This post is the second part to my series (read the first part here) about doing a language marathon to learn both French and German. Just a note, that this post is not sponsored or paid for but I will be adding a promo code below for 75 euros off your first month.
And so far, things have been very busy and going extremely well. I have been keeping almost daily diaries of my lessons, my feelings and thoughts after it. I will go through and publish these after the marathon. I think that having small daily entries can give some better insights of the daily challenges but I do want to make longer posts like these for more in-depth type of thoughts.
Differences between the second and first month of learning…
- I am considerably getting better with my pronunciation.
- Since I am better with my pronunciation (here’s a small video I did from a German A1.2 lesson), I am a lot more confident with my speaking skills.
- Learning with a native language speaker, compared to self-learning, has a lot more advantages compared to completely relying on self-learning. This is a lot more obvious when I get corrections with my sentence structures and exercises. When I self-learn, I am not aware of the mistakes that I am making.
- As I take more and more classes, it is taking me less time to prepare my notes. I remember when I first entered A1.2 classes, I needed at least a full hour to go through not only the class PDF, but I would also need to take notes of how to pronounce certain words.
Some quick tips on the final month of the marathon… (though even better if you are considering starting)
- Have an alarm in place at least one hour before your class and get into the habit of taking notes one hour before. I think Lingoda makes a recommendation to do a refresh for maybe 15 or 20 minutes before each class but I personally do one hour and that is the time I take to make notes.
- I keep electronic notes (ie WordPad, Microsoft Word, Pages, whichever one you use) because it’s a lot easier to search through for words and notes being used. I also would take screenshots and put them in my notes.
- I have one or two pages of a ‘boiler plate’ template. This boiler plate template has common ways to ask a question, some hints on conjugation, some hints on noun gender). For German the boiler plate template is a lot longer because I am adding various shortcuts like; how to tell something is a Trennbare Verben, shortcuts on what to use depending on nominativ/akkusative/dativ cases, various hints, common links that I use, etc).
Use of videoconferencing technology with learning…
Even though I work in IT and I love all things tech, I have to admit that I really wanted to do an actual language school because in this way, I can also get out. I also work remotely, so to me video conferencing is a bit boring but I have to say that whenever teachers make the most of the Zoom.in tools it makes the class a lot better.
Below is a good example from one of my French classes..
Lingoda has some really good teachers that make the most of the Zoom.in software they use for conferencing but quiet a few prefer to go with just a video call, the PDF screen and typing at the screen which I think is perfectly fine as well.
What are the other students like?
One thing that I have noticed after jumping from A1.1 to A1.2 earlier is that I started noticing a lot more students actually living in Germany taking the classes from A1.2. Timezones also seem to play a role and they probably have peak times for those based in Europe taking classes. There also seems to be a lot more people based outside typical French speaking regions taking French classes, but I didn’t notice the same trend in my German classes.
Another thing that I noticed is that the students taking classes seem to skew more towards working as freelancers or working in the tech industry, especially with the German classes. It could be because German classes cost more to take (269 euros per month compared to 199 euros per month), and one tends to learn this for a specific reason (for work, because one lives in a German speaking region, etc).
Otherwise, I have not really run into any particular problems with it being a group class. I did notice that a lot of late classes (at 9pm, 10pm, 11pm) for German tend to be with either yourself only or with one other person.
Another thing I noticed is varying levels. So you have one student that is clearly very good at the level they are in, and they may be aware of it and the teacher would also provide feedback.
Which levels should I take?
This is the one thing that I have realized is around the levels. When I first started a new level, I needed to do a lot of notes beforehand but soon became ‘climatized’ to that language level after maybe 3 or 4 lessons. I think that levels should only be a common guide only because each person is different. For example, there was one student who is very good with conversational skills but not so good at doing the exercises.
What are the downsides to Lingoda/ this model of language learning?
- What you get out of language learning is what you put in. Don’t rely on the hourly classes for your instructions. You need to do the homework, do the notes, ask teacher the questions, make notes, and so on.
- Since there are so many teachers you get very different quality and very different experiences. I’ve slowly come around to choosing certain teachers based on how well they teach, but it could also be their personality as well (in terms of, how well they teach, I think personality plays a part in it…)
- And again, since there are many different teachers it may be hard to get some consistency. You can try to choose the same teacher in as many classes as you can also.
- Since the classes are a group class, you can easily be in a class of varying levels. Most of the time, we are in the same level, but there comes a class when there could be one or more struggling (yes, I was definitely the one struggling back when I was not doing my notes or when I had very little sleep…)
- You may run into familiar students, but little avenue to talk to them after the class and also to network with other students. In this case you may want to instead turn to social networking groups and events.
- So far, I may have had a few instances of teachers not being found for the class, in which case a credit is given back to you and you are notified. Interestingly enough, all of these cases have happened for my French classes, not German.
Anyway, I hope this entry was a bit useful. Over time, I only studied A1 levels but just didn’t make the jump to A2 and my next classes are all A2 level.
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