At the beginning of June, I decided I would stretch my mental muscles by brushing up my spoken French. I choose Learnlight the same learning platform that I use to teach English. One 30-minute conversation a week with a French Language coach, plus grammar, reading and listening homework beforehand. Why not stand in my student's shoes, so to speak, and experience the same challenges that my students do?

My First week - Google translate was my friend! My spoken French was halting, laced with mistakes. I struggled through the lesson. Now I understand the nervousness of new students at their first lesson..

My second week was a little better. Taking my own advice, I completed my homework beforehand prepared me for my conversation about asking for and giving directions. Alas, I am just as directionally challenged in French as I am in English!

This past week, we discussed the weather during my lesson. Trying to explain the concepts of heat index and windchill, features of Chicago weather, to my instructor who lives in Barcelona, was quite the challenge.  Finding myself beginning to think in French..

Am now trying some more of the advice I give to my English students, I viewed some news reports in French, then watched the same news in English. They speak French so fast!

What have I learned so far? Its so hard, thinking in another language, while trying to speak it, forming the word sounds correctly, so that I'm understood. Listening to another language and trying to comprehend the meanings is extremely challenging.  Take it one step at a time, the more effort I put into it, the more I'll gain. I'm developing great insight into the struggles of my English Language students.

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