David Talbot

Learning, teaching.

Thu 29 December 2011 / learningteaching

Just back from a fantastic week in Hamburg and Berlin - Christmas with my wife's family.  In terms of seeing how my German language learning is progressing it was a massive confidence boost - I was able to sit within groups of native speakers without anyone offering to speak in English, understanding the vast majority of what was being talked about..  The last time I spent a long weekend in Germany I felt exhausted by the end of the day, I imagine from the effort needed to concentrate on what was being said.  This time it was quite the opposite - I felt as if I could understand the vast majority of what was being talked about and  have much more of an ability to add my views and direct conversation the way I would do in English.

One thing which this trip has really brought home to me is just how much my German has improved since I've been sticking to a self-directed system of learning.  My sister-in-law's partner is currently trying to learn English and I mentioned to him that I'd be documenting the way in which I learn so that he could try and apply this to his learning efforts.  I've condensed my thoughts about this conversation into a a new page, How I learn, which roughly sketches out my learning style.  There's no doubt the potential to expand on this but for the moment at least something is there as a foundation.

One thing that's not so clear to me is whether this information is going to be of help to someone starting out with a new language - a lot of my observations are based upon my perspective with German. I can't pretend to know how to teach but would love to learn - if you happen to be someone starting out with learning a new language, does this make sense? Am I missing anything blindingly obvious? I'd love to hear your thoughts.