Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Off course

My first Arabic story!
During the spring I started learning Arabic at an evening class in town. I did most of the learning at home and on train trips but the weekly lesson time was a good reminder to keep working and gave me a framework for my learning. We all need a bit of structure in our lives and activities without deadlines tend to get pushed down the to-do list. I continued on my own over the summer but at a much slower pace and very irregularly. I'd like to continue the course but it was cancelled because there were too few participants. I write so often here about self-directed learning that I should be able to continue without the help of a course but I realise that I need those deadlines and a bit of pressure.

How many people sign up for courses at all levels only to be told that there aren't enough participants to start the course? People with ideas, plans and lots of interest. How many give up their dreams there and then? How many come back next term? Here's the limitation of building learning around the classroom paradigm; if the course doesn't run, no learning. It's a supply and demand market but should learning be dependent on such forces? If the course doesn't run just find a group on the net with a similar interest and learn together. Those are the skills that will be needed in future and need to be taught all through school. The art of helping yourself, networking and learning together.

I'm sure there are opportunities on the net to continue my studies. I've got lots of self-study material as well as podcasts and so on but I realise that I need the motivation provided by regular meetings/checkpoints (face-to-face or online) to push me onwards. Any suggestions?

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