Back to the roots and water them with coffee

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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Thu Aug 05, 2021 1:26 pm

Some of my new adventures are described in a different thread about the TCF. Just shortly (as I am on a very limited internet now):

I got some bad news about the concours, so I need to try yet another country, the paperwork is horrible (for example: the target country demands an officially certified copy of an ID. Which is illegal. oh, and it demands a lot of money just to say "yes, of course your diploma is valid, it is an EU diploma"), but I am a bit of an optimist about the job hunting after this. This is the last attempt. Either I finally succeed to get a career in a specialty I would like, or I give up on medicine. I'm exhausted. I was promised a much brighter future than this.

I am right now on a holiday, I am travelling, but it is not as ideal as people might think. If you cannot travel right now, perhaps my experiences will make you regret it a bit less.

I've gone through a lot of stress in the last weeks, and sometimes travelling feels like an opportunity to meet as many assholes as possible and to really see how much has our world changed for the worse. Some stuff is still awesome (the sea, the cities on the outside, bookstores, food), but the idea that we'll just return to the old habits is a bit naive now. My biggest wish for our world right now is to just force the antivaxers to stop selfishly damaging the rest of us (the most funny ones are the hypocrites, who smoke and eat like pigs while claiming to be afraid of the vaccine's side effects. Hypocrisy at its best.), and to get rid of all the stupid precautions, most of which are worthless and just destroy so much freedom, sponateity, adaptability, and everything human without any positive impact. If the world doesn't become more normal again, I can easily see myself falling into a severe long term depression soon. I don't want to live like a dumb toddler, micromanaged and suspected of something at every step. :-(

I loved my short trip to Paris. A real and beautiful city, a normal mix of people from all the classes, a cultured environment, rather polite staff in restaurants and cafés, normal opening hours of shops, and so on. It was so refreshing!

Btw, there was a thread with worries of Gibert Jeune and similar bookstores announcing changes and limitation of their offer due to Covid some time ago. They are ok. I think only some parts have been damaged (the medical books section has been reduced considerably, to my regrets), but the main parts seem to be just like before. :-)

And you know, when something goes badly in France, there is usually a solution (except for my career right now, unfortunately :-D ). The people are simply used to helping each other whether or not something works. For every asshole, there are several people not letting you down, because of the sense of "fraternité". For example: several other passangers were defending me, when a woman with a kid didn't know her seats, wanted mine, and misinterpreted my polite offer of changing mine for any other (with the words "ça m'est égal" in the middle, meant to show I really don't mind) as lack of respect. She was shouting at me, and they defended me! And they clearly understood what I meant, she was just looking for someone to shout at obviously. I also had a hard time catching my bus from Paris, due to the testing center's bad organisation, but I got to try the Paris taxi. While the metro is still much cheaper, usually very practical (unless the line you need is out of order, like this time for me), and has the best coffee machines!!!, the taxi saved me this time, the driver was great, fast, and the regulated prices are not too bad.

Then I hated passing through Germany (is it just my luck, or do they really have such a high % of assholes? And it really seems like nothing really works in that country, lying and/or being unhelpful on purpose seems to be the standard, just like arrogance. Some Germans really need to realize what year it is.), and am now getting a mixed bag of experiences in Italy. Nothing goes as expected here. But this sort of "chaos" used to be outweighted by a good attitude and pleasant behaviour. Right now, it looks like a part of this nation has totally lost such abilities dut to the covid craziness I think I won't need to visit again for at least a few years, I'm fed up with this. But I want to get the language to a solid level in any case, the good stuff still outweights the bad stuff here.

Yes, it sounds weird to complain about this. A year ago, I was seriously afraid no travelling would ever be possible again. But right now, I really don't think this new norm is enough. :-( It's not just the stupid tests and paperwork and covid passes. The people have gone crazy, and the the least useful ones have been given power over the rest in every entrance door and on every street.

I get to practice my Italian a lot, even more due to all the problems encountered. It has improved since I've started using textbooks and similar tools again, it is less of a Spanish-Italian hybrid, it is sufficient for a lot of stuff, and a lot of it well beyond the usual touristy phrases (my speaking is B1ish, in some ways well above it with other elements dragging it down, comprehension C1/C2). But it is still not the same comfort and freedom as in the other languages. And for now, improving my Italian seems to "worsen" the Spanish, while neither affects my French. The cure sounds simple: improving both of them. :-D
...................

Still waiting for the rest of my TCF results and the official certificate. It should arrive in a week or two.

My next goals: C1 Italian and Spanish certificates.

I've gotten a few books in Italian and photos of others, to know what to get from eshops. It looks like the Italian scifi and fantasy are going through a good era, at least compared with my previous attempts at exploration. For some unknown reason, most authors seem to be from Milano these days :-D
.....................

And btw, I think my fiancé wouldn't mind a wedding ceremony in Klingon. But vast majority of our families and guests would :-D
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Ogrim » Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:52 pm

Sorry to hear about your bad experiences in Germany and Italy. From my own experience, I have to say that all Germans are not "assholes" as you put it, I have had lots of good experiences travelling in Germany and I have several German friends who do not in any way live up to the stereotypes of being arrogant and lacking humour. So I guess you have had bad luck, or maybe it has to do with the fact that I am a middle-aged Nordic man, which you are definitely not, so they treat me differently?

As for Italy, I haven't been to the mainland since the pandemic started, but I did not feel any negative vibes in Sardinia when I was there last week. Again, it may be different on an island where people come for holidays and the Covid situation is very much under control.

A Klingon wedding ceremony sounds interesting, I'd go for that!
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Ich grolle nicht

Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Sun Aug 08, 2021 11:08 am

Ogrim wrote:Sorry to hear about your bad experiences in Germany and Italy. From my own experience, I have to say that all Germans are not "assholes" as you put it, I have had lots of good experiences travelling in Germany and I have several German friends who do not in any way live up to the stereotypes of being arrogant and lacking humour. So I guess you have had bad luck, or maybe it has to do with the fact that I am a middle-aged Nordic man, which you are definitely not, so they treat me differently?

As for Italy, I haven't been to the mainland since the pandemic started, but I did not feel any negative vibes in Sardinia when I was there last week. Again, it may be different on an island where people come for holidays and the Covid situation is very much under control.

A Klingon wedding ceremony sounds interesting, I'd go for that!


The Klingon weddings are beautiful, but it's not a realistic idea. But I might use it as a counter proposition against some of the wilder ideas of my fiancé :-D :-D :-D
........
I have no doubts that there are many kind, clever, and wonderful Germans out there. It just happens to me to encounter mostly the worse kinds. I have friends, who live in Germany and are very happy and are excited about the German nature. Well, they tend to live in just some of the social spheres, among the better educated people, and also in the bigger cities. The combination of these three factors is bound to give a different "typical German profile" than the other combinations.

I'd say what you mention plays a big role, but probably not 100%. Who knows, perhaps I'll see some differences in another decade or two as well :-D But a middle aged woman is still not a middle aged man.

My Italian experience really seems to follow the distinction between the bigger cities vs smaller towns and villages, that I observe almost everywhere. There are simply different mentalities in those two environments and I am much more compatible with the bigger cities. The same situations lead to totally different reactions and outcomes in each of the two. The situation almost everywhere is stable now in Italy. But in the bigger cities, people take the measures and everything more reasonably and try to be at least polite about the stuff. In the small ones, the overall lower education, lower sense of efficiency, and a bigger love for controlling others, are simply impossible to resist.
............

I am considering the 6WC, even though it is almost too late. As I was almost without the internet, I was almost without study tools (the only book I hoped to bring with me got forgotten).
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Mon Sep 06, 2021 8:15 am

Long time no posts. I tried to write about the current and actually very interesting situation for language learners a few times. But it is not just about me,so I had deleted some attempts. This is one of the suddenly popular teaching and learning logs actually :-D

I've basically taken a month away from everything to teach my teen sister German for an exam (and it's a nice silver lining to my not too stable work situation now, that I can do that!), that will decide whether she stays in her high school. She is good at English, there is no problem with her intellect or anything. She switched from French to German last year (the French teacher had been a disaster and the problems had lasted for several years. At least German is not a total chaos in that school!). Now she is trying hard, but failed the last exam (she hadn't aspired to a great grade, but could have barely passed, and then caught up with the rest in the not-online classes. If only she could show what she really had learnt), and I turn out to be her best chance, which is pretty weird, considering my German "level".

We need to (re)learn Themen Aktuell 1 and half Themen Aktuell 2. I don't want any further experiments with language schools for her (it was a bad idea during the summer, I told my parents so, they still insisted), and any very good "normal" tutor is hard to get at such a short notice, they don't have enough time. We don't want anyone online, or rather she is so much against it that I've abandonned this idea too. The year of online learning has done enormous damage on teens, it makes some (including my sister) hate videocall lessons, and it is not enough of a preparation for the in person exam situation.

We are trying one tutor, who has some qualities, but is "not intensive enough, I learn more with you". Of course, because I treat her more like a medschool student than a kid, and I KNOW that it is possible to learn so much within this time frame. I did it myself a few times. My "methods" are also inspired by stuff like the FSI drills, my priority is not some stupid focus on pretending to love the language. I want her to succeed at this, to stop the cycle of self fulfilling prophecies of failure.

I demand a lot of effort from her (she is now looking forward to go to school for some rest :-D), but I encourage and praise her all the time, because I think a partially correct answer, a corrected mistake from the last time, or a good thought process are important and a necessary part of the process. As a result, she gives more and more 100% correct answers, she is faster, she no longer struggles with some stuff. But it takes a lot of my energy too :-D

In a few weeks, she'll be facing the exam. The main teacher, who would have really taught her a lot, had it not been a covid year, means well, is organised, and any damage she does is "only" out of ignorance (she has probably never seen a person learn differently than at a very slow class pace). The two other members of the comitee are the classical unprofessional b...s with unresolved psychological issues of their own. Fortunately, a parent will be present this time, which should at least keep them away from interogations on unpleasant issues totally unrelated to the subject, repeatedly suggesting "you'd be happier in another school, wouldn't you?" and so on. Whether they'll refrain from constantly making disaproving faces on each other (as if the student wasn't there), I don't know. Even had I had any doubts about my sister's depiction of the exam, a personal encounter with some them confirmed everything. Really, teachers should be forced to pass iq, personality, and mental health checks.

Her level at the beginning of the intensive month:
+Quite solid knowledge of the TA1 vocabulary, thanks to having turned her coursebook vocab into a Memrise course. A solid chunk of work done there, I'm proud of her. (but yes, now she hates memrise. that's ok.)
+some parts of the grammar clearly stuck well, she is good at logical thinking, which helps
+she is actually quite good with declinations

-the verbs, a total disaster and chaos. The language school did a lot of damage actually
-destroyed confidence, making her incapable to speak (even to make a sound at some moments. Congrats, "teachers". Turning a very talkative person into a mute, that's an achievement)
-bad habits from previous langauge learning at school, she had to fail an exam to discard the notions like "I need to memorise and recite this". At least now she accepts my methods better.

Our methods: We follow TA 1 (TA 2 will come next), and also Nová cvičebnice německé gramatiky. A very dry looking and huge book, we call it "the green swine", but it looks like my sister loves the progress achieved through the drills. Inspired by the FSI, I enrich the exercises in both resources by further substitution drills, by practicing more stuff at one sentence where appropriate, and so on. Another teacher is supposed to make her speak much more, more spontaneously, and talk on her really in German while doing so.

I try very hard to streamline this, we don't have time to play with other tools. If she is not fond of Memrise, not enough to do it on top of the other stuff, then we don't have time for it either and it has already served the purpose. No additional workbooks, srs, nothing.

Yes, I am relying a lot on the key to exercises, I check a lot of stuff (even when I am sure) in a dictionary, I consult konjugator.reverso.net almost all the time (and I make her conjugate a lot! The tables drilling makes a lot of a difference! As long as you also apply the stuff, of course). For now, it is not that bad. But I'll be out of my depth at some of the TA2 stuff, and I am simply not good enough to practice spontaneous conversation with her, I cannot be sure everything I say is correct. That's why I'd like someone else, but we cannot afford to wait and choose. We have one tutor, with limited time though, but either he starts to focus on speaking (and the exam speaking situation) and practice of the stuff we cannot do at home, or we'll need someone else.

Our progress after one week:
-Units 1-5 of Themen Aktuell 1, covered very thoroughly, started unit 6 (with the past tense)
-related chapters from Cvičebnice. Which actually teach stuff covered a bit later in TA as well. All the "aha, I already sort of know this!" moments are numerous and wonderful!

I see so much progress every day!!! Every half day! She retains stuff, she learns from her mistakes. She finally gets rid of bad habits (and attitude) built mainly by school language classes. Unfortunately, the anxiety stays and is the main danger for her performance at the exam. And she feels a bit betrayed by stuff like plurals being about stupid memorisation, while everybody tells you "German is such a logical language". Yes, I know how that feels :-D

Week 2 plans:
-Units 6-10 from TA1, further solidification of the basics (you cannot approach other tenses without the present one, and expect to keep some order in it all)
-More exercises from the Cvičebnice. It is divided in levels (ABCD), which do not fit too well with the CEFR (it is an old book, nowadays such a treasure wouldn't be published probably). I think we'll finish the whole "A" level and a part of B, picking the topics started in TA. It does wonders, she improves so much!

We try to put in several hours a day. I think we pulled like 8 or 9 hours on Saturday, it was so efficient!
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:23 pm

Another day of the "crazy project" most people around don't believe in (some try to be kind, but the pity in their regards, or the interest in her other options, are obvious). She is so good actually. I'd say she might be more gifted at langauges than me, but she is unfortunately much less independent as a learner, which is an issue. And she is much less stubborn (but that makes her much more likeable :-D ). Our two main dangers are not having enough time, every half day counts, and the anxiety caused by teachers. The anxiety is worse.

We've mostly finished unit 6 (started yesterday), which is probably the densest one, because Perfekt gets added there. We have 2/3 of one huge table left to finish completely, we'll turn it into paper cards. We are moving faster in the Arbeitsbuch than the Kursbuch. Still in unit 5 in the Kursbuch, which is ok, it allows some repetition after a bit of a break and allows the stuff to sink in. I don't think doing everything once and abandoning it would be a wise strategy, not even in such a short "project".

Adding a new tense, with a lot of info, has also been slightly destabilising the previously solid structures (the present tense, the imperative, the sentences with modal verbs). So, the solution is further strenghtening of those, changing exercises, returning to an "old" conjugation again, remembering an example from the previous days (the funniest, stupidest, or least "sticky" ones come to mind fortunately). It seems to work fine, but we must not stop.

Also, if she can do the Kursbuch stuff (more oriented on speaking) with the other tutor and with more practice of fluidity and reactions to real German, I'll be happy about it. But I think the grammar drilling goes the best with me (at least for now), the tutor is sometimes not too clear (I heard him explain something, it was really confusing even for someone knowing the stuff already). But he seems to demand precision and a lot of speaking. Now we just need to communicate what stuff is better left for me, so that she profits the most from his limited time. What I really like is that he seems to see her potential, and not just a lost case.

A funny idea of my sister's: she's worried I might even call her at midnight and demand she conjugate something :-D :-D :-D I am almost considering it.

The conjugations and tons of example sentences are making a huge difference.

We did approximately 3,5 hours today, after her school, and like half an hour after dinner. Unlike me, she is not an owl, she is tired early. Which gives us a great opportunity to make her get used to pressure, to doing well under not ideal conditions, and so on. And to also accepting discomfort. The reward is progress and she seems to enjoy that. Neither of us loves German, but that's not the point.

Yes, I am a bit cruel. :-D

A few notes:

-Themen Aktuell is really one of the best German coursebooks, or any language coursebooks, on the market. So well made, that a student using it together with the Arbeitsbuch can succeed even totally independently. No idea, why Hueber didn't make a newer edition and instead has started making Menschen. I looked at that one, and I found it totally horrible.

But Themen has some issues now, due to being old. The newest edition is almost 20 years old, with just reprints. The photos are funny (and stereotypical), that's the least horrible part. Laughing while learning is good afterall. But verbs "rauchen" and "fernsehen" are everywhere :-D It was actually embarassing, when she was asked for an example of a weak verb at school, and she could remember only "rauchen" :-D The technology vocab is not ok (today's students should learn stuff like "to send an email", "to download a file", and not "kassetten"), the food chapter is a bit too old fashioned and stereotypical, even most middle aged and younger Germans eat differently than just Wurst, Schweinbraten, and an unspecified salad.

I knew about that already, but the extense of the problem is simply much more obvious, when a teen looks at it. It's half way to the FSI.

(And I have a superpower, due to being "old". She was amazed at how quickly I could search in a paper dictionary, when our internet had some very slow moments).

-we both hate and feel betrayed by the "German is so logical and regular" myth spreaders. :-D Nope. Doing the exercises on plurals is one of the risky parts, likely to trigger anxiety and anger together. It is important to do those too, but I need to space them, and chop them in smaller doses. But there are several issues like this. But in many other moments, we really profit from the Czech and German ressemblances.

-We are finally deconstructing some bad habits from language classes. And I must say I cannot blame just one teacher, or German. I see the results of what I've been criticising for years. The incapable expat English teachers, the extremely stupid French teacher. She only now gets used to precision being important. She starts to recognize the value of understanding what the sentence really says (including analysing the grammar and vocab, if needed), and not just a very approximative guess. And finally applies well understood grammar, instead of trying to parrot stuff. That's what she's been taught, and what the "successful" classmates of hers do. And why they'll fail to really learn a language and be at a disadvantage later in life. Hopefully, all this hell may yet be good for her in the end. But it is a very harsh learning path.
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Cavesa
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Tue Sep 07, 2021 4:15 pm

Today an early "report". She is now in her lesson with the other teacher, already had a few hours with me. She is now much more ready for conversation and mainly speaking practice, than a few days ago.

We've covered Unit 7 in the Arbeitsbuch, and accidentally mixed in what will be "presented" in Unit 8 (tons of prepositions, she is rather good at them). We have yet to do most of the exercises, but we've done a lot of drilling on just the presented material. Almost every sentence is an opportunity to drill various grammar issues/features on it.

I've introduced a game. We are reviewing the Partizip Perfekt on small paper notes. I'm trying to make a sort of a Leitner system, but not with reviews after an amount of time (we don't have that luxury), but with some approximative gaps between reviews (basically in between other stuff, at the beginning and end of the session, and so on), and the main point being getting the cards through five levels drawn on paper, which I named after parts of the house. Don't expect any art, I just draw several not too straight lines on a piece of paper :-D. As she struggles to remember Stockwerk and Erdgeschoss, it's useful for this detail too :-D So, now I am considered more cruel than her former math teacher, who loved to make the class "play a game", which was usually a difficult surprise test with a confusing grading mechanism. :-D

But she is getting much better at this! Actually, she is getting some good answers faster then me, and this applies to not only the Partizip :-) My brain may be getting old. :-D

Of course she is still making mistakes, but there are significantly fewer of them, and they change. But I need to make her review older stuff too, but without slowing us down too much. Fortunately, the Cvičebnice is designed very well, it helps. But revising an old problem (at least in one or two sentences) seems to be helpful, not sure whether enough. Of course I am a bit worried, that all this might be too much and the whole palace may crumble, so I try to prevent that. But I think she is better and better.

I may have a few questions, probably will post in the German group, if I fail to find a good resource. For example: We are being explained and reexplained totally simple and obvious stuff about the word order ad nauseam, but not the actually burning questions, such as how to order several things belonging to the Angabe, or how to order stuff in sentences with two Ergänzungen (we just had this in the book, but with only a partial information). The basic resources online either don't go into this, or there are probably advanced resources too hard for me and a bit too distant from a simple and practical explanation. And there are also resources in English, which however use English terminology or seem to avoid the proper terminology.

It is not a big deal, we've covered all the actually explained stuff well, she has no problems with the word order. But it would be nice to know more.

What is a major problem: the Plurals. I've negotiated introducing the Plural exercises in between other stuff (before, it was triggering total despair), but the whole principle of having to memorise basically twice as much vocabulary, because majority simply doesn't follow a simple rule, that is still stressful. She doesn't want to do Memrise anymore, ok, so we need to at least do a lot of the exercises (but not at the expense of other stuff), so that the brain records the plurals from practice.

For now, she fails them most times, including things she has encountered several times already. It is not a deal breaker, unless she happens to get a whole plural focused exercise in the written part of her exam. And it's an unnecessary problem overall, at least the very common words should also be ok in the plurals. Looks like I need to include them in the drills more often.

I'll be calling another tutor candidate, recommended by a friend. To cover, if I need to go abroad, and also to do a lot of proper speaking practice. Another important point is practice of speaking with people, who are not me. But I am a bit worried, the person is doing a teaching degree. And based on all the experience with teachers, including the recent ones included in this situation, I am a bit worried. On one hand, a good and actually qualified teacher could be a blessing. But I am afraid it will be a well meaning but incapable moron, who will apply some nonsense from their faculty and accidentally sabotage her chances. It's hard not to have prejudices against people with (or doing) a teaching degree, given the huge sample of trash that I've encountered. I need to keep an open mind and try to get her on board of this already running train. A huge advantage of this one is a significant amount of free time in the next few weeks, which could untie my hands for other stuff I need to do (such us more intensive job hunting, now that my paperwork may finally progress a bit).

P.S. I told her about this forum and log, she is ok with me writing about this project. And the very short description of the community actually made a very good impression. There are people, who enjoy languages, I am not the only weird person on the planet. And there are a few members, who could pass the high school leaving exam in twenty languages (which tells you also a lot about the exam).
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Cavesa
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Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Thu Sep 09, 2021 9:30 am

About yesterday (sister is now taking some rest at school, will study hard in the afternoon. Yes, she considers school to be very relaxed compared to this project :-D ):

We are now in Unit 8 of the Arbeitsbuch. She is good, but we really need to practice everything more and more. Many pieces of the puzzle are now together, so we need it to become more and more solid. The Arbeitsbuch is excellent, but I adapt the exercises a lot, make them harder, add further layers to them.

Btw I complained about this extensively a few pages ago: it would be so nice if at least the Kursbuch and Arbeitsbuch taught the same order of the cases, and used just the names, not the numbers.

I hope her Memrised vocab is really solid. She really knows a high % of what we encounter in the exercises, a few words don't stick. However, there are many more in the word lists. She had been Memrising them, I'll try to use as many of them as possible in the drills, now that the grammar is more ok. But trying to make her keep reviewing the Memrise deck is a path to just despair now. I think the tool served very well, but burnt her out a bit.

The other teacher she's been seeing (only twice a week) is a bit of an issue. We are trying to convince her to keep working with him too in spite of the problems. Why: yes, I see the complaints as valid, but she needs someone for speaking (if he will finally do mainly that), and she needs to practice talking to other people. Just reading is not a too good activity (and we are doing it together as well), I hoped he'd focus more on speaking (especially the Kursbuch situations). And the work with him is less intensive, that's true as well, I hoped more stuff would be covered per lesson (two hours). They didn't even cover all that had rested of unit 5 in the Kursbuch last time, just some parts (the more reading oriented ones it seems, not the speaking oriented ones).

And it is totally wrong to jump in the middle of her sentence with a correction, the right way is to let her say the whole sentence. If there is a mistake, either she'll notice herself (because the German with the verbs at the end is a bit tricky in this), or she'll be corrected and lead to the right answer. He jumps in the middle and therefore destroys the learning opportunity and the sentence creating opportunity. However, many teachers do that, and the school monsters, who will examine her, are the same sort of people. They might do this even more, due to being eager to jump at every opportunity to destabilize her and to prove her wrong even before she actually is really wrong. He is polite and not cruel, he doesn't humiliate her, so this fault is ok as an exam situation practice. I also sort of hope it will build more of the "think before speaking" reflex, instead of the "just say something asap, to not look stupid" one.

We will get another one next week. A young woman, still studying. I talked to her yesterday and explained the situation. She says she went into teaching exactly for this, to counter a bit how most teachers treat students. It is a bit sad, that so many people have the same experience, that a language teacher=a source of humiliation and psychological suffering. She is open to normal demands (such as no, no translation exercises needed, we need speaking practice from you. And yes, we definitely need you to do stuff based on this Kursbuch, not random topics for the level). She also showed some self reflection and honestly answered about her level. Yes, it is a bit unsettling, that a person not too far from a teaching diploma has only B2 active skills and C1 passive skills. But she was honest about it, most people would expect me to respect their teaching (unfinished) degree as a proof of complete perfection. She knew what I was talking about, when asking about the level, and when describing what we needed. And her German is still a few levels above mine :-D

So, we'll see. Until then, we keep the already started path.

I've been considering looking for a native on Italki, but have discarded the thought. She needs to speak with non native teachers at her exam, not natives. And most teachers on such sites don't follow coursebooks, don't know how to work really intensively, so it would be a waste of too much time to look for someone fitting the needs. Yes, it would be ideal for the "just speaking" practice, but I'm afraid we cannot afford to waste a dozen hours on just too easy sample lessons. As most Italki teachers (based on my experience, but some discussions online confirm it) don't even respond to questions before the class, it is impossible to get something else. It would also be so great, if the teachers mentioned on profiles what coursebooks they are used to working with, if any.
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Cavesa
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4245
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Fri Sep 10, 2021 1:26 pm

It went so well. Until yesterday. The problem is not really learning, but anxiety and total despair. I hate teachers so much, so many of them do just this, that's the main result of their "work". Turning a very resistant teen, who has faced objectively worse challenges, into a total mess. What an achievement. That's why people disrespect the teaching profession so much, the minority of good teachers get judged together with the majority of such worthless and harmful trash. From what we've heard, some of the teachers of other subjects are even making public jokes about my sister. And there is no punishment for them, every bad consequence and all the blame always falls on the student, never on the real culprit. I hate them so much. Even an average murderer is less of a problem for the society, than an average teacher, if you look at the amount of victims.

I partially succeeded to get her out of a very bad moment thanks to a Harry Potter movie in German, we've seen half of it. Quite a big part of the dialogues is understandable with the TA 1 level, it seemed like she was doing quite ok. A few more exercises done but very passively. A bit later, we managed to put in half an hour of serious studying. That's far from enough, but it's better than even several times longer time of passive resistence.

It's very exhausting. It's exhausting to give moral support to someone so deep in anxiety at times. To do a teaching job better than the "professionals" and at such a pace. And to do all that aside of my own projects, that have been falling apart.
3 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4245
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:42 pm

Yes, we managed to put in one more hour. Not 100% intensive, but done in the good way, using the brain. We'll see. It was such a relief, that she was able to go on, at least for a while.

We've just been enjoying the preposition chaos. https://www.deutsch-als-fremdsprache.de ... hp?4,32436

Here is a nice answer to one of our questions, annoyed by the Germans:
"Herr Müller wohnt in der Beispiel-Straße." bedeutet, der normale Herr Müller wohnt oder lebt in einem Haus, in einer Wohnung in dieser Straße.

"Herr Müller wohnt an der Beispiel-Straße." bedeutet, der reiche Herr Müller wohnt in einer Villa, in einem Schloss oder einem Häuschen mit großem Grundstück an dieser Straße.

"Herr Müller wohnt auf der Straße." bedeutet, der arme Herr Müller ist obdachlos, ohne festes Zuhause, deshalb hat die Straße keinen Namen.


Nope, German is not systematic or logical.
5 x

Cavesa
Black Belt - 4th Dan
Posts: 4245
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
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Re: Back to the roots and water them with coffee

Postby Cavesa » Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:20 pm

We've finally finished the hellish and cursed unit 8, we're now in the middle of unit 9. Only a slight delay behind the plan, but we are already practicing some stuff, that will be fully "introduced" later. We're finally clearing up the mess in pronouns (recently created by new grammar features mixed in), she declines well, she applies the word order, and so on. We just have to keep up.

The main reason of the delay is not a study based one, but it is a difficult situation psychologically. It is not easy at all. But another smaller reason is also this unit being a bit weirdly designed, we've also experienced a sort of mini plateau (or at least she perceived it as such).

Unit 8 is imho worse designed than the previous units, or the following one. Other than that, TA1 is well paced and really makes you notice the progress, and it nicely builds new stuff upon the old stuff. It looks like this unit mostly ignores tenses and other older material, and just floods you with prepositions. It feels confused, and looks as if it was taken from somewhere else.

The exercises are sometimes a bit weird, with too complicated wordings without explanation, we were not explained the an/auf/in differences enough, there are sometimes totally new types of examples, and it is not always obvious what to do. Add to this a slight confusion about stuff like "look at the map on page X", but there is none on that page (we have no clue what map the authors meant in this case, the main map for the exercises on town directions didn't fit), and so on. It looks like small things, but they add up together to a feeling of confusion.

And that's really not helpful, when you really don't have much time and a lot depends on your success.

Btw today, my sister took an online test from the language school she went to during the summer (and which was not really too great in my opinion, given the results). She now tested out of two levels and in the middle of the third one (which is above the level required at the exam). She really does retain stuff, it works fine. I just need her to hold together and be patient with my methods. Which clearly work.

And our hellish house of verbs (=adapted Leitner for past partizip) is working too. We've finally moved a few words to the highest level (auf dem Dach), where they'll rest until she needs to revise them for something else one day, they are "finished". We still have a dozen or so verbs to throw to the lowest level (der Keller). :-D
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