Lesson Plans Course 3 (& all lesson plans)

Basically where are they? I seem to have picked up (somehow) the plans up to lesson 11 but in any case cannot find any of them on the new site (which undoubtedly is my fault, though I have looked of course).

I should add that ease of availability of the written forms in detail of all the courses’ lessons really should be a priority. Many learners need input from as many directions as possible and seeing can be as valuable as hearing. I realize that SSIW emphasizes the spoken form and that’s fine. But learners should be allowed to choose the path most valuable to them. That’s the most efficient way forward for most learners.

Hi h.d.,

One of the best things about SSIW for me (and for a number of others) has been that the written form hasn’t been easily available.

I think learners can already choose the path most valuable for them, as there are quite a few courses out there that focus on written Welsh. For those of us (like me) who easily default to reading the answer, and indeed prefer to learn through written instruction, being kind of “forced” to learn in a speaking-and-listening way (like I learned my first language) has been a necessary and very helpful part of greatly accelerating my learning,

I think the frustration of not being quite sure what the rules are or how you spell things is actually an important part of learning to learn a language this way. And I’m not sure that the path a learner feels will be most valuable to them at any given time is always the thing that is actually most valuable …

Anyway, that’s my perspective …

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But learners should be allowed to choose the path most valuable to them. That’s the most efficient way forward for most learners.

People who have experience of learning multiple languages to fluency are usually good-to-go off their own bat (although even then, sometimes there are new things that they can benefit from).

But people who haven’t don’t have a very strong basis of knowledge about what works for them - in fact, we usually see quite the opposite, that they’ve been convinced at school that they need to see words and work ‘visually’. All our results, though, argue strongly that everyone benefits (often quite dramatically) from focusing far, far more on listening and speaking than is the case in traditional courses, and that’s why we steer so firmly away from written forms.

Having said that, we do share content lists - but the ones for Course 3 are being done by Stu on a volunteer basis at the moment, and aren’t yet embedded in the lesson pages. I’m sure he’ll be able to give you a link to them when he sees this…:slight_smile:

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I’m inclined to agree with Aran here. My own experience of learning languages is that the traditional method took seven years to get me the same level in French that the SSIW method took around one year to get me to in Welsh. I can understand significantly more Welsh radio and TV than I can French - and think about the disparity in learning time.

I understand the point about reading and writing being important though, but as Mark says there are other places you can read and write Welsh on the internet, and of course endless text books. I have considered it might be fun for those who have finished the course to have a place where they can chat to each other in written Welsh, but those that want to do this can do on on Twitter, or any number of places. I don’t think you’ll miss written material until you are good enough to seek it out elsewhere, and there are lesson plans here in the meantime.

I’m not entirely sure such comparisons are valid. I know I used SSiW along with an intense interest in and practice in reading and writing, and had previously attempted to use many “teach yourself” courses and otherwise based on reading and writing.

SSiW helped me, far more than anything, to achieve a degree of fluency sufficient to get people to speak to me in Welsh. But I do not believe that my interest and ability in reading and writing from the start was a disadvantage. I believe it was an advantage.

The most important comparison would be between -

  1. SSiW, which provides this intense and effective practice in spoken Welsh, and-
  2. A course which provides what SSiW does, and also encourages/provides for an interest in reading and writing from the earliest times.

I know of no courses in group 2! Simply because SSiW is the best course around (by far, I would say) does not mean that that is because it encourages people not to read.

The most important thing is horses for courses. SSiW is the best course around. But now even the new lesson guides seem to be being hidden from view behind a door marked beware of the leopard! :wink:

Now, the written word may not be as effective with everybody, I completely understand that. But I think that encouraging people to put off even a basic familiarity with the alphabet (which is what seems to be happening along with now even the easy availability of the new lesson guides being discouraged) could be doing more harm than good. [that particular aspect of SSiW, not the whole course!])

Just to say again, that though I do not think a SSiW is perfect (and who could ever be expected to think that!), I think it is easily the best course out there by a country mile. (And I should know, I’ve followed a few!) But I have to agree with h.d.lewis in the importance of encouraging those people happy with learning reading and writing for it to be available from as early as possible.

I do not think that our views on this will ever coincide, Aran, so just putting in my pennyworth to say I understand where the original poster is coming from, and taking the opportunity to thank you once again for this wonderful course!

And plenty of other places to learn to read and write, of course, as has been pointed out already. It’s not like Aran is following people round and checking to make sure they are not reading and writing until the end of the first course! Is he?..:wink:

I think there’s a logical disconnect somewhere in there, but I don’t have research to back me up (I think this is roughly what Owain is saying).

  • Word lists encourage you to learn vocab, not how to converse.
  • SSiW teaches you how to converse without word lists.

SSiW works better for me than other things I’ve tried, and I’m happy to accept that this is because of the focus on speaking Welsh - but this does still rely on learning the vocab. I fairly firmly believe that having the vocab to hand to help after the lessons works better than not.

For example:
After a lesson I will try to wander around constructing sentences in my head (or out 'loud, quite often) using the new words/structures. If I can’t remember a word at the end of the lesson, I can’t practise it until the next time I listen to a lesson - but if I have some flashcards with the lesson’s words on I can quickly check I remember them, remind myself if I’ve forgotten, and then go on to practise using the more elusive ones straight away, every time I’m sat for two minutes waiting for something.

I think this “try to use the words whenever you can” /is/ the SSiW way, and having easy access to the vocab to remind yourself is really useful here. I can’t always listen to an SSiW lesson, but I can always try to ‘use my words’ - as long as I can remember what they are.

Summary/Opinion: Having a word list really supports SSiW in the case where you can’t do lessons every day, and lets you get on with the important bits of using your Welsh.

The key thing for me here is that the vast majority of people come to us with a very strong bias in favour of reading and writing - often believing that reading and writing is real learning.

This gives me two major concerns. We’ve seen (time and again) that people who are focused on reading and writing from the very beginning tend to have worse accents, because they try and get the sounds of the words to fit the letters that seem familiar to them. On that count, by the time someone has done the first ten lessons or so, they will be in a much stronger position not to be as strongly influenced by the written word.

My second concern is that people can start to prioritise their time in a way which will slow down their learning - if, for example, they get to lesson 10 and we say ‘Time to read!’, because of the extremely strong existing bias in favour of reading, some people will probably cut back on their time spent speaking and listening, which will slow their progression to conversational use of the language.

Conversely, once someone has finished Course 3 and is a confident conversationalist, becoming a proficient reader is a comparatively short process.

Having said that, I’ve been promising a ‘start reading’ element to the course for a long time, and I will get there eventually - but it will be for people who’ve completed Course 2, or maybe even Course 3. Of course you’re right, Ow, that I don’t have any proof that ‘SSi + reading from the off’ would work worse than the current setup - but it’s certainly what I believe…:slight_smile:

I think that wondersheep and Aran both make really good points here (not to say that others don’t!).

Being able to doublecheck words between lessons can be really useful. I’ve been loading them into memrise and flashcarding them whenever I’ve got a few spare minutes. That way I’ve got a bit of a headstart when I go back through the lessons.

I can also relate to the seductive appeal of reading. When I was about half way through course 2 I started to realise that I could make sense of written Welsh with an unexpected degree of proficiency - say, that of a seven year old rather than a four year old :wink: It was the first time that I’d actually found my Welsh to be genuinely useful in the real world so I gradually found myself trying it out more and more. I can now read simple books which is great, but I’ve also realised that I’m slowing down on the lessons in order to invest in vocab and the pleasure of reading - which means I’m not going to get to where I need to be (speaking) as fast as I could be.

It will be different for other people. Perhaps becoming a proficient speaker isn’t everyone’s goal, in which case jumping off of the listening bandwagon and starting reading might be a fine thing to do. But my impression is that the longer you stick with the lessons, the more confidently you can jump into reading when you do choose to.

@Steve: I must remember to ask Ifan for an ‘I couldn’t agree with this more even if I went on a special intensive course on agreeing with things’ button…:wink:

Catflap (Steve) said: it will be different for other people.

This is so true. I found that reading increased both my vocabulary and understanding of the language- and thus increased the speed and confidence of my conversations with other people.

That you will find reading easier the more confident a speaker you are is quite obviously true- but I found it to be the case - in my case! that it was also true that the more I read the more confident a speaker I became.

@ Aran, thanks for the reply, interesting and thoughtful points as always! What I would say is that if it is a choice between practising Welsh by speaking and practising Welsh by reading, always go with the speaking. I was lucky enough to be able to read without it eating into time which could have been spent speaking Welsh, and this may well not be the case with other people. A lot of people would have trouble finding the time to do the SSiW course due to family or other commitments, or whatever else was taking up their time- I had time left over!

Anyhow, don’t want to hijack this thread with my long-winded subjective and self-centered musings, so will stop there!

I was lucky enough to be able to read without it eating into time which could have been spent speaking Welsh, and this may well not be the case with other people.

Nail on head right there - I’m not on a campaign to ban reading, because of course it has all the positive effects you’ve mentioned - but in a world biased towards reading, we need to work a little harder than would otherwise be ideal to convince people that there are other options. When people can add it without reducing their speaking time, and at a point where they already have a good accent, it’s always going to be a good thing…:slight_smile:

my long-winded subjective and self-centered musings

We call them ‘use cases’…:wink:

To throw in my two-pennies worth here…
I started to read the course guides from about lesson 4 of Course 1. Since I started learning Welsh the “other” way before I discovered the SSiW way, I was already aware that the letters of the Welsh alphabet were somewhat different to those in the English alphabet in terms of sounds and phonetics. I was also aware that some letters put together in Welsh words (dithongs etc) also created unique sounds that I wasn’t entirely familiar with at the time. So, my use of the course guides was entirely to recognise the words in written Welsh and to acquaint myself with these new sounds that I wasn’t entirely familiar with. Never was the course guides used to help with my pronounciation - the lessons did that!
Again, this works with different people and doesn’t with others. I also adopted the idea of making raw materials lists, suggested from the help guides on SSiW, where some of the trickier words I wrote out Phonetically as a guide. I don’t find myself doing this anymore as I’m now able to figure out how the words are spelt in Welsh before I’ve even looked at a course guide! Again, something that works for some people.
The way we do the lessons on SSiW, without reading or writing, without doubt, works wonders and it has helped me speak more welsh than I ever imagined I would after a year and nearly 4 months! The written bit I adopted myself by my own choice, aware that it wasn’t to interfere with my spoken Welsh, but to be acquired through learning to speak Welsh - if that makes sense!

Hmm, well I’m glad to have started a conversation but no one has said where the written lesson plans to the Course 3 (south) are . . .

Cwrs 3 De was done by Vaughan out of the kindness of his heart. I think that Huw made a PDF out of his forum posts, so a PM to either of them would be best, to see if they can help. There are no official guides to Cwrs 3, which is why there are no links to them.

(The lesson plans for the other courses are on the Lesson pages.)



Just a little observation on the issue of reading from a learning Dutch perspective. I couldn’t test it out with SSiW because I had already learnt to read Welsh before I started the SSiW course, but I’ve never read a word of Dutch so I tested the method completely using what is available in SSiDutch. I’ve done all the lessons so far available and I started to get impatient for more, so I found another online course which used pictures and sound files but also required me to read and write. I figured I was quite familiar with the sounds of Dutch by now so it would be OK, but it wasn’t. It confused me and slowed me down incredibly when I was required to match the spoken words, which I knew, to the written ones which used letters I was familiar with but producing different sounds! I perservered for a little while then got really frustrated with it all and decided that in fact I don’t yet know enough Dutch to start reading it - and I am someone who has always considered myself a visual learner and always thought I had to write things down to remember them. I have given up on the other online course, though I am using it for Turkish, and I will patiently wait until I have more SSiDutch under my belt and I’m a confident Dutch speaker before trying to read and write again.

Note, however, that like Owain, I’m just giving a personal experience here to add to Aran’s collection of anecdotes :slight_smile: … and if I can subtly give Louis a push as well …