Describe your last attempt to learn something that did not come easily to you.
I am attempting to relearn French. I learned a good deal of French 40+ years ago when I was in high school and I did quite well. I had wonderful teachers and could read and write French passably. I read French literature and corresponded with one of my teachers when I was at university while she was at The Sorbonne studying for her doctorate. But then I got busy with life and lost my practice and fluency with the language, especially the speaking part of the language for nearly 40 nears.
Enter the thought that, to keep my mind active in my advanced years, I would relearn French. I have always loved the language and the culture so I decided to make the effort. I decided to use several different media to accomplish this feat. I am working with Rosetta Stone™. That is my primary source. It is a computer-based program that incorporates reading, listening, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, writing, and speaking with live studio-coach mentoring by native speakers. It also include games and the opportunity to chat with other French language learners and play the games with them online. So you work through the lessons at your own pace and sign up for studio time with from one to three other learners, or you can have a private session with a tutor. When I had my first studio session, I was quite nervous, since the entire session is in conducted in French, sort of like a Skpe session, where you can see the mentor, but the mentor cannot see you but hears you. He or she asks you questions and guided the conversation and you respond with the vocabulary you’ve learned and the picture prompts the mentor controls. It was actually fun, and I was surprised that some of my “old” French was coming back to me! Studio wasn’t nearly as frightening as I had thought it would be. Now I’m on Unit 9 and have a session next week after Lesson 2 (there is a session after Lesson 2 and Lesson 4 in each Unit) and I feel more comfortable each time in Studio. There have been times when it was a private session, when it was just me and the mentor, which was nice. The half hour goes by really quickly.
I also use print media such as ebooks for verb drills and vocabulary lists and grammar, and I am using a mystery book in French with an accompanying CD called Les Portes Tordues (The Twisted Doors)©. It is divided into chapters with an exercise after each chapter that covers vocabulary and grammar. It is an entertaining way to study French.
Relearning French has not been easy for me. There is a lot to remember and memorize. The spellings have been difficult for me. I am not the best English language speller so the writing part of my French computer program has been a challenge. Speaking well has also been a challenge. My accent needs a great deal of work. My reading and listening is better than my writing and speaking. But the good news is that I am making progress. I can see that in my work and the reviews that pop up periodically on my computer screen. My psychiatrist tells me that learning a language is good for keeping the brain active and for preventing Alheimzer’s disease. I hope she’s right. At any rate, I just hope I relearn enough French to be able to write it again and read it again like I used to.