workshops take place in an Internet live voice and text "chat room". This allows you to interact with native speakers and access Helene Cormier뭩 unique expertise no matter where you live. It also means you will enjoy the convenience of participating right from your own home or office. There is no need to fight traffic or spend time commuting.

In short, you will pull together everything you have learned in your French language classes, practice effectively with native speakers and gain the conversation skills you will need in the real world. You뭠l enjoy the benefits of fluency at last!

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- September 13, 2001  

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