French In Action, as a learning device?

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Elexi
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Elexi » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:50 pm

I agree with Carmody - the grammar goes further than the Michael Thomas courses put together and the Dover book - but it doesn't delve in much depth into the more esoteric parts of French grammar - for example, it doesn't reach the level of Hawkins and Towell's French Grammar and Usage, which is often used for Bachelors' degrees in French (at least in the UK).

Where FIA is strong is building a working knowledge of lots of colloquial chunks that one hears spoken in French all the time.

On the subject of vocabulary, according to my count FIA has +/- 8000 words of vocabulary - with +/- 2500 for the core course and the rest placed in the readings.
Last edited by Elexi on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:51 pm

The Grammar Question

This is a question that pops up repeatedly.

I searched Google and found this:
French in Action and the Grammar Question.
Ramsay, Raylene
French Review, v65 n2 p255-66 Dec 1991
Describes attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of the video-based grammar instruction course "French in Action," concluding that the material appears to be successful for intermediate learners, although caution is made about the evaluation's applicability to other populations of students. (nine references) (CB)
Descriptors: College Students, French, Grammar, Higher Education, Instructional Effectiven

for more info see:
https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ436002
You may find other sources as you search.

Remember:
1-No course is perfect or has everything. Many fault FIA for having too much.
2-Each person has their own learning style or flavor and should choose course materials accordingly.
3-Since this FIA thread is such a long one, and probably the longest for a Course on the Forum, you should be able to make a decision that is appropriate for you.
4-If it is not to your taste then just move on elsewhere.
5-I started at A1 and probably ended about A2, although I did not do all the exercises (but no one does.)
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Seneca
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Seneca » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:59 pm

Carmody wrote:The Grammar Question

This is a question that pops up repeatedly.

I searched Google and found this:
French in Action and the Grammar Question.
Ramsay, Raylene
French Review, v65 n2 p255-66 Dec 1991
Describes attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of the video-based grammar instruction course "French in Action," concluding that the material appears to be successful for intermediate learners, although caution is made about the evaluation's applicability to other populations of students. (nine references) (CB)
Descriptors: College Students, French, Grammar, Higher Education, Instructional Effectiven

for more info see:
https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ436002
You may find other sources as you search.

Remember:
1-No course is perfect or has everything. Many fault FIA for having too much.
2-Each person has their own learning style or flavor and should choose course materials accordingly.
3-Since this FIA thread is such a long one, and probably the longest for a Course on the Forum, you should be able to make a decision that is appropriate for you.
4-If it is not to your taste then just move on elsewhere.
5-I started at A1 and probably ended about A2, although I did not do all the exercises (but no one does.)

I am shocked you are an A2 and seem to feel like your time invested was worthwhile. Either others vastly overstate how advanced they are in languages, or I underestimate how "good" an A2 is.
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Stefan
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Stefan » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:00 pm

Carmody wrote:The Grammar Question

This is a question that pops up repeatedly.

I searched Google and found this

I recalled this study earlier today and was about to link it (because of the grammar discussion) before I figured that I would just be repeating myself. Anyway, here's the full text (pdf). :)
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:12 pm

Stefan

Thanks very much for the posting; it is excellent.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:19 pm

Seneca

You haven't posted a language log, that I can find, so I don't know the context you are coming from.

I spent only 8 mos. on FIA in my first wave of study. Others may spend 12-24 mos. You get out of it what you put in.

No course is a magic bullet but this was fine for me for now.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Elexi » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:37 pm

A2 after 8 months is not to be sniffed at. Looking at these DELF exam videos - I would say that completing FIA could put a student well within B1 once it has had time to sink in. Obviously, DELF students work from a syllabus - so the exam is not entirely 'blind' - the general topics of the monologue, for example, are known from the syllabus, so one has time to build up a few 'islands' for the exam.

A2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiHM1MEMgmo
B1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAVWYkw03XQ
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Carmody » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:33 pm

Elexi

Thank you very much; your kind words mean a great deal to me. It wasn't easy for me to get this far. Some achievements might seem small to others, but when I take the time to look back from where I came, A2 is not bad.

I try very hard to be totally honest in my self-assessments and logging of time on my spread sheets. Tom Gosse has set a high standard for honesty and I do try to abide by it. Last year was an 800 hour year of study for me.

My language journey to not just be about achievements with books read and courses completed- and how f a s t I travel. I am trying to keep it also enjoyable. So the joy for me is not just about the end product but the process towards that end. Hopefully there will be a Delf test at some point in my future but in the meantime I want to build towards it in my daily efforts one day at a time. For me there are lots of roses to smell along the way, and I try to take my time to do just that.

Thanks again.
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby Seneca » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:09 pm

Carmody wrote:Seneca

You haven't posted a language log, that I can find, so I don't know the context you are coming from.

I spent only 8 mos. on FIA in my first wave of study. Others may spend 12-24 mos. You get out of it what you put in.

No course is a magic bullet but this was fine for me for now.

Carmody,
I do apologize if my response seemed hurtful or negative. I definitely was just caught my surprise. I agree with the statement that A2 is nothing to sniff but.

Carmody wrote:Last year was an 800 hour year of study for me.


It was more that when I see things like this number, I refer to a reference such as the one found here. While it notes the amounts of time listed in its chart correspond to teaching hours, it surprised me that the total hours for self-study would be 5 times more than that (160 on their chart and 800 hours in your case).

Here is the chart for ease of reference:

Each DELF / DALF exam corresponds to the following hours of teaching :
DELF A1 : 60 hours from Beginner level
DELF A2 : 160 hours from Beginner level (100 hours from DELF A1)
DELF B1 : 310 hours from Beginner level (150 hours from DELF A2)
DELF B2 : 490 hours from Beginner level (180 hours from DELF B1)
DALF C1 : 690 hours from Beginner level (200 hours from DELF B2)
DALF C2 : 890 hours from Beginner level (200 hours from DALF C1)


Maybe the real takeaway is that I need to recalibrate my expectations of self-study effectiveness versus study involving a teacher or tutor.

The real key here is that you kept your motivation up, and finished a course that I think most do not make it through and feel you have not only gotten a ton out of, but have more to get going forward!
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Re: French In Action, as a learning device?

Postby iguanamon » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:45 pm

Seneca wrote:It was more that when I see things like this number, I refer to a reference such as the one found here. While it notes the amounts of time listed in its chart correspond to teaching hours, it surprised me that the total hours for self-study would be 5 times more than that (160 on their chart and 800 hours in your case). ...Maybe the real takeaway is that I need to recalibrate my expectations of self-study effectiveness versus study involving a teacher or tutor.
The real key here is that you kept your motivation up, and finished a course that I think most do not make it through and feel you have not only gotten a ton out of, but have more to get going forward!

The chart you posted took me aback, I clicked the link you provided to the private French school and I don't see this listed in units of hours, but in units of lessons. Who knows how accurate their calculations are? I tend to take such numbers, especially from an entity that is engaged in seeking profit, with a grain of salt. There is also a chart of hours for the US Foreign Service Institute. I understand the desire and need to quantify how many hours it will take to reach a level in a language, but, this is, at best, highly variable. Does it take into account only classroom instruction and not outside study or exposure to the language in native context? Who knows?

I've followed Carmody's progress with the course. Carmody's been quite thorough with it... probably much more thorough than I would have been had I been doing it had I been learning French. My approach would have been to use FIA as a supplement and to get most of my learning elsewhere from another course, but that's just me and my style. From what I have seen with FIA, I believe it would probably give a learner a good grasp of colloquial language spoken in everyday situations and a solid base of French. We are all different as learners, while I may not need so many hours of study, someone else may, or may be more of a perfectionist than I am. We have all kinds of learners here.

This notion that spending 800 hours should make a learner C2 is erroneous. Obviously, if a learner spends 800 hours in A1/A2/B1 material they won't be C2 even if they spend 8,000 hours on it. NO course in itself will lead a learner to C2. A course of action will. Sticking with a language and getting the basics down and then learning how to manipulate it in speech and/or writing, plus reading and listening will do that job.

Don't get me wrong, a course like FIA and Destinos is a good way to learn a good amount of a language, but it will not on its own do all the heavy lifting for said learner. I've seen it written that when a course is finished, that's when you can start really learning the language. Obviously, this isn't presented in course-cover hype but I have found it to be true. So to sum up, go through the course or courses and move on. Or continue to do them and not move on, just don't expect that study time necessarily equates to reaching a certain level, especially if that study time is spent in a lower level without moving on.
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