Higher education, while learning secondary language

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by liero, May 17, 2016.

  1. liero

    liero Valued Member

    I have 2 students (TKD) who are French native speakers. I am pretty passionate about learning languages and see this as an opportunity to develop my skills in a new language.

    I'm Australian and speak English as a first language. I'm studying psychology and the coursework is intensive this year. I learned conversational Spanish over 12 months including 8 months immersion in South America and really enjoyed this.

    Would a couple of hours a week learning French over the the next few months be sufficient to improve my verbal communication skills with my students, and is it worth doing while I'm trying to study.

    My reading around neuroplasticity etc make me think it would be beneficial to engage in learning a new language. While I am trying to improve my personal knowledge of French, I may allow myself to better develop my brain in learning other things, such as the syllabus of the courses. Or am I kidding myself and becoming distracted from my studies?
  2. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    Sounds like classic student procrastination. It's fine so long as you recognise it for what it is.
  3. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    That's a bit vague. Of course, you can improve...If you learn two new words, then you improved, right?

    Are you a true or false beginner in French? What's your level now?

    If you're a beginner....Honestly, a few hours a week for a few months won't get you very far, unless you're a total language warrior or a false beginner. You'll probably just learn "survival French" (e.g. Can you tell me where the post office is?). but it depends on what you want.

    If you just want to say, "Hi! How's it going? I like cats. Do you have a pet?"...you'll be ok. If you want anything more than that...probably not going to happen.

    But on the other hand...the students might appreciate you being able to drop in a few words and expressions for them.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  4. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

    If you want to learn a new language I always encourage people to watch the news, or movies of that language without subtitles, other than being in a nation this is the quickest method I have found in learning other languages.
  5. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Only that? :eek: You mean while doing classes or whatever surely?

    Or good luck...

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9qbH0a6IzM"]Salatut elämät - Sepon vittumainen asiakas - YouTube[/ame]

    Edit. It's actually better to initially use the subtitles of the target language and switch them off as your skills improve. So for French, French audio and subs...It's just too damn hard initially and quite honestly, tiring.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  6. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

    I learnt a language with no subs, at first I could only understand it, at UNI I put it into practice and first got laughed at, but the more I spoke it and practiced the more fluent I became. I still can't read or write the language but I can understand it perfectly, but I speak it like an 11 year old?
  7. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    What language?

    Did you really have no experience with it before watching the TV/film? Pretty amazing really.

    Edit: Sorry, just to clarify. When I say use subs...use the subs of the language you are learning as well as the audio. Some people are listeners, some are readers.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  8. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    A court terme, tu ne vas pas aller loin à raison de deux heures par semaine. A ce rythme il te faudra des années avant de pouvoir atteindre un niveau convenable qui te permettra de converser plus ou moins aisément. Néanmoins, si ton objectif premier est simplement de pouvoir communiquer quelques notions de bases à tes élèves francophones pendant tes cours de TKD, quelques semaines suffiront. Comme certains l’ont déjà dit, je recommande de regarder des films en version originale avec ou sans sous-titres, d’écouter la radio et de lire la presse. Bonne chance avec les genres et la conjugaison française. Pour un anglophone, c’est pas évident !
  9. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    All this advice about watching films and reading papers is fair enough, but no point reading Le Monde if the OP can't remember, use or doesn't know the present tense or the days of the week.

    A lot of newspapers have articles in "simple *whatever language*" on their sites and sometimes audio files and videos with the stories in simpler form. They're a good start once you (the OP) have a few basics down.

    Comics can be good too if you're a low level speaker. (Read Asterix!!)
  10. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Comics, audiobooks too. I think Harry Potter and WoW have taught Europeans English better as a second language than many of their schools.
  11. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Reading and litening in stuff in the language you want to learn is good and useful. But honestly, I can't imagine this will be an easy way if you don't know even the basics of a language... Perhaps some people can do it, but I think taking a course isn't a bad idea. If it's only a couple of hours a week, learning on your own as well would be very helpful, but I really can't imagine getting a language "down" simply by reading. Or at least not very fast (when you're beginning) :confused:
    But if you know Spanish, learning French should come easier, since it's somewhat similar :)
  12. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    They have actually researched that here and found that online gaming has had a massive influence on young peoples' English. There is a direct correlation between scores in tests and time spent online gaming. Males are actually performing better in English tests than females...probably for the first time ever...and males tend to spend more time online than females.


    The comment about RPGs is interesting and it's well documented that playing RPGs can have a positive impact on language. I've noticed myself that students who play a lot of RPGs have great vocabulary...I'll be playing vocab games with children I work with and some nerd in a WWE shirt is shouting, "halberd, elixir, staff of invisibility" while the other kids are going "hand, egg...sea".
  13. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    It can be done and is a good way of learning a language.

    I TEFL and pretty much all I use is authentic material (newspapers, company brochures, podcasts)* and teach from there. But the people I work with are at least at the pre-intermediate level and have the basics down, so it's no problem. And for self study at that level and above, newspapers etc are excellent.

    But beginners...Nope unless you set very simple tasks for them (find all the verbs in the past tense) or incredibly simple texts are used for self study. You have to get the level right and a lot of students can't do that themselves.

    *Ok...I am being very dishonest...most of my groups just watch Blackadder for 15 weeks. But they like it :)
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  14. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Without wanting to spoil your "language adventure" (as long as it's fun for you, I'd say "Go for it!") - don't do it too much for your students, but more for you.

    They are in Australia now for a reason (I assume anyway) and they probably want to be able to learn/ speak the language as well.
    So it might(!) actually be annoying for them, if they get the opportunity to "cheat" a little, when the conversation partner helps them wit French.

    Of course it's a bit assuming and speculation.

    Personally I would find a nice gesture, but it would also annoy me a little (despite it being probably helpful as well ^^), because I'd *need* to learn the language of the country I live in, and personally(!) I prefer to get corrected or helped in finding the right words.

    And: We had a Syrian in one of our classes.
    Some of the communication was in English in the beginning; and at some point we realized, that the person actually understood us rather well, but was just lacking the routine in using the language himself.

    Again: I don't want to be mean or spoil the language.
    I just wanted to add another perspective on that little part of your thread.
  15. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    Yep, of course newspapers etc. are a good material, I just probably misunderstood, because I thought was suggested was learning solely by reading and watching movies. Which must be incredibly difficult to do so by oneself. With a teacher, that's something different, though :)
    My English also improved tremendously by reading books, writing to people online and listening to stuff, so I definitely won't disagree ^^

    Also learning a new language is fun, though it always makes me sad when I forgot how to use a language I learned that I don't use.... :( But I'm happy I could understand better than I thought I would, at least the essence, without knowing some of the words of what Greg1075 wrote. Makes me want to work on my other languages again :D
  16. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Very good point!

    I think you just beat the thread.
  17. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Funny, how the above was kind of my point: Is that good or bad?
    The "beat the thread"?

    Because I'm rather sure, I never heard that constellation :eek:
  18. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Not sure if that reply was for me...but I totally got you and agree with you, I'm just discussing the idea of using the newspapers etc.

    I get asked all the time by customers (hate the word students) how they can learn and practice at home and I always give the same advice (read, watch, listen, join a forum). They're adults with a relatively good level of English, so motivation can be low and they rarely bother. The ones that do make the effort improve at a much faster rate than others in the group. People forget learning a language is a skill like doing MA or playing tennis and the more time you put in the better your results will be.

    But I worked in Prague for 6 months and you Czechs were pretty motivated and eager to learn English and were prepared to put in the extra time. It was good.
  19. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Don't ask me. I think I made it up. I just put some words down. It's 2:30 am, I am trying to watch a film, but this thread is interesting, I think the medication I am on is slowly frying my brain. The doctor says I am lying and/or trying to find excuses...for what, I don't know..

    But I liked your point.
  20. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    That's pretty much how I improve my English as well. And yes, I am aware, that there still is quite some work ahead of me ;) :p

    The basics were laid at school but that didn't work too well for me (I was good at first and at some point I was just plain bad).
    At one point, where I *wanted* to get better, it came easy: I was watching my DVDs on English.
    At first (only a very short time, because it annoyed me) with German subtitles.
    Then for a while with English subtitles; did the trick a while, but I'm too fidgety to read them all the time.
    So I went to the next step: Watching and when necessary switch on subtitles.

    I also started to read English books; when I compared some passages from the same book with the German translation I also noticed that reading the original is better.

    Actually using the language was the next step: Forum.
    Ideally I would find someone to write with on a regular basis, but that's pretty utopian.

    By now I talk to myself in (faulty) English, which is weird, I admit.
    But then again I am weird as well, so... ;)

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