Hmmmm…what am I going to do next? As you may have noticed, I need to have a steady flow of personal projects to keep me happy and motivated in life. I am very high maintenance.
I remember back in middle school, I started learning my first foreign language…French. I took French for three years in middle school and then Spanish for one year in high school. I never thought the French language stuck with me very much, but to my surprise, I kept inserting French words in to my Spanish. Oh well, I guess I am tri-lingual. Yeah, right. I virtually know nothing in either language, but at least I know enough English to be harshly critical of other people’s grammar. Thanks mom.
Later on, I took one more year of Spanish during my 3 1/2 year stay at the local community college. I am not sure I retained any of that either.
I always wondered why, on the first day of class, the teacher has to walk in blurting out ten minutes of trash in another language. How does that help anyone? All it ever did for me was to completely turn me off and make me think that I would never learn what they were going to try to teach. Also, why do they find people who’s native language is the language you are trying to learn? I have the hardest time trying to learn the language, but also trying to decipher the person’s accent just puts me over the edge. How about a nice clear instructor who speaks perfect English with a nice English introduction. Then, slowly move into the language you will be learning. That would put me at ease.
I remember I was taking an accounting class at Westchester Community College. I had to drop it (or maybe I failed it) because I couldn’t understand a word through the thick accent of the Indian instructor. He was probably a genious, but that didn’t do me any good.
This has nothing to do with anything, but I just feel like telling you this, as long as I am on a roll. For the longest time, I would fail any math class I would take. I had sucky instructor after sucky instructor. I started to think it was me. Well, I guess I always thought it was me. Well, the strange thing is…the first class (College Algebra) I took with Dr. Rick Dilsizian, I got an A. Yes, an A. Can you believe it? We covered the same amount of material as in all the other classes, but this guy did a bunch of extra things that made learning a lot easier. I couldn’t believe it one day when he handed back a bunch of exams and I was the only one in the entire class who scored 100%. This is coming from a guy who failed every other math class he ever took. So thanks Rick.
I guess my point is this…the instructor and type of instruction matters. Probably more than how smart and capable the instructor is. They gotta get the stuff across to the student.
I have done some research on how to learn to speak Spanish. I wasn’t too impressed with what I found. Laura has a Spanish book sitting on a shelf at home. I might as well just chuck that thing through a window. I learned more in five days in Punta Cana than I did in all my classes. That doesn’t say much for the classes.
I saw a commercial on TV the other day for Rosetta Stone Language Learning. They seem to have a nice tactic on how to get the information absorbed into the student’s head. I took a look at the online demo and was impressed. They mix listening, repeating and visuals. It worked for me. I think I might order the first CD…Spanish (Latin America) Level 1. The only problem is that I have no one to talk to…to keep it in my head. Laura is taking another Spanish class in school next semester, so maybe we will make an effort to be bi-lingual.