1 October 2009

Open University L194 Portales

My Open University course L194 “Portales” has officially finished. I have to wait until February next year before L140 “En Rumbo” begins.  

I enjoyed the course although the last section seemed rather pressured, I had the impression that the course team dumped everything that had been left out into the 6th and final section of the course and the calender didn’t allow time for it to be properly studied. Perhaps the idea is for students to work on that material while waiting for the next course.

My other gripe about what was otherwise an excellent course is to do with the admin: after submitting all the assignments online it seemed very odd to have to post the last one, especially given the precarious state of the mail service at the moment. And then there is the length of time it takes for the results to get back to the student. Why we have to wait until December to get the result of a 10 minute oral exam in September is a mystery.

1 comment to Open University L194 Portales

  • Becky

    Hi,

    I’m looking into doing this course, and was just wondering whether any of the assignments or assessments are done under exam conditions, or everything can be done at home?

    Gracias :)

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Bill Ferguson
Bill Ferguson

Spanish Teaching Resources

Getting good quality teaching and resources

The information I am going to share is an honest account of what I have tried over the past year and my opinions are just that, opinions. I will share my likes and dislikes, what works for me and what doesn't. This is a personal experience, I am not an expert but if you share my ambition of learning to communicate in a third, foreign language, then maybe we can help each other along the way.

According to Friedrich Nietzsche: "One who speaks a foreign language just a little takes more pleasure in it than one who speaks it well. Enjoyment belongs to those who know things halfway."

I think he is right. Its hard to define halfway but I think the fun starts when you know enough of a language to be able to make yourself understood, given sufficient time to think. At this stage you are not merely tolerated but treated as an honoured guest in a foreign country. People see you bravely struggling to speak and understand, and give you credit for trying. They are nearly always kind and supportive.

Go beyond this to fluency and its like a toddler growing up, you are no longer cute and vulnerable. You are competing for resources, in the adolescence of language acquisition unless you have a definite role you are treated with suspicion. Maybe that is the stage to consider moving on to another new language ...

Getting good quality teaching and resources is vital to success: encouraged by an influential book by Harry Ferber I now view language acquisition as a military campaign, I need to use my resources efficiently to overcome all resistance, I need to capture vocabulary and not let it escape. I need to wear down the opposition by attacking daily and not allowing it time to regroup. I need to learn the predictable tricks that the new language will play on me and be ready for them (this means learning grammar). Like any military campaign good quality intelligence is vital.

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My current ambition is to be able to communicate comfortably in English, French and Spanish. I began to study Spanish in 2008. I have been a student of French, on and off, for about 30 years and up to last year ....read more

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