You can't re-have fun: What I'm learning from the Lernen to Talk show

Happy Friday everyone, and I hope you've enjoyed this week of Lernen to Talk-ing. Having documented my guest in word and sound, I like doing a post where I get to reflect on all this information. I try to see where their good ideas can help me and my students with our own language learning adventures.

The inspiring part

So Mickey Mangan…when I first saw his trailer video, I saw a specific approach to language learning (you move there, you open your mouth, it's often called immersion). But in fact, there's more to this.

The Lernen to Talk Show (LTTS) is so interesting because of the way it documents an experience, no matter where it's at on any progress scale. Language learning is so often measured in external ways like the CEFR, but the LTTS just isn't like that. It's back to basics, never mind goal setting or achieving specific measures of fluency. Mickey learns German because it's fun to learn a language, and it's fun because you get to hang around with new people in new situations.

Pocket Lessons

At the end of this fun week, there are three points I get to take away and share with my students:



Trust the process

Let me tell you why language learning is called language learning. Being rubbish is the whole point. You're not learning if you're perfect to start with, and making mistakes doesn't mean you're not awesome.

Everyone has days where things don't work out to plan, and days where you'll even forget the easy words. But these are not a reason to give up. Remember that learning is not instant, and you continuously adjust course on the way to the destination.

In simple terms, stop worrying that you'll never be fluent in your target language and develop a sense of humour about the mistakes you make, the words you forget and the words you invent.

Be more of a jester, less of a parrot

It's clear that the presenter of the LTTS is a man who is an extrovert and entertainer. Mickey himself actually used the word "jester". All that extroversion allowed him to connect and distract from any linguistic weaknesses.

The message that I saw in this was about having fun while talking to people and growing as a RESULT. It's too tempting to imagine a language goal that describes something like "fluency" or "95% in the A2 exam". But actually, you can correct the errors anytime but you can't have retrospective fun.

In my lessons, I definitely try to share that philosophy with students. German or French are not the end goal, they're a means to an end. I felt encouraged seeing the improvements that kick in when someone just wants to talk, and I'll definitely take this message away with me and try to find more "language angles" of what motivates my students in life.

Do your thing

Mickey's description of starting to learn German was that he got hold of a CD and book, ignored the book and played the CD. Maybe this is just me, but such disregard of rules and the way you're supposed to do things is almost revolutionary. I would have never done that, and as a tutor I worry so much about whether I'm teaching my students things in a way that is acceptable to others.

When talking to Mickey Mangan, you get a sense of his independent attitude of "ah, don't worry about that, it's garbage" (though I'd call it rubbish). As long as we're all getting regular practice in and we know how it's supposed to sound at some point in the future, I think it's all good.

I've been your host for today's blog article

Well, what remains to say except a great big thank you to Mickey Mangan for enduring lots of questions from me, and I hope you stay positive and motivated in your language learning adventures.

Be sure to check out the blog next week when I write about things non related to the Lernen to Talk show!