This week, I'll take a break from updating you on my Arabic status (although, apart from my usual daily work I'm certainly not taking a break from learning the language!) and share three posts in or about French with you.
I'd very simply like to point you to this Youtube channel. It has an insane 224,000+ videos with full course materials from absolute beginners to advanced French, with many videos (such as the one embedded above) being several hours long (almost nine hours for this single one embedded above!!)
Unless you have seventeen lifetimes to spare, it's not realistic to go through the entire channel, but you will likely find something discussing a particular difficulty with the language you may be having.
Why pay a lecturer when you can get it for free? Teachers should be language facilitators
One reason I want to share this is to make a point about how language education is changing, especially when I discuss later how I feel students and teachers should be working together (since I'm working with teachers several hours a day right now for my Arabic).
I think the potential of learning online from what most consider something that you must go to classes for, was recently excellently demonstrated by Scott Young, as he successfully learned MIT's Computer Science four year course in one year without actually going to MIT.
If it's a generic course material style learning environment, then getting a private lesson is a waste of money. And if it's in a classroom environment, then it's still hard to see why you have to even physically be there. In this day and age more material is being offered completely for free that you can access from home, and this Youtube channel is an excellent example of that.
(If you know of similar channels and resources for other languages, feel free to leave them in the comments. If I find others, I'll be sure to share it on my Facebook page!)
If your teacher is doing all of the talking, with all students just sitting and listening, then in my view they are a bad language teacher (that's what lecturers are for).
A teacher should act as a language facilitator – encouraging you and the classroom to speak, and use the language, correcting the students, and giving them scenarios where they can start using their language in some way, or at least getting them to do exercises during the class. If your classroom is nearly entirely passive, with the teacher doing all the work, then it might as well be on Youtube and you could save yourself a lot of time and money, and pick lessons more appropriate to your level rather than go generic.
So check out a course like this online, and take advantage of your time with a human being teaching you the language to ask them about specific issues causing you difficulty, and most importantly, to speak with them and get some real practice in!
Let me know your thoughts on this, and share your similar resources for non-French languages, in the comments below! Two more posts/videos in or about French coming up this week!