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Why language classes do not work

 Language Learning Forum : Questions About Your Target Languages Post Reply
28 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
Senior Member
New Zealand
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Speaks: English*, German, French

 Message 17 of 28
13 October 2008 at 12:21am | IP Logged 
dutos wrote:
Fluency - You sound very forgiving of accents. When Arnold Schwartzenegger arrived in America, he spoke broken English with a strong accent. I would not call that fluent. However, the English that he speaks today (even with a light accent), I would say that this is definitely fluent.

Well speaking broken English and having an accent is quite a different thing to speaking correctly and having an accent (as in the case of Volte's example of Conrad).
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William Camden
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 Message 18 of 28
13 October 2008 at 11:35am | IP Logged 
One-to-one language tuition, or in a small group, may be effective. I doubt whether anyone learned French 40 to a classroom jammed elbow-to-elbow with the apathetic and stupid.
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Senior Member
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 Message 19 of 28
14 October 2008 at 8:54am | IP Logged 
For me language classes work but serve mainly psychological and organisational purposes. I get angry if s.b. in the class is better than me so I work harder to beat him (her). Besides it gives me a good regular pace.

Otherwise I barely pay any attention to the teacher and generally act in a rather asocial way. Not that I try to sabotage... I'm just not easy to communicate with when not in a social mood (which happens often).

Most teachers find this extremely annoying. However I invariably end up doing well at the exams, resulting in genuine surprise and sometimes further annoyance on their part.
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Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Portuguese, Norwegian

 Message 20 of 28
15 October 2008 at 8:39am | IP Logged 
Not all language classes are created equally, but I find that having a class gives me some structure and makes it more difficult for me to procrastinate. If I pay for a class and materials and I have to be in a certain place at a certain time, I am more likely to stick to what I'm doing. It's just a matter of my particular temperament. Your results may well vary.

I'm the sort of language student who enjoys doing some outside reading and practicing, and so I agree that doing things outside a class are essential.
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Pro Member
United States
Joined 5172 days ago

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Speaks: English*, German
Studies: French, Spanish
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 Message 21 of 28
04 December 2008 at 2:22pm | IP Logged 
I always found my motivation was poor with a class. I would do the homeworks, learn for the exam. Perhaps because I am a good student (in the 'i get good grades' sense---which is a big big qualifier) I found I would only have to spend a couple of hours outside of classt to fullfill the obligations to the class, ut then had a hard time going beyond that in order to really learn and internalize. That means over the course of the year at Uni level I would get 125 (5 credit course, three quarters, 50 min period) hours of class instruction and an additional 50-70 or so outside of class. but then writing replacement drills with a movie on in the background hardly constitutes quality study time. Not sure if others have had a similar experience in class? I am trying for the first time to learn on my own (not in a class, and not by living in the language in question), and doing little drills and exercises so far feels less forced and more with learning, not completion as a goal.
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Senior Member
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Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, Italian
Studies: German, Croatian

 Message 22 of 28
08 December 2008 at 6:13pm | IP Logged 
I think it depends how well you can adapt yourself to formal learning/education. Most of the things we know and can do well in our lives are things we've learnt informally. This is why so many people struggle in a formal, pressurised, 'academic' learning environment and prefer to study on their own in an informal way. It's not that they are bad learners, most people just don't learn under these circumstances.
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Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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Speaks: English*, GermanC1
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 Message 23 of 28
18 December 2008 at 8:15pm | IP Logged 
I kind of agree on some of his points (especially about other students holding the rest back; that's how it was in my High School German class), but what I like about classes is the structure. On my own I often am at a lack of what to exactly do.
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Senior Member
United States
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Speaks: English*, Esperanto
Studies: Japanese, French

 Message 24 of 28
19 December 2008 at 2:38pm | IP Logged 
It really depends on a LOT of factors.
I'm lucky- I'm in a small class (14 people) with students who all genuinely love the language, we have a good
textbook and a fantastic teacher, and plenty of opportunities in class to practice in actual conversations.
I think people often underestimate the need for a good teacher AND a good textbook. If you have one without the
other it's just not that helpful, but if you have both your learning will go much faster. A teacher can be an
invaluable resource for explanations of things you can't make sense of on your own- but they have to be willing to
explain. Mine is, and she's very good at it too, which means a lot of the time we learn very useful things from her
we wouldn't have from the textbook, no matter how good it is.
Personally I think it all comes down to learning styles, but for many people a GOOD class + a bit of independent
study provides a good basic understanding, and then going to the country and surrounding themselves with the
language can help them polish it up. But if you go to the country without a good enough understanding of the
language already, it's not going to be nearly as easy to pick up.

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