Today’s language learning resource addresses one problem and gives you a range of solutions. I often tried to make my foreign language classes more communicative – and I still wish I could go through my exchanges in German or Portuguese without switching back to English or Polish! This is how language learners and users can manage themselves, their teachers, tutors and conversation partners.
What’s the problem?
Most unsuccessful language lessons I remember looked like this: teachers take 50% of the time to talk to students – in their native language – about a grammar point, or a mistake someone made, or an idea which is apparently “too difficult to explain” in the language they’re learning. Students listen and wonder when they’ll get to use the language they want to learn.
Most unsuccessful foreign language exchanges I remember went like this: I tried to ask for something or to clarify an idea, found myself lacking the words or phrases, and switched to English in despair. My counterpart spoke no English. I repeated English, slower and/or louder, to no effect. We both parted ways, convinced that the other person “should really have made more effort.”
Here’s a quick idea that could fix it: a worksheet that will help you improvise, manage and direct your language lessons or exchanges. All in the language you’re willing to learn.
What is this resource for?
This set of phrases and expressions was designed to help you use your foreign language from day one, and to help anyone teach you a language. Very often, when you’re keen to learn or to understand, you switch back to English or any other language you’re comfortable with. These phrases are designed to help you go through a foreign language lesson without escaping into your native language. In addition, they can be used to turn anyone into a language tutor or a helper – ask these questions, pick and choose what you need help with, and anyone can become your friendly teacher in seconds!
How to use it?
The first step is to get good, reliable translations of these phrases in the language you’re trying to learn. Use online translators only when absolutely necessary – best to spend an hour of your session time with a language tutor, just to get these right. It will pay off!
The next stage is to commit those to memory. I included links to several popular flashcard system manuals – they will tell you how to create a flashcard deck which works on most computers and devices. Revise and repeat until you’re comfortable using them.
Finally – introduce them into your lessons and foreign language encounters. The first time you do that, try deciding on two or three expressions – and once that goes well, take the confidence boost and use it to grow your range. In the end, you can be going through long lessons and exchanges, learning lots from anyone you meet – without switching to your mother tongue even once!
Importing and editing
Feel free to edit your version of the template, and of course to provide translations for your language.
When you’re ready to import, here are links to manuals explaining how to do this – in several popular flashcard platforms:
Quizlet – (don’t worry, the txt works just as well as the word document)
Memrise – (note it’s easiest to copy from a spreadsheet – use the other file attached in the extra resources)
How to get it?
If you signed on to my Udemy course – or bought my “BRAVE Language Learning” book – you will find instructions for accessing the bonus resources there. I keep adding these resources on a regular basis, with at least four updates per year.
If you haven’t done either of these things yet – here are two quick ways to do this: this link gives you 50% off the Udemy course – and this link takes you to the bookshelf for “BRAVE Language Learning.”
I hope you enjoy this! Let me know if you can think of a phrase to add to the list.
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