Le Baron wrote:
Raconteur wrote:I took the courses, and I see the value.
I recommend it.
Okay. I had asked in good faith. What is the particular value you are recommending? Something of value can surely be described? If it gets closed down to a: 'I think it's good so there', it makes me think it's not real. You may refuse to respond to that, but that doesn't assist the recommendation at all.
dig your contributions on this forum Le Baron, so since you're asking directly once more, I will try my best to respond. The reason I did not take you up on it initially is because I'm not sure how to satisfy the "what [...] have you learned that is unavailable anywhere else? Or for free by reading literature and looking at theory books?"
I couldn't really tell you what is 100%-for-sure
original/new to these courses (how could I be certain?), and I'm not sure I even agree with that kind of a premise in the first place. In fact, what I do
like about the Academy is that they are not
trying to sell me some "never-before-seen secret language learning sauce" that will 10x my results. Furthermore, even when it comes to Arguelles' original (or semi-original, as some argue) ideas, he has shared his views on all of this freely over the years.
Frankly, I do not think very many courses in any discipline could truly meet the scrutiny of "unavailable anywhere else, or for free" criteria. But that's not what I look for. With these courses, as with any other type of education, I look for synthesis, expertise, feedback
, and as a welcome bonus, community
. Sure, I can also do my own research for free. Endless research. However, I can and do appreciate it when someone, preferably an expert (of some kind) in their niche, steps up to offer you their version of the Compendium to X. In this case, autodidactic approaches to language learning and polyglot strategies. So that's the synthesis part.
As for the expertise part, well that's always up for debate, right? I don't find Arguelles to be some infallible guru to follow blindly, and having interacted with him personally for over a year now, I do not believe that he considers himself an infallible guru either. He is, however, in my humble opinion, an expert in this particular micro-niche of a field. Or as close to one as you're likely to come across... with a dedicated seminar, anyway. In my experience most language educators are interested in one (max two) foreign languages themselves, and have learned them in a traditional way, usually university degree. In contrast, Arugelles spent most of his adult life learning, teaching, and writing about autodidactic
language learning and polyglottery. Naturally, I do not just blindly follow his every suggestion, but I do value hearing his expert take and making up my own mind.
Which brings me to feedback. It's one thing to watch a video on the scriptorium technique, for example. It's another to apply it to your own experience, and discuss it with someone who has done it for decades (I don't really care if its his original
idea or not, btw) and a small group of likeminded people. One thing that comes up again and again in the seminars is just how much of his freely available advice participants were misunderstanding or misapplying before they joined the Academy. Having a regular two-way conversation with an expert is not the same as reading their blog or watching their videos. In my experience, this is true of any discipline - running marathons, playing piano, etc. Nothing prevents one from preparing for a marathon from a book, but arguing this is the same as having an expert coach working with you is a bit absurd, imo.
Finally, community. I've mentioned getting feedback from a small group. I think it shouldn't be undervalued that a course such as this one brings many likeminded people together on a regular basis. I've probably learned as much from them as I did from the Prof (or the Doc
, for the terminology sensitive in the audience). Sure you can get some of that here, or I guess on Twitter/Reddit if you're into that. But, for me at least, a small tight-knit class environment is different.
And I would therefore find it odd that you initially responded at all if you really don't care either way what people think of it.
I do care. But I'm also aware this is the Internet, and there is only so much you can do. So, I didn't really want to engage with this more than necessary. I'm already dreading how what I wrote above might be taken apart and misrepresented, to be honest. If you have any additional questions regarding the courses, I'm happy to answer you over PM, Le Baron.