For those of you who don’t know me, here’s a quick introduction: I’m a native Portuguese speaker and English teacher. I was born in Brazil and I’ve lived here all my life, apart from a three year period when I happily lived in the UK. I started studying English when I was nine years old, when my parents, with good forethought, enrolled me on an English language course in Rio de Janeiro.
I finished my English course when I was 20 but, before that, I had started studying English and Portuguese at university. I started teaching English when I was 19, and it’s been an amazing 17 years on this teaching journey – you can do the sums to see how old I am! I’ve always been fascinated by learning languages and I dabbled in a few while I was at university: little a bit of Italian, German and Spanish – all of which I didn’t take very seriously at the time.
As a language teacher, I must admit that it’s sometimes easy to take things for granted.For example, over-reliance on certain resources while teaching.
Why learn new a language and why on earth Czech? It’s such a difficult language!
When I told some friends about my plans to learn Czech, all I heard was: “Wow…why?”, “Why not German?” ( sure, why not, it’s super easy compared to Czech, right?), “How impressive, but that’s a bit crazy for my liking”.
Well, I’ve decided to learn a language from scratch because I want to get a feel for what goes on in the mind of a beginner student. If I can put myself into my students’ shoes, will I be able to help them achieve their language goals more efficiently? Will I become a better teacher? Will my assumptions or beliefs change at all? I love teaching and I celebrate my students’ achievements like no one else. I also believe that all teachers should be a lifelong learners and dedicate themselves to continuous improvement. As a non-native bilingual English teacher my perspective is influenced by my own learning experience.
I could have chosen an “easier” language, considering my linguistic and fitness background: Latin and Anglo-Saxon languages would have been much easier and faster to pick up but who says the well-trodden path will provide the greater adventure? I deliberately chose Czech for three reasons:
- Czech is like no other language I’ve ever come across ( Disclaimer : I subsequently discovered that Czech is strongly influenced by Latin and German – but I wouldn’t let that spoil my motivation)
- I visited Prague in 2013, fell in love with the city and I desperately want to return sometime; this time I want to be able chat with locals
especially with handsome Czech men.
- I was fascinated by the written appearance of the language and its quirky spelling.
Initial Plan & Goals
My initial plans are:
- Study Czech online guided by an online teacher for four months, (two lessons per week). On top of that, I will commit myself to thirty minutes independent study every day.
- My primary goal is to learn basic Czech so that I can engage in basic conversation with a native speaker.
- Another goal is to take my newfound insights as a student and apply them to the lessons I provide as a language teacher.
In my next blog post, I will write about my first lesson and impressions. Stay tuned.
P.S. This the first of a series of blog posts which will be tagged as #learningCzech