Four stages for learning French [+video]

Today, I am sharing with you the different steps of learning and how you can use it when learning French :

  • -> Understand the “four stages for learning any new skill”
  • -> Learn how to use it to situate yourself in a progression curve
  • -> Discover the 3 steps that will allow you to move towards mastery and fluency.


1- What are the different learning steps ?

Let me introduce the famous Noël Burch’s scheme called “Four stages for learning any new skill” (see picture below) which represents the different steps you go through when learning a new skill.

If you don’t know this scheme, I highly recommend you first watch my Youtube video (linked below) where I provide a description of the scheme and the important steps you are going through when learning a new language skill or a new language.

Four stages for learning French <<YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE>> 





2- SITUATE yourself in your learning


Knowing this scheme and the key steps help you to situate yourself in your learning. It will bring you certainty and help you better manage the emotions that appear at each stage by focusing on the arrival point.


.Get certainty.


When you hike in the mountain, you like to have a map. You need to know the distance to cover, the different stages, the things you will have to do and especially where you are going to arrive.

Knowing where we are going allows you to better manage your effort and your emotions in difficult times.


The scheme of “Four stages of learning any new skill” is like your hiking map : 

->you see the big picture of the road to go through

->you know the difficulties you are going to go through

->and you are aware that after that you will reach the arrival point


You are aware that you will go through certain stages, but one thing is sure… you want to reach the top of the summit to admire the view and enjoy the feeling of serenity and accomplishment.

Taking note of this scheme will give you the certainty that you will achieve your goals.

Focusing on the finish line is essential to put in place the best actions. You will look at the finish point to feed your motivation and to overcome difficult times. You know that everything you do, you do it to get to point 4.


 Look at this finish line, place yourself on the curve and follow the red line.


.Control negative emotions.


During the learning process, you will experience different emotions. Some positive, some negative.


You Coach’s advice:  Stress interferes with your learning, so it is essential to keep it away. When you are in a stage that brings you stress or negative emotions you can ask yourself these questions:


At which stage are you in the diagram?

What do you feel? What emotions do you associate with this stage? 

What are the reasons why you feel this emotion? 

What can you do to alleviate this emotion? 

What actions do you need to take to move to the next step? 


Now, I would like to share with you the 3 steps that allow you to move from conscious incompetence to unconscious competence.


 What actions do you need to take to move from Step 2 to Step 3 and from Step 3 to Step 4? 

 What can you do to make the process as quick and efficient as possible?

1- Find and receive information


Here I will call “information” the content that you will have to learn (like grammar rule, vocabulary). We can also call it input.  As opposed to “production”, output.


At first, you will have to learn new information, which involves a phase of observation and immersion such as “listening, reading and watching”.

Where can you find this information? 

How can you find the information you need? 

How can you promote regular contact with the input? 


 2- Process information


In a second step you will process the information you found in phase 1. You will analyze and understand this new information and then organize to memorize.

 How can you process this information?

 How can you organize this information so that it corresponds to your brain organization? 

 What strategy can you put in place to memorize this information ? 


3- Automate a skill


Finally, in the last phase, you are going to set up actions that will allow you to produce in your turn the information that you have received and processed in the previous phases.

It will be a matter of repetition and practice to produce more and more automatically and unconsciously.

What activity can you do to appropriate this information? 

What can you do to practice this language skill? 

How can you get your brain to anchor this skill in your habits? 

What strategy do you need to put in place to make it a habit? 


I hope that the blogpost will help you bring more certainty to the process you are in as a French learner.

Do you feel that you are stuck at a plateau? Let’s clarify your goals and needs, book a free first session here!

Have a good trip 🙂