Cafetalk Featured Tutor Interview

Professeur Nico

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French

Professeur Nico Tutor Interview

Q. Hi Professeur Nico! Would you kindly give a brief self­introduction to the Cafetalk community?

A. Hello everyone !

My name is Nico, I am a French teacher. I also teach Latin and French literature. Maybe I will propose a future day on Cafetalk? Why not !

In fact, the origins of my family are quite diverse. French, of course, but also Belgian and Italian. The city where I grew up is called Mons, on the border between Belgium and France. It is a city with authentic medieval architecture and many universities. Every years, for over 700 years, we celebrate an event called the Doudou. This festival is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q. It seems like at the moment you are located in Japan! Whereabouts in Japan do you live, and what does your life here look like?

A. I currently live near Kobe.
I am very happy to live in Kansai: I have nostalgia for Europe with Kobe, modernity with Osaka, and tradition with Kyoto and Nara. I can enjoy varied atmosphere and I like it a lot. My life is pretty normal. I teach French most of the day and during my free time, I write a lot (one of my dreams is to become a writer). I participate in literary competitions and, of course, I study japanese.

Q. What are you usually up to when you’re not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your hobbies and interests?

A. I am passionate about literature, so I read and write a lot since I was 6 years old. I love spending time in the library, going to the coffee shop and spending hours writing there, and visiting all the bookstores I meet on my way.

Sure, I also like to visit Japan and, to relax, I watch drama to learn Japanese.

My second passion, honestly, is my job at Cafetalk. I like to imagine new lessons and new concepts. Analyze, take notes ... I love my work and my students.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about your professional background? What got you into teaching, and what motivated you to keep pursuing this career?

A. I first studied to become a teacher in primary school. Although I really like this work, my love for literature, and therefore the French language, made me want to teach it. So I started studies that would allow me both to learn literature to become a writer, and to specialize in teaching French.

It's in Japan that my career has made sense. I discovered that hundreds of students worked hard before or after their work to learn French and realize their dream. I was very moved by their courage because many Japanese people do many extra hours and, despite this, they study in the evening or in the early morning. So I became interested in teaching online with the goal of encouraging this kind of person.

I have so much respect for my students that my dream is to work only online to offer all my time to my students. This is probably a difficult project, but little by little, I hope to get there someday.

Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your “lesson style”?

A. I am someone very sweet and smiling. My lessons are like a personality, quite calm and relaxing.I adapt to the rhythm of the student and I remain fully listening to them. I like my students feel reassured and relax during the lessons, without to be afraid by the langage.

I have invested in many French textbooks to teach all the students need. They do not need anything, I always send them a copy of the textbooks that I consider the best for what they want to study. After that, I try to write a detailed feedback and give a homework assignment after each lesson (except in conversation). I ask the students to send me the homework by mail and I send them the correction with advice for free. If they want to discuss about the assignment during the lesson, they are free to do. But in general, I do it by email so that they can enjoy 100% of lessons without wasting precious time.

Q. Many Japanese students probably think French is very difficult to learn. Do you employ or recommend any specific study method?

A. Depending on how you teach, a language may be difficult or not. It is the role of the teacher to make it accessible. I think there isn’t easy or difficult French, but a good or bad way to teach.

At home, be regular. Studying for three hours during the weekend doesn’t work because you only use your short­term memory. Prefer to study 15­20 minutes a day everydays and, believe me, in a few months, you will see the difference.

My best advice: believe in yourself. With motivation, we can all succeed.

If you wish, try my trial lesson, and let me show you that you can do it! :)

Q. You recently started to offer free live­stream lessons on YouTube. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

A. Starting in January, I would like to regularly give a free lesson on youtube. The content of this lesson will allow students to receive advice for DELF and Futsuken exams. They will receive practical advice on which manuals to buy, how to prepare, and many other things.

Q. According to your profile, you also speak a bit of Japanese. Do you ever use any Japanese in your lessons or are they completely in French?

A. Although I can speak Japanese, I use a dictionary when writing about Cafetalk. Some articles have also taken a long time to be written. But, indeed, I am actually able to give explanations in Japanese.

To use Japanese or not in class depends on the will of the student. Some students ask me never to use it (especially levels B2 and C1), while others will ask me to explain grammar in Japanese or English, I simply adapt to the needs of each.

Q. Since you offer a variety of lessons, is there any lesson you can recommend in particular? Or can you give a quick overview which lesson might be good for which type of student?

A. The custom lesson is the most popular at the moment. It can be used in two ways:

1) study French using a textbook, as in a classical language school. We practice speaking, listening, reading and writing. All levels are welcome.

2) Study according to a particular question of the pupil: point of grammar, reading of novel, reading of newspaper, transcription of songs ...

Then there are the exam preparation lessons of DELF and Futsuken. They teach you exactly what you need to succeed. I use several different and official manuals.

Finally, there are special lessons for students who are preparing to work in France or the francophone countries. I currently offer training for restaurants and work in business. I'm planning a lesson soon for the tour guides.

Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?

A. I thank you all for the precious moments spent together and I sincerely hope that they continue for a long time. If I appreciate my work, it's thanks to you

Let's study French together and realize our dreams!

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Professeur Nico


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