There’s a very interesting comment from the misleadingly named DaiTwp on the previous post. For those of you who are, like me, too lazy to go back to old posts, here it is in full:
The potential for this style of learning i.e. a massive kickstart at the beginning is huge for Welsh. If targeted courses like your Spanish in a Restaurant etc could be done for Welsh in the Workplace, or Parents who want their children to go to Welsh medium school (just to give two classic fields as an example) could be done in the same way whereby learners spend a whole day or two and then possibly meet up with tutors and or speakers to practice what they’ve learned who can lead them through the conversation as in your examples, it would give a massive boost to the language.
For me the biggest barrier to learning a new language (especially if your a monoglot) is the psychological one whereby you don’t believe it possible and simply cannot comprehend how it will be done. THis is compounded if you only attend a 2hour/week class as you never subject yourself to enough of the language to breakdown the barrier and see the clear path that lies ahead of you (and is why that drop of rates for night classes are so huge). In truth learners on these sorts of courses forget as much as they learn and so come to the end of the course if they last that long with little more than a couple of sentences.
The way you outline above breaks this barrier of believing language acquisition is impossible for anyone over 7 yrs old on the first day of learning. So not only do the have all the language skills they’ve newly acquired from their intensive day but also the motivation and belief to carry on and see the journey through.
I agree very strongly with what Dai’s written here, and it’s one of the most important things that we’ll be looking at in the next few months.
In fact, it’s one of those strange moments when what someone else has written is so close to what you think yourself, you have to go back and double-check that you haven’t been leaving comments on your own blog under a pseudonym…;-)
When you have an experience such as I had with Dutch, or Louis or Susanna with Spanish, it gives you a huge amount of confidence – and if that confidence boost comes on the first day you get to grips with a new language, perhaps even the first time you try to acquire a new language, it could make a radical change to your belief in your own ability.
This is why I’m currently working on two new things – a new Welsh course designed to work much more quickly from the very beginning, and a 5 session introduction designed for people who will be doing a two-day full immersion programme (the 5 sessions will lead into the full course, making it possible (I hope!) to run the entire weekend through the medium of Welsh).
The two-day SSi immersion test, which I hope we’ll be ready to start running in about a month or so, will be our first serious attempt to see if what Louis, Susanna and I did in one day could be maintained over the course of two extremely intense days (or, perhaps more conveniently for travel and so on, over the course of 48 hours from Friday midday to Sunday midday).
If it can, then I think the results will be eye-catching, and I’m looking forward enormously to finding out how it will work…:-)