Another two day intensive experience

I’ve just finished a two day intensive session with Charlie, whose husband Kim has got a job at Aberystwyth University, and who therefore wants to throw herself into the language of what will soon be her new community.

Charlie came up on Friday, got here for about four o’clock, worked through until about nine, then did from 9 in the morning until 8 in the evening on Saturday (with breaks, but not gigantic ones) and then from about 9.30 this morning until about 1.

Charlie doesn’t find remembering the patterns of consonants very easy (she was diagnosed with dyslexia after finishing struggling her way through a degree), so we made liberal use of the pause button - but by the end of today, she’d done a near perfect run through Challenge 05 of Level 1, and run through the first listening session.

Then, just before she left to drive home, we had a 10 minute ‘No English’ run - and this person who learnt her first word of Welsh on Friday night exchanged a number of perfectly intelligible sentences with me, produced one particularly long sentence that was a completely new combination of material (so something she’d never actually heard before) and understood a range of responses from me even when they used words she hadn’t actually learnt.

I’m in awe of what she achieved - particularly so because the first 10 minutes of Challenge 02, on Friday night, sent her into complete overload - she couldn’t say a word, and was obviously beating herself up badly about it - but then we went back and ran through Challenge 01 again, and she was almost word perfect on it, despite being absolutely exhausted and having just been hit by overload.

Her next run through Challenge 02 on Saturday morning was also almost flawless. It was a remarkable privilege watching someone challenge themselves to accept that ‘mistakes’ were a good thing, under such relentless and exhausting pressure - and to see the sense of achievement she had once she realised that it was all genuinely going in, and her old stories of ‘not being good at languages’ were just plain wrong.

Anyway, just wanted to share that with you - particularly if any of you are thinking about putting yourself through an intense day.

If you can accept that the phrases you don’t get out (which lead to the ‘argh!’ moment when you hear the answer) are as valuable as the ones you do get out, and if you can move on from lesson to lesson without giving in to the temptation of repeating them, you’ll have real achievements to celebrate any time you get through an intensive day…:smile:

Truly inspiring Aran, and a great vindication of the SSI method at work! I’m particularly fond of intensive revision days, usually achieved whilst doing some sort of long distance drive (Scotland, the 'Steddfod, ayyb), but this story of first exposure to the language is fantastic. Well done indeed Charlie!


I’m finding coaching someone through the process an incredibly educational experience - which I hope will help me understand more and more of the ways in which people do and don’t succeed with the material - and build more/better support systems to increase how many people we can help…:smile:

That’s absolutely fantastic! Can’t believe she managed a 10 min conversation in Welsh when, two days earlier, she didn’t know a word. Ardderchog!

I was kicking myself afterwards that I didn’t think to record it! Although that might have been a little unfair, given how thoroughly she’d just been put through the mangle already. But if we can figure out a way to get her on Skype or something after she’s done her mandatory break of a month (apart from the listening exercise) - I’ll have to give that some thought…

That’s a fantastic story, really exciting to hear what’s possible in such a very short time. I’m sure people starting this course are not aware of what they are able to achieve in just a few days.

If I’d heard that story before learning Welsh, I would have paid good money to try this course!

There must be huge marketing possibilities here?

Very exciting and inspiring!

Great progress. Well done Charley for putting her head on the block. :slight_smile:

I’m sure people starting this course are not aware of what they are able to achieve in just a few days.

Yeah, I think we need to do a lot more to showcase the possibilities - it’s fine if people don’t want to take an intensive approach, of course, but the options need to be flagged up.

The test we’re going to run soon with a little online ‘Bootcamp’ should help move us in that direction…:smile:

I am on cwrs 3 and have just started doing a whole lesson in one go, rather than doing 10 minutes each day. I find it useful to repeat the lesson the next day and then move onto the next lesson no matter how it went. So far so good I seem to be more confident in speaking welsh with others when the opportunity arises. Also doing my Welsh while i am preparing a meal stops me from using the pause button so much.

I usually do an entire lesson each day while walking to work, and sometimes on the way back too (but recently used the journey back to catch up on the backlog of podcasts I’ve accumulated!). I’ve gotten out of the habit of using the pause button now, and just use my performance on each attempt to determine whether I run through that lesson again tomorrow or move on to the next!
But now I’m nearing the end of course 3, I’m thinking of trying a rather radical experiment -
I want to do an intensive learning day where I cover the last 5 lessons of course 3! Then over the next 5 days, see if I can still reach my performance target on each without having to go back through the lesson more than once.
The idea behind this isn’t to rush through the course so to complete it - since I intend to run through course 2 vocabs and course 3 again anyway. Also, I will be following the new Level 1 course as the new Challenges are rolled out!
But I do want to see if this intensive learning really does work for me. I’m already doing a variation of the “Gold List”, which was suggested, but not entirely endorsed on here. Any new vocabulary I learn I put into my notebook on my iPhone or iPad and keep there until I have learned them. The list just gets bigger and bigger, and now and again I look through them and when I recognise a word and know what it is without thinking about it I delete it. No time stamps, no time frame, just if I know it I don’t keep it!
Just realised I went off on a bit of a Tangent there…oops!

Tangent diddorol Gavin. Paid a phoeni. :smile:

I’ve been thinking a lot about intensive vs non-intensive recently as well. At the moment, I’m in “gradual” mode on Course 3, but I might try something like you describe when I finish. And I realised with a shock today that I’m sadly in need ot some speaking practice for some of the Course 2 stuff and maybe even Course 1. Got a bit lazy with my speaking I think. Lots of input is good I think, but you have to somehow try to balance it with output, and I hadn’t been doing.

I’m still doing the actual Gold List method, and I think it’s definitely helping. Not a magic bullet of course - nothing ever is, but it’s helping.

How wonderful is that!!! I so wish i could immerse myself to this degree. From this distance I can only do what is possible in the media realm and with our meet up group every few weeks. I NEED immersion. Hopefully next year at the Madog in Portland.