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Learning At My Fingertips

Image from Gigaom.

During my job search I realized that having proficiency in a second language will probably go a long way in the field I’m specifically looking into.

I’ve passed intermediate Spanish here at UP, but I stopped there when I changed up my major.

So, I downloaded an app called “Duolingo.” Now I can learn Spanish wherever I’m at whenever I have the time.

It is really convenient and pretty effective. It uses methods such as flash cards and images, it asks you to listen to the way it sounds, say phrases out loud, and translate the English and Spanish translations back and forth. The terms you learn are also repeated so it forces you to remember words, terms, and verb usage in a variety of ways.

No, it doesn’t replace the effectiveness of a teacher. Yes, it does act more like a “refresher” for verbs I already understood and learned in school. However, I am learning new terms with this app which is refreshing.

Honestly, I attended Advanced Spanish my sophomore year and was just overwhelmed by the amount of work and the level of proficiency we needed to succeed in that class. The teacher was great, mind you, and was very sad to see me leave, but I suppose it was just too much too fast for my own personal taste.

I know what they say about learning a new language: It’s easier when you are “forced” to speak the language. This is probably true and I fully believe it. However, I found myself not enjoying what I was learning and stressing too much on getting an “A” on my academic transcript instead of actually trying to become proficient in another language.

I think it is sad that I felt I had to abandon a class in order to keep my good academic record up. Instead of working hard and getting a “C” in “Advanced Spanish,” I settled for an “A” in “Intermediate.” But, with a system like this, I thought the former looked much worse in terms of hiring someone.

I don’t have a proposal on how to adjust the system. I don’t have ill feelings against the way things are taught and graded at schools. I suppose I think it really is just sad that I (and maybe many other students) are so trained to abide by a system that “grades” us that there isn’t really anything that grades “potential.”

Well, for now I’ll just stick to my little app on my phone, practice on my own, and hope that one day I’ll be able to put “proficient in Spanish” on my resume.

~Dom

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