Tom N

  • Profile:
  • American, 45 years, lives in Paris, diplomat on granted leave of absence (sept 2013 - may 2014)
    Level: A1
  • Programmes: 23 hours a week (460 hours)
  • October 2014 - may 2015 - Level achieved B1 (obtention of DELF B1)


I selected The French Lesson (TFL) after interviewing, meeting or contacting 12 different French language programs in Paris. In fact, I was nearly ready to give up and simply attend one of the larger and well-known programs in Paris. I saw a reference to TFL on the internet and contacted Elizabeth Bettencourt, the founder and Director of TFL. We discussed at length my goals and she emphasized the adapatibility of TFL to student needs and not the reverse! In particular, when she mentioned she applied the research on modern teaching methods to TFL . Coming from a stint in professional training environment, I was well acquainted with adult learning methods. Elizabeth pointed out that TFL did not develop these well-researched techniques, it was just that TFL was one of the few places that actually applied the research to their program. I found that to be absolutely true in my experience. I had none of the sometimes awful experiences when I previously studied French or Arabic. I learn best through practical application and experience. This time I learned French grammar without a lot of stress or pain and I credit the talented team of professionals at TFL for this. They love the language, and they love their students and it shows in their creative ways to encourage learning often creating instant exercises to reinforce a point or finding the perfect homework lesson to further illustrate a point. In all, TFL exceeded my expectations. For the first time I grasped French grammar in a way that I could make it stick. I am comfortable speaking French, I’m not afraid to make mistakes – my profs can attest to that – and their gentle encouragement has helped me a great deal. I would not be where I am with the language without them.