Class Experiences

I just want to talk about a bad language class. Feel free to do the same; I’m interested to know.

So I decided to take a French I class for the fun of it in school as an elective. It has been so horrible.

We aren’t allowed to use any vocabulary that we didn’t learn in class because the teacher says we’ll use it wrong and if someone else peer reviews our paper, they won’t know what we’re talking about. We are also not allowed to use any structures other than what we’ve learned in class which includes very simple sentences; if you try to go a little out of the box and do something else, you’re probably going to get a sarcastic remark about having the audacity to even try to express yourself in a way other than what we have done.

I’m not actually that interested in learning French anymore at this point in my life, but I feel bad because I know some of the people signed up are but don’t seem to realize that self study is necessary.

Anyway yeah, post your experience in a language classroom too if you want. I’d like to hear it.

This class sounds particularly bad.

However, I have noticed that many teachers want to control their students, decide what they should read, and listen to, what they should do, which questions they should answer, etc. in thereby reduce them to the status of dependent learners.

In fact the role of the teacher should be, in my opinion, to make the learners independent, to make them want to seek out the language, wherever, and however and whenever they can, to encourage and support and stimulate.

There are many teachers of this second type as well, but far too many of the first kind, the controllers.

You have my sympathies. This kind of thing is why I long since dropped classes as a language learning resource.

However, at the high-school level I admit I’m probably in a tiny minority of people who had a truly positive classroom experience. My German teacher was the best teacher I’d ever had; he had the respect of all his students, even among those few who didn’t get along with him for whatever reason. I still keep in contact with him to this day.

My actual study of the language was no different to anyone else’s in that it consisted of a grammatical analysis of the language over a three-year period followed by such coursework as essays, vocabulary tests and grammar drills. But it didn’t matter in the slightest. On the contrary, my interest in the language was so great that I eagerly absorbed everything I was taught. I can honestly say I remember at least 95% of what was ever taught grammatically in my three years of classes. Even down to individual corrections in writing and tests and so on. Although this is not how I would learn nowadays, it was in school that I gained a firm, thorough understanding of German grammar.

The last language class I went to was a Mandarin Pinyin class a few years ago.

It was for Cantonese speakers, so everybody would try to twist their Cantonese to sound like Mandarin (a bit like twisting English words to sound like French). Then there was this student who somehow made everybody laughed with his hilarious twisted sounds. After a while, as soon as he was about the answer a question, the class would start cracking up even before he spoke!

The guy seemed fine when people laughed at him. But at the end when I thought about it, I felt sorry for him.

In conclusion, language class is just a place where students get themselves into embarrassing situations.

I’m sure there are good language classrooms in this world. In fact, if this were a science board, I’d talk about how little science we actually learned in my classes and how much outdated/wrong information we learned.

But still, I’d rather not have a class at all for language learning. Even with the best teacher in the world, it just seems like there would be information I am not interested in since I am extremely picky about the content I like. I’m sure some people can manage to get good results with good teachers though if they are into that. I’m also sure nobody at a school like my school is going to get good results unless perhaps they challenge the teacher’s authority over our study.

The purpose of the science class thing above was to say that my school in general is not good at teaching. It seems a bit random, sorry.