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Language classes do NOT work

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
116 messages over 15 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 1 ... 14 15 Next >>
Nature
Diglot
Groupie
Canada
Joined 3829 days ago

63 posts - 80 votes 
Speaks: English*, French

 
 Message 1 of 116
07 December 2011 at 5:01am | IP Logged 
I've realized this. At my school, I went into their language program and I am not enjoying it at all. However, I have one more semester to do until I graduate so I'm going to stick with it, but It has not been an enjoyable experience.

I've been taking Spanish for about 2 years at school and during the summer I went to Italy for about two months (to visit family) and learnt more Italian in those two months than the two years of Spanish classes.

Maybe it's my class, but it's just so... robotic. I feel more like I'm memorizing Spanish than actually learning it and this is bad because I have a final to do and I don't feel ready at all; I don't understand anything. Learning a language is about making mistakes when you speak, pronouncing things the wrong way. In those two months in Italy I made plenty of mistakes but I was understood nonetheless and improved on my mistakes. Yet in classes, when you do make mistakes, you are punished which I think is extremely wrong.

Then I took Mandarin. Once again, they did help a little but I felt like I learnt more Chinese from watching videos on Youtube than being in the actual class.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Stephen7878
Diglot
Newbie
United States
Joined 3373 days ago

34 posts - 48 votes
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Greek, Italian

 
 Message 2 of 116
07 December 2011 at 5:06am | IP Logged 
I completely agree with you. Language classes are pretty useless and although some teachers try to make the class feel like an immersive experience, it just always feels more like you are learning more ABOUT the language than actually learning how to speak it.

It's funny how I see some people here at my university taking Spanish classes and they tell me they are studying the subjunctive and conditional past etc., but then I simply ask them for their name and how they are doing and they go blank.

To get the most out of a class you really have to be self-motivated and do the majority of the learning on your own, while using the class to clarify what you have already reviewed. Well atleast that's my opinion.
1 person has voted this message useful



Carlucio
Triglot
Groupie
BrazilRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3450 days ago

70 posts - 113 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, EnglishC1, Spanish
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 3 of 116
07 December 2011 at 5:49am | IP Logged 
Not only language classes, there are many courses that we are forced to make just to take a stupid certificate that some job requires.
1 person has voted this message useful



GRagazzo
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3553 days ago

115 posts - 168 votes 
Speaks: Italian, English*
Studies: Spanish, Swedish, French

 
 Message 4 of 116
07 December 2011 at 6:14am | IP Logged 
Classes are boring, but what makes it fun is when the teacher speaks only in Spanish to
you guys and you have to try and translate what she says, and do it quickly. Too often though the courses, even the higher level ones, are taught mostly in English. And the
reason you learned Italian so quickly was because you were in a relaxed environment and
you were immersed in the language.

Maybe to help you for the final you could immerse yourself by watching you tube videos in
Spanish like you did for Mandarin.
2 persons have voted this message useful



zerothinking
Senior Member
Australia
Joined 4964 days ago

528 posts - 772 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 5 of 116
07 December 2011 at 6:24am | IP Logged 
I estimate that autodidactic personal study is between five and ten times more efficient
than classes per hour for me. That is, what would take someone in a class ten years at
one hour a day to learn, I could learn in one to two years.

Edited by zerothinking on 07 December 2011 at 6:25am

7 persons have voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5748 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 6 of 116
07 December 2011 at 6:32am | IP Logged 
Nature wrote:
I've realized this. At my school, I went into their language program and I am not enjoying it at all. However, I have one more semester to do until I graduate so I'm going to stick with it, but It has not been an enjoyable experience.

I've been taking Spanish for about 2 years at school and during the summer I went to Italy for about two months (to visit family) and learnt more Italian in those two months than the two years of Spanish classes.

Maybe it's my class, but it's just so... robotic. I feel more like I'm memorizing Spanish than actually learning it and this is bad because I have a final to do and I don't feel ready at all; I don't understand anything. Learning a language is about making mistakes when you speak, pronouncing things the wrong way. In those two months in Italy I made plenty of mistakes but I was understood nonetheless and improved on my mistakes. Yet in classes, when you do make mistakes, you are punished which I think is extremely wrong.

Then I took Mandarin. Once again, they did help a little but I felt like I learnt more Chinese from watching videos on Youtube than being in the actual class.


I'm nitpicking perhaps but I don't think that graduates of DLI, FSI or similar organizations would conclude that classes for foreign languages are ineffective.

However, the majority of such classes available to us proles indeed aren't really all that good (or at least are poor return on time and money spent).
6 persons have voted this message useful



Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 5174 days ago

2314 posts - 5695 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 7 of 116
07 December 2011 at 6:45am | IP Logged 
I'm sure there are efficient ways to teach a class (Michel Thomas' classes seem to have been quite effective), but for some reason, most classes just aren't good at all. Every Swede who goes to school has to take several years of third language study (usually French, German or Spanish) so far I haven't met a single one who can speak any of these languages except for people who spent a semester or more abroad. That's 100% attendence and 0% success rate, which has to be considered a pretty enormous waste of time and tax payer money. I myself went through six years of French without being able to construct a sentence. I have a memory of a test which was after about four years of instruction, and I couldn't recall whether it should be "mon soeur" or "ma soeur", because I wan't sure whether it should agree with the gender of me or my sister. I got a pretty good grade in French, by the way, though I made the wrong guess at that test.

But that was (the equivalent of) grade and high school. Later I took six months of University level French and ended up watching movies without subs and talking without hesitation. The key? The class was full-time study, but only two lessons a week. These lessons were mainly testing and conversation practice, as well as question time. The rest was home study, eight hours a day
1 person has voted this message useful



5years
Diglot
Newbie
Tokelau
Joined 3328 days ago

7 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: English, Portuguese*
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 8 of 116
07 December 2011 at 7:03am | IP Logged 
I think it probably depends on how it's taught. I've learnt very well in classes, but I've also had terrible experiences. I find that this often depends on the teaching methods, the class size and overrall motivation of the students as a whole. Many teachers/professors actually do a very good job at making a point of motivating students and making language learning as natural as possible, rather than just mechanic memorizing. I think that mechanic memorizing will often happen even if you're teaching yourself. I've also been in classes that felt completely unproductive and definitely not worth my time at all.

A lot of it also depends on what you do outside of class. It's somewhat unrealistic to expect to become fluent in three months if you're only learning two hours a week. There's homework, of course, but it does help if you can bring yourself to go the extra mile and watch movies, or read books, or find someone to Skype with. Living somewhere where you can speak your target language all day is brilliant and it really helps, but if you can't do it for some reason then classes aren't all bad. I also love teaching myself, but I find that with (good) classes it's easier to keep a steady pace rather than just slack off.


7 persons have voted this message useful



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