May 01, 2018

My student's key takeaways


Hello everyone,

even though I try hard in my videos and in the articles I write to explain how I am learning languages, I don’t always succeed:) The reason is I’m too deep in the whole process and have been learning languages for so long that everything seems natural and when someone asks me to tell that person what I do, I start explaining stuff from the middle, talk about things I find important and do not necessarily transfer the key premises or elements my learning is based on.

That is why I love when there is someone else who can summarize what I do :) There is a nice Chinese idiom for this

旁觀者清

“Those, observing from the side see things more clearly (than those involved in whatever they are doing).”

This exact thing happened. One of my students has been making amazing progress in German. He managed to increase his proficiency from about 30% to 90% (compared to his native Russian) in 6 months. I was very happy and amazed and I asked him what it was exactly that he did/we did in our classes or what it was in my teaching that helped him most and made the greatest difference.

We started talking and the debate was so interesting that I asked my student whether he would be willing to write a short article saying exactly what he told me, which I could share with you. He was very kind to do so (thank you very much again Tem).

Hope you enjoy.


I wanted to write a quick article about language learning, specifically what I learnt from having lessons with Vladimir Skultety. As I was growing up, languages were never something I was particularly interested in, as I thought that they were irrelevant. I grew up speaking Russian and English, and never thought about ever wanting to learn more, as I thought it would be somewhat useless to me. However, after having started to take lessons from Vladimir, my understanding and view of foreign languages were completely transformed.

We started our lessons in November 2017, after having already studied German for approximately 6 months. At the beginning, I knew several common phrases in the language, as well as having some understanding of the grammar. However, I could barely understand any of the spoken language and couldn’t hold a decent conversation. Vladimir was always quick to identify the aspects of the language that I struggled with the most and gave me recommendations on how to strengthen these areas of German that I did not yet solidify. We had lessons on a weekly basis where we spoke in German for an hour, about simple things, but after two months I was already feeling more comfortable to discuss any topic of interest, as my listening and speaking skills improved.

Now after almost a year of learning the language, I am able to understand almost everything and discuss the topic of interest. The thing that helped me the most, I think, was intensive listening, which is when I watched, and then re-watched videos in German until I understood absolutely everything. This technique was something the I learnt from Vladimir, and helped not only my listening comprehension but widen my range of vocabulary, as I learnt 99 percent of words from videos. Another very useful technique that I’ve learnt from our lessons was guided translation, which helped me pick up new words and get used to reading and visualizing the language, as well as learn how the words are spelt.

The thing that makes German a relatively difficult language is grammar, specifically the word order and the cases. I used to struggle with putting words in correct grammatical structures and used the correct cases, but after listening and speaking practice I was able to improve in all the areas of the language that I struggled with.

Our lessons did not only help me learn the language to advanced fluency, but Vladimir also managed to get me hooked on language learning. I am always motivated to learn more about German, and now I’m interested in learning a new language as well. Vladimir managed to awake a passion for language learning within me, which I never knew I had. I believe that the job of every teacher is to not only fuel them with curiosity for the subject but also to inspire, which is exactly what Vladimir did, inspire me and make me want to learn more.

Thank you very much for the kind words Tem!:)

No comments:

Post a Comment