Using French speaking chat rooms with your French students is a great way to help them learn French. If you are learning French yourself, chatting online with native French speakers from around the globe can be an ideal and painless way to better your French and it's one of the ways to speak French for free.
French Speaking Chat Rooms to Visit
Just like there are plenty of places to chat online in English, there are plenty of places to chat online in French. The most important thing to consider when choosing a site is who it is that is going to be chatting. If you are a French teacher looking for a place for your students to chat safely online, the first link in the list below is the 'safest'. That being said, you'll still want to make sure to check with your school's principal about the project you are planning and send home permission slips for the parents to sign if the principal asks you to do so. French speaking chat rooms are a great way for students to learn French; however, the first order of business is making sure that the students are engaged in constructive activity while online.
- My Language Exchange: geared towards foreign language learners, this is generally a safe place to take your high school students without having to worry about who they will bump into online
- Lawless French: another great resource for learners, including grammar and pronunciation lessons linked to the chat page
- ICQ: ideal for adults wanting to speak to native French speakers. This is not an 'adult' chat room; however, it is not specifically for foreign language learners either. This is simply a place where French speakers chat.
Other people who are simply looking for a place to chat for themselves, in order to better their French or to learn French slang can visit any French chat website. If you are a teacher, go to the chat rooms yourself and see what is happening there before you give your students an assignment to use a particular chat room.
Benefits of Chatting
The benefits of visiting French-speaking chat rooms are many. They include, but are not limited to:
- Practicing your French in real time; chatting requires quick thinking, which is always good practice
- Learning French popular phrases and slang instead of the general word in the dictionary
- Experiencing French culture firsthand from French speakers
- Making contact with native speakers that one would otherwise not come into contact with
- Meeting native French speakers from many French-speaking countries and experiencing 'la Francophonie'
- Perhaps meeting a true friend that one will someday get to meet in person
All of these benefits apply to French learners of all ages. Chatting is just as beneficial for high school learners as adults, one just has to make sure that the chat room is a safe environment.
Alternatives to Chat Rooms
For teachers who are enthusiastic about the idea of their students chatting with native speakers in French, but who are reluctant to take their students to chat rooms, or who have been denied by school policy, other options exist.
Just like decades ago, you can set up a pen-pal for each of your students. Instead of students sending their pal a letter every few months, you make appointments to chat online together. In this situation, two students are in a closed chat instead of entering a chat room that anyone online can enter. This option is preferred above chat rooms by many French teachers. Teachers can set up such an exchange by posting a request online in a teachers' forum.
Another option for the digital age is to set your students up with a pen-pal that they correspond with via e-mail instead of snail mail. Traditionally, students get bored with pen-pals because the time between letters is so long; e-mail pen-pals solves this problem.
- My Language Exchange: recommended for students as well
- Europa Pages: search for a pen-pal by language/location or by general interest
Ironically enough, your students may eventually want to send their e-mail pal a 'real' letter and receive one back from a foreign country!
Whether you're an adult learning French or a teacher looking for a new way to engage your students, using the internet for various chat options can be a fun and effective way to learn and improve French skills.