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No more classes for 2008 : conversation only July 26, 2008

Posted by Paul Rees in german.

A fellow student of German asked me in an e-mail if I was going to continue with my German class when the current term ends in two weeks. Here, a little edited, is my reply.

I have decided not to do the next term of the class this year. I am definitely not giving up learning German, however I have decided for the remainder of the year to focus on conversation practice and vocabulary expansion.

Of course I have the trip to Germany in September, but I have reached a point in my everyday life where I now have a growing number of German friends, locally and online as well as the meet-up group to practice with. It is not unrealistic for me to say that if I applied myself I could have conversation practice 3 to 5 times per week. Towards the end of the year I plan to do a couple of refresher sessions with a tutor on the grammar. Then come 2009 I will enrol to continue with classroom learning.

I came to this decision because it is clear to me that the class is not a useful vehicle for me to learn to converse. In saying that I am not laying the blame for that failure on anyone other than myself and my style of learning. Interestingly, some of my German friends have encouraged me to take a rest from the class and concentrate on conversations. For me the class has become an intellectual exercise, something like learning to break a code. I do that in English and never really get the feeling for the language necessary to speak it. Nevertheless the grammar is important and I will definitely return to it next year.