Most of us seem to be really eager for quick fixes, for whatever it may be. And language learning is just the same.
In my case, I need German for my work as well as for whenever I visit Switzerland or Germany. You really need to get into learning and absorbing the language from day one in this type of situation – paying good attention in class, and committing everything to memory so it comes out when it should!
The textbook is great – geared exactly for the lessons, and while the teachers are an important part of the lesson, we, the students are the most important. If the teacher speaks in English I have noticed that we learn a lot slower – particularly for that first important couple of levels where we were learning everyday communication skills.
But then – in the higher levels I’ve been attending term after term after term – the benefits really do come through by focusing on the long term goal of really getting to know the language, reading newspapers, watching movies, chatting to people and so on. Not only can we “get by”, we (myself and my fellow students who have been striving through the last 3 or 4 terms) are now really speaking in German and getting to the point of being able to understand what’s happening behind the scenes.
In other words, it is only once you reach the higher levels that you realise although it’s great to be able to say what you want, or to have an informal chat at a mountain ski resort, you miss out on the whole world of what makes German speaking people tick if you stick to the most basic elements of the language.
I am glad I have stuck to it – and will continue to stick to it. It’s been well worth it.