So, I’ve now had a few lessons with Cathy and things are going well. And yes, I have been doing ALL my Hausaufgaben – nothing has been eaten.
I’m learning quite a mixture:
- Understanding umlauts and how they change the pronunciation of a letter / word
- Practising numbers, saying the time, ages of pets and people
- Listening to songs / YouTube videos to hone in on words, phrases and sentences
- Business phrases – booking appointments, introducing myself and others
- Personal phrases – my family, my holiday, what I’m cooking tonight etc
I’m enjoying it. As I’ve mentioned before, Duolingo has really helped me to learn quite a lot of words, but I needed to put them into practice. During these lessons I really do feel like I’m making a lot of progress and the feedback I’m receiving is really positive and encouraging.
What I’m also enjoying is the flexibility of my lessons and how the content isn’t set in stone. There was a lesson I needed to move, which Cathy was happy to re-arrange for me, and the content is flexible – if I need to spend more time on something, we do, without the risk of “messing up” or “putting us behind” any future lessons. After all, you can’t put a finger on how long the learning process will take. To put a limit on yourself to reach a certain level in a specific number of hours is not only stressful but can be unrealistic. For example, how many of you can say you passed your driving test first time after only 10 hours of driving lessons?
Am I still using Duolingo? Yes, I am, but more as a supplementary tool. To have it open at any time, day, or night, for as little or as long as I want, is extremely handy. One 1:1 lesson a week is great and is full of useful information but there is a lot of time in between them, so I find Duolingo helps to keep words and phrases fresh in my head until the next lesson comes along.
Duolingo app. Source: Adobe Stock
Overall, from my personal experience so far, I’d say this: If you’re looking to learn a language for a hobby or for trips abroad, a language app is a good start, but it will only get you so far. Without having the rules explained to you (or spending a lot of time working them out yourself), you will get confused, as I did, and I guarantee that you will struggle. Even if you understand the rules of one foreign language, it doesn’t mean you can copy and paste them into another (e.g., applying the rules of learning Spanish and applying them to German) – it’s not the same and it won’t work!
If you need it for something more serious, such as for business purposes, as far as I’m concerned nothing beats the personal touch. Cathy is a great tutor. She has years of experience and can adapt her teaching methods to me, in a way that I understand, and will make sure I’m happy with what I’ve learned before we move on.
Working at Dialogue, I interact with so many language tutors who are like Cathy. I see the student progress reports, the highs and lows, the assessment results, and the feedback forms. I see how the personal touch is so effective and even in today’s age of technology, is still relevant and required.
It’s working for me, so why not try it yourself? Give us a call and I’ll be happy to help. Bis bald!