After graduating from the Sorbonne University with a Master’s degree in Linguistics and teaching French to over 4,000 students online, Léa Tirard-Hersant decided to use her experience to create Le Staircase.
The result is an online French course relying heavily on storytelling to help you reach level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Here is my review of the course!
What’s the Staircase
The Staircase is both a French course and the story of a not so typical French family in the winemaking business.
The 30 episodes progressively teach you essential vocabulary and grammar aspects of the French language through translation.
For example, you learn how to use the verb “donner” in lesson 1, discover the vocabulary of car driving in lesson 8 and focus on the passive voice in lesson 24.
Following the life of a family in the winemaking business gives you the opportunity to learn the vocabulary of business but also the vocabulary a typical French family would use in everyday life.
How to learn with The Staircase
Each lesson starts with a video in which Léa introduces the episode’s storyline and advises you on the best possible way to use the course.
To advance through the story, you fill gaps, translate and follow the 30 steps of each episode until you reach the next level.
You can listen to the answer recorded Léa herself.
The presence of audio recorded by a native speaker allows you to improve your pronunciation but can also be used as a dictation exercise to improve your writing skills.
In addition to the episodes, you also get access to La Bibliothèque (The Library), a collection of cheat sheets you can download to see the translation of useful words from the course and seek additional information on complex grammar aspects.
When it comes to grammar, The Staircase adopts a minimalist approach and relies heavily on The Blue Book, Léa’s favorite grammar book for intermediate learners.
The lessons and cheat sheets often contain references to pages of the book thus giving you the opportunity to find detailed explanations of the grammar aspects you’re studying.
I like this approach because it helps stay focused on the story without getting overwhelmed by grammar but it also has one disadvantage: you need to buy the book.
What if you need help?
Filling gaps and translating isn’t easy and you’ll face difficulties. Luckily, you’re never alone as you go through this adventure.
You can post a comment below a lesson you don’t understand, ask Léa for help or discuss with other students in La Salle Commune (The Staircase’s Facebook group).
Unlike many courses that promise you help but then don’t offer any, The Staircase benefits from an active community and Léa who won’t hesitate to help you if you have any questions.
Is the Staircase the right course for you?
The Staircase is ideal if you can already understand written French and are at an intermediate level. It will help you discover French life through a fascinating story and climb the steps towards French fluency in a demanding but rewarding way.
You’ll be helped by an experienced French teacher during your adventure and will enjoy the encouragement of an active community of motivated French learners.
If you just finished Level 2 of the French Together course, The Staircase is the next logical step.
Want to give it a try? Click here to start climbing!
And you? Have you tried The Staircase? Share your opinion in the comments below!