If you were starting again, what would you do differently?

So if you were starting again and knew what you knew, what would you do differently. Would you do each lesson time and time again until it was perfect or would you consider yourself to have done enough and crack on. Would you find yourself 40 minutes to sit quietly and concentrate or would you drive round with ssiw blaring in the car? What did you do right and what did you do wrong and what really worked for you?


I’m only at challenge 12, but… one of the most helpful bits of info was to not repeat-to-perfection. I had previously tried to learn, a few years ago, and did lessons 1 to 4, but got so bogged down in trying to be perfect, that it mushed my brain and I lost enthusiasm, and when life threw a few curved balls, as it does, I dropped learning Welsh with a feeling of relief, as it had become a frustrating chore.

This time around, with the 6 month course, is already so different. The emails, the slack hangouts, and support are fantastic. As a practising hermit, and generally very shy person, I found myself speaking actual Welsh to actual Welsh people, and enjoying it !


I’ve actually been in this position, but with the old course. I rushed on ahead a bit too quick with that one, doing multiple lessons per day - and after a while, I got frustrated when I hit the brick wall that was Lesson 6. It was a few months before I started again, and that time I limited myself to just one lesson per day - maybe two if I was repeating the previous lesson first. With the new course, I would do likewise - limit myself to one lesson per day, to give myself time to sleep in between lessons.



The young Picasso said that every time he started a new drawing or painting he approached it as an experiment, and once he’d learned what he needed—finished or not, he’d put it aside, not out of defeat but ‘experiment done’, so he was free to move on, and learn more by trying a different approach.

Try doing the lessons in various ways until you find one that works—for now, then change your approach when it feels burdensome or dull.

Would I do anything different? I kept doing things differently, so never felt bored or dissatisfied. Some of the ways I tried, maybe worth giving a go:
—set 45 minutes aside for each lesson and use the pause button when necessary, repeating the lesson maybe once or twice;
—do a lesson once in the morning and repeat it in the evening, then move on, or spend another day or two consolidating this until 80% happy;
—while doing a lesson, don’t stop but note the time(s) of words or phrases to go back over, then just do them again and again until they feel OK;
—a do-it-yourself bootcamp weekend, with ‘treats’ for little successes;
—(alternate new and old courses, lesson by lesson—not for everyone, but I enjoyed it);
—every 5 lessons do a review by repeating the last 10 minutes of each lesson…

The three biggest lessons from all this—learning to:
—trust myself and enjoy myself, rewarding even little ‘successes’,
—trust the process and enjoy the encouragement built into it,
—trust there is always someone on this Forum ready to help.

I never tried for perfection, but progress!



In general there’s not much I would change, I’m very satisfied of the results!

I only did the new course. I tried just a few lessons of the old Course, after Level 1, but I found them quite boring to be honest! :smiley:

In general, I simply followed the guidelines and just fine-tuned them to the right balance for me (with a little testing) and it worked fine.

  • “No pause button” didn’t work for me - I got stressed, frustrated and confused. So I just did my best to use it as little as possible. Actually the more you go on with challenges, the more you know while you hear the English sentence if you don’t need it (= short sentences, things you know you’re familiar with). Or if it’s not even worth pausing (cause you’re hopeless anyway, so better end your agony as soon as possible!) :rofl:

  • “No repetition” Throughout Level 1 and 2 I basically never repeated challenges (except one of the very first in Level 1 where I had tried to read the Vocabulary list while doing the challenge, and it was such a disaster I had to do it again. And one in Level 2 that I did travelling to France on a wreck of a coach, that was so noisy I just couldn’t keep focused - besides wondering if we’d make it to the other side of the Alps without it falling apart!).
    This, no matter how many mistakes I did during the challenges (sometimes very few, sometimes a lot!)

Other things that worked for me were:

  • completely focused. not necessarily at home, actually I did most of them outside, but just sitting or walking, or on long trips on public transports - definitely not while driving
  • preferably in quite relaxed periods (like during a vacation, or on weekends)
  • working on them every day (not like once a week or less)
  • doing as much as possible in a short period of time (on some days also 2 or 3 challanges)

I also did the Listening Practices simply following the instructions and not worrying about understanding almost nothing!

With level 3, however, it’s a bit different.
My first attempts were a complete failure. But mostly because it was way too soon after Level 1 and 2 and my brain still hadn’t precessed the huge amount of data I had learnt in a very short time.
I let it sink and even spent a few days in Wales, and it got better. But I suspect I’m going to repeat a few of these!
But now I’m still experimenting a bit so I’ll be able to tell more when I find my balance! :grin:


Started learning with SSIW from the beginning :slight_smile: ,though it didn’t exist when I started learning again ( since school to age 14) . I was using BBC resources and some units from Uwpan I found online … I was going really slowly and really not getting anywhere near a point where I could hold even the simplest of conversations. It took over 2 years to complete the old course as it was still being written when I subscribed (was at lesson 6 or 7 of beginners level If I remember correctly) … I’ve since completed the old Spanish courses, with large chunks being done intensively 4-5 lessons a day for 2-3 days. I’m about to resubscribe (having completed the free lessons on the "new " course ) and actually enjoying doing it all again (so far I haven’t had to use the pause button once ). There seems to be a lot more stuff crammed into the lessons than the old course,so I’m expecting to have “hit a few walls” on level 2


This :wink:


I think I’d still repeat challenges over and over before moving on to the next one, as that’s how I roll. But I’d get involved in Slack hangouts and SSiW meetups much earlier than 7 months in! Meeting (online or in the flesh) other Welsh learners has considerably increased my ability to retain what I’ve learnt, through actually USING it rather than ‘just learning it’ whilst in the car. I would also have started using Duo Lingo earlier too, as it has been a great aid in recognising the written word in Welsh (and learning some new vocabulary). I subscribed to Duo Lingo only a month ago and it’s really complemented the SSiW material massively. (But SSiW is the only one I actually PAY for!)

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The first time that I do any challenge, I would do it with the vocabulary list in front of me for that challenge.

It is so helpful to have a visual image of what is being said, besides helping with the link between spelling and pronunciation.


Excellent advice, i like all the different approaches, and we always need treats!!

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