We were introduced to our fourth teacher this week and she is lovely. I’ve been truly blessed with having four great teachers during this course. They are all very professional, approachable, patient and competent; the things I really need from a teacher as a language learner.
We also had a new student enter the ranks so it’s nice having someone to bounce ideas off.
We did a lot of production today so I was absolutely knackered by the end of it.
Today, another student joined us which is great. I noticed that I was listening a lot more to my classmates as they were speaking to the teacher. This is good practice as you notice language that you do or don’t know, yet, and any corrections that occur from these interactions. It makes me feel safe seeing corrections done without me involved. I also noticed how my time with the teacher is now reduced compared to the first three weeks with the presence of more students. While I don’t mind this, it must be annoying for students in a class of 15, say, trying to get their time with their teacher. I feel as if I do get around to everyone in large classes, and I must remember to keep doing this.
Today was the first time we properly spoke to each other in German in breakout rooms. We had to talk about our jobs using modal verbs. I found this a little awkward, as I was trying to apply everything I have learnt together: cases, word order, correct articles and so on. My fluency wasn’t the best and my structures were higgledy-piggledy. I was all over the place. But, I gave it my best shot.
We did a lot of production today as we have pretty much finished the coursebook we are using, so lots of revision and production practice was welcomed.
Thinking back to when I started this adventure, I could barely string sentences together, but now I feel as if I have that confidence I need to have basic conversations and interactions with others, even though my vocabulary and grammar may be a tad limited at this moment in time. Having reflected on this point, I guess I have achieved what I had set out from the beginning: to practice my speaking and build a bit of confidence. Mission completed.
I worked closely with my new classmate who is from France, and it was really cool code-switching from English to German to French. We were helping each other along, checking each other’s grammar and vocab, checking in to see if we understood what we were taught, plus sharing resources we were using in our time, which was excellent. Maybe this is something I should encourage my students to do the same in future, to share resources that they are using when they are studying independently.
We looked at the past tenses today. I found some aspects of the tenses okay but others hard to get to grips with, but as I stated previously, I know with time and effort, I’ll get there. We have barely scratched the surface with this type of grammar, but I am eager to get working on it as I have been unable to talk about what I did yesterday, last weekend, recently and so on. This is what I like about learning grammar structures. It opens so many doors to ideas and meaningful sentences you want to get across to others. I don’t worry too much about the rules, as I know they will become solid in my cognition eventually, but I try my level best to attend to meaning.
So we come to the end of this adventure, and I am quite sad to be saying goodbye to the course, my teachers and my classmates. It has been an incredible experience being on the other side of the fence as a language learner, and I have learnt an awful lot. At the start of the course, I had little to no confidence in my ability to speak, but, now, that has drastically changed for the better. I can reveal that I am planning on relocating with the family to Berlin, hopefully, in September. Once I get my second vaccination, it’s all systems go on that front. So, I think that I would be able to survive the conversations and transactions I’ll be having when I get there. Of course, I can always use my English as a safety net, but that would be defeating the purpose of immersing myself in the language and culture.
For my last lessons, we did a little bit of listening practice which didn’t go so well for me. As the skill of listening is an ephemeral experience for a learner, I am not too worried about this skill yet, as mine will improve over time so long as I do it as much as possible.
I have learnt a great deal from this course and I am glad I enrolled on it because I got the confidence I needed, learnt some useful tips from the teachers about grammar and vocabulary you rarely find elsewhere, and, of course, I got to step into the shoes of a learner on a course, which will aid me further in understanding the experiences they go through while in the classroom.