What a semester!
I can certainly say it has had it’s ups and downs, and I have definitely done a lot of learning and growing.
In the beginning
It had been a while since I had used the small amount of French that I had learned in my core French program. My language knowledge was very ‘egocentric’ as almost all of my sentences were pieces of information about me.
I spent some time evaluating and discussing apps with fellow classmates who were also working to learn languages.
Duolingo was a front runner almost immediately. It had several positives that came up: it was free, it has the ability to set a daily goal, placement testing, it was named as a top language learning app in several reviews, my classmates were finding similar results in their searches – and lastly, in speaking with friends who know other languages, they recommended Duolingo!
After determining all of these factors, Duolingo became my go to for language learning with my 50XP goal set! The first few weeks were really positive, with lots of vocabulary learning, and reaching my daily goal consistently.
I supplemented my learning by trying to have conversations in French with friends who speak the language, and I also turned to French radio as a supplementary technology piece.
Adding read-alouds in French also seemed like a beneficial idea, so I began practicing and recording myself reading french picture books, and then I started to expand on the platforms I was using to learn French, enter Mango.
Through my public library, I was able to gain access to Mango for free, and saw the conversational benefits to learning in this new format. (Sometimes Duolingo has sentences that come across as weird or inappropriate, where as Mango allows you to practice and build upon sentences that you may use in different contexts).
Around this time, I was also searching for some ‘native speaker’ support, and tried to utilize some connections I had made on Twitter via Speaky. This unfortunately felt reminiscent of a dating website and somewhat soured me on that avenue of my learning. All was not lost however, as I connected with @frenchetc and there were many ‘mini’ lessons I was able to complete and consider thanks to their tweets!
Additionally, after having one of my language learning blogs retweeted, I was also able to make a connection and have an offer of help!
One of the places I experienced the most growth was thanks to my PLN of classmates. There were so many of us learning languages (albeit different ones) and the ability to discuss where we were experiencing success and challenges was really helpful in adapting my own plan, as well as experiencing new things. The biggest challenge of the semester happened when Genna had us in awe with her Spanish rendition of “Let it Go” and Vanessa was quick to challenge the rest of the ‘language learners’ to do the same. It was a long hard week of practicing, but I managed to squeak out the French version of “Parti la bas”
I have to say that I had lofty goals of becoming ‘fluent’ by the time this class was over… well, that just did not happen! However, I am well on my way, and I will continue to work on my Duolingo and Mango lessons daily. As my title implies, this is not the end of learning french for me- my family and I will be heading to Europe this summer, and I am challenging myself to ‘function’ en francais while we are there!
A bientot mes amis! Vous voir sur Twitter.