This is a public service announcement to all those lazy French language students out there:
DO YOUR OWN WORK.
Usually I write articles meant to inspire, but today I’m going to change up the tone.
You will not succeed at French if you think you can copy paste your thoughts into Google translate and submit them as your own work. Worse, if you think you can jump onto an online forum and have (French) people DO you homework for you.
It sounds like common sense, yet there’s always that person in French class who brags about pulling off a decent grade by taking “the easy way“.
So, let’s look at some acceptable ways to receive help for assignments and the benefits of doing your own work in French class.
Ways to obtain help with your French assignments:
LAZY WAY: entering streams of text into Google Translate and copying that information, verbatim, into your word processor as your own work.
ALTERNATIVE: attempt to create your own sentences and use WordReference or any other type of dictionary to find words and expressions you don’t know. If every sentence turns out to be complex or tedious then reduce the complexity of your phrases back down to your own level. It’s important to always get your point across IN YOUR OWN WORDS.
LAZY WAY: doing research on a topic via Wikipedia or Google.
ALTERNATIVE: doing research on a topic with FRENCH Wikipedia or FRENCH Google.
[I love Wikipedia however university professors may have mixed feelings about it being a credible source. It’s best to inquire about your instructor’s preferences before starting a serious assignment.]
LAZY WAY: asking someone to do your assignment or write an essay for you.
ALTERNATIVE: propose your written work or question(s) to someone and have them help you explain your errors. You’ll learn from the process because you did the work first. How could you learn from your mistakes if you don’t make them in the first place?
BETTER ALTERNATIVE: consult your French teacher or French textbook before running to the internet for help. Not only will you get your answer but you may receive additional help or clarification.
Why doing your own work is key
Doing your own works improves your fluency in the language AND… it’s rewarding.
You can bet that when my professor assigned us a written 8-10 page dissertation in French that my fellow students and I complained. The assignment would take forever and besides, was it feasible? The longest stuff we’ve written before never surpassed four or five pages.
After spending many hours in the library researching and writing my document, I was satisfied with the final product. I even got to choose my own topic, Napoleon on the Battlefield, and I wound up earning top marks. The same situation happened again when each student presented a topic for twenty minutes in front of the class.
Now that I look back at the process, both of these situations were rewarding experiences that helped pushed my French skills to another level.
How can you learn from your mistakes if you don’t make them in the first place?
– John Elkhoury
The vicious cycle of lazy language students
If the extra effort required to do your own work is so painful then you need to contemplate the following questions: Why did you take French class? Only to get an easy A? Only to be in a classroom with a great girl-to-guy ratio?
Or, dare I say… you’re taking French class to LEARN FRENCH?
What happened to that dream? Why are you wasting your time in a French language course if you have NO DESIRE to learn French?
There is a vicious cycle that consumes the lazy language students. Once you fall into one of these three categories, you ultimately spiral into the other two. The three categories are: disinterest, bad skills, and laziness.
DISINTEREST: when you lose ambition it results in a decreased desire to study, participate in class, or seek additional French materials outside of class.
LAZINESS: you try to get around doing your own work which hinders stronger French skills from developing.
Disinterest or laziness in French class leads to…
BAD SKILLS: poor performance only amplifies the feeling of disinterest and laziness. Students then look for shortcuts or easy solutions to ace their language course outside of studying or doing their own poor quality work (because when they try, their efforts surmount to low grades anyways).
In order to learn French it means you do your own work and formulate your own sentences. The best way to prevent becoming complacent with your French studies is through maintained interest in French language, related culture, or history. Likewise, keep up with the coursework. When French loses its charm or overwhelms you then it results in laziness!