Spent some time looking at my earlier posts on this site. Wow how interesting how things change. I feel one of the first techniques I got excited about was ajatt.com sentence method. Really went at it for awhile but one of things that frustrated me with the 10,000 sentence method was how to learn from the sentences I collected. I became disillusioned with it but still use Anki for my sentence pattern decks plus I keep going over the vocab deck I had built up even though I’m no longer adding any words to it.
I still read ajatt.com once in awhile….for being one for one of the most inspirational sites and getting one motivated that whatever your doing now is nothing and you need to do more. Once I came back from the last trip to korea in 2009 I went over all the posts he posted on that site on how to learn a language was one of the best things I did. Because one of the things …one of the biggest things that is needed is how to learn a language. Again all of these are my opionions but this is my third attempt that I’ve tried to learn another language. In High School one of things I saw was a small selection and thought hey I’m going to go to high school for 4 years and come out fluent in one when I graduated. Great intentions and was extremely excited. I picked German since that seems to be the biggest piece of my dna pool and remember how excited it was learning something like another language.
Now living in the middle of the USA I never had much exposure to other cultures and certainly coming from a middle umm maybe lower middle class family there was never any travel with my family. I don’t think I ever even left the state of illinois till after my high school graduation.
So you get to class and I remember that even after maybe such a short period of time it became very hard. The book that was used was horrible and when you don’t know how to learn a language but you’re depending totally on the teacher I now know you can’t only depend on that one language learning teacher or such but back in high school I didn’t really realize it. I made it to the end of the second year of german and had a very interesting situation in the second year.
Our German teacher who was in his 50’s at the time and lived at home with his mother had this habit of talking about his life and what he wanted to talk about during class. I still remember one story where the teacher was talking about his old house that he lived in with his mother that he ran extension electrical cords in the walls to different rooms since he knew nothing of things like electricity and other house hold things like plumbing but even at such a young age I thought was strange. So instead of remembering any German I instead remember that strange story he told us of.
But I passed the class as everyone else did. It was one of those classes where you had some quizzes but basically a mid-term and final test were the bulk of your grade. By the last half of the second year most of us in class were failing. We had given up and drifted off to daydreaming while the german teacher talked about his latest strange incident……but as best as I remeber I received a ‘A’ for our final test in German class.
How is that possible? One day the teacher told us we had to clean up the cabinets in the classroom and we went about it as it was better than listening to his stories. While cleaning up these cabinets a few of us came about what appeared to be the test for the final. Could it be the same test that would be used for our final? We were all excited as word quietly spread as we cleaned. We then went into motion and without any notice had obtained the class’s final test….and I guess just as equally important the answer key.
Our hearts were pounding. Would we actually pass? Well after going over the test and answer key and memorizing we all passed the class. We had out witted the teacher and even though most of us this would be the last year of german we had passed with flying colors. We were so smart!
Now I’m a high school student. We had got out of the second year of german with A’s and B’s. We learned basically learned jack and what a waste of time that was. But not much reflection on that experience till I was much older. We knew nothing about learning a language…..this was before we had access to the internet and it was like a dark mystery how do people learn another language? The materials were terrible in a bookstore and the first attempt in the classroom was a disaster.
It was till much later in thinking about it that I realized what really happened in our german class. We didn’t actually find the final’s test and answer key it was the teacher’s method of how to keep his job. If all the students in class failed he may not last too long but if he had a high percentage of his student’s passing and with high grades the simple review of his work he would keep with teaching position. He purposely asked us to clean cabinets knowing the actual tests were there and would be ‘smart’ enough to take some copies and memorize it. We all did. We all passed…..and will all didn’t learn german.
The first major attempt to learn another language…..did not work out as planned!