People often ask me how I learnt and managed all my languages; as a teacher or as a learner and what I do to maintain them. That’s why I decided to share with you my language life in 2020.
Back to teaching
I must say that I enjoyed coming back to work after Christmas break. As usual January is a very busy month and I always have new students who made learning a language a New Year’s resolution. One of them was Steven who signed up for my Polish Crash Course before his trip to Kraków. He started the course with a big reserve, not believing that he could do it, but each lesson I could say he actually started to enjoy that “difficult and unpronounceable language”. Watch what he says himself.
Most of my first classes were focussed around New Year’s Resolutions and this is a great occasion to learn or revise the future tense as well as build up your vocabulary. Check my post about how to talk about New Year’s resolutions in Polish here.
At the University of Chester, I was pleased to see my students from Year 1 and Year 2 and made them refresh their memory after a long break. But they did well and we are now fully back in learning mode. Even learning the Polish time system was not so bad! It’s usually a struggle to get used to various endings, but with a lot of practice and my teaching clock we made a lot of progress.
London International Day of Polish Education
I realised how lucky I am to share my passion for promoting my native language. Spending Sunday afternoon discussing the idea of bi-linguism with like-minded people – Polish language teachers from the whole of Europe. It was the first International Day of Polish Education in London organised by The Polish University Abroad where I had a chance to study a few years ago.
The day was filled with interesting lectures, practical workshops and new connections. I particularly enjoyed the workshop of Prof. Agata Roćko about teaching Polish poetry by adapting it through song. I was humming Grzegorz Turnau’s Liryka song that was set as an example for the rest of the day . I definitely need to include it in my lessons for next term’s sessions.
January Polish Language and Culture Meetup
I was really looking forward to our first meetup of 2020 in Chester Storyhouse. Gathering together to practise the language in a less formal setting than a classroom. Since last year I have been encouraging members to prepare a presentation about a freely chosen topic related to Polish culture or language. The idea is working well and this month, after initial warm up activities I handed over the baton to one of the members, Andrew Waller. Andrew prepared a very interesting presentation about Poznań. We also had a chance to check first hand information about this beautiful and historic city from a native born Poznanianka – Alina, Andrew’s wife -the main reason for his Polish learning!
For myself, I learnt new words in Polish. I knew that ziemniaki that I call kartofle (I’m from Silesia) in the local dialect are pyry, but that’s it. I love zakluczyć – to lock the door with the key.
Last year when I went to Tuscany I realised how much I missed Italy and its language. Italian was always close to my heart and I decided to use it more in my daily life. That’s why I was pleased when I found out about Ernie’s Italian Thursday conversation group that she runs in Storyhouse. I met more lovers of Italian and enjoyed that hour of Italian. Music to my ears!
Digestible Polish - Winter term
This month I have also started the first term of my online course for beginners that I have been preparing for a while. This is an online self-study course but it includes my participation throughout the course, giving personal feedback to the weekly speaking assignments. This is the best part for me, listening to the students speaking Polish from the first week. Check my website for more information.
Storyhouse Language Festival
During Storyhouse Languages – a festival celebrating Chester’s diverse speaking cultures I had a chance to participate in two workshops, one workshop led by Kasia Pikuła about gamification. Kasia’s workshop introduced us to gamification and we discussed its principles in a non-game context.
Can we improve learning languages, increase vocabulary through games? Definitely. Games are one of my favourite teaching and learning tools.
The second workshop I attended was about “Overcoming Your Fear of Speaking in a Foreign Language”, run by Ermy from The Language Rose. I must say that I have already overcome my fear of speaking in a foreign language, but I always welcome any new strategies for improving my learning and teaching. I definitely liked the idea of SOS phrases that I’m going to prepare in German.
I started well this year, I must say, a lot of interesting things happened in January. My goal for this year to get more focus on my languages as a learner and definitely brush-up my German. February also looks exciting with many activities among others, starting up a polyglot project with another language tutor.