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You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

Teach Old Dog New Tricks
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Well this may be true for dogs, (though I’m not even entirely sure it is!) but it sure isn’t true for humans! I believe that you are never too old to learn something new or to master a new skill, and that is true for learning a new language as much as anything else! It may be true that it is easier to pick up a new language when you are very young and learning your first language, but with practise and commitment I believe you can learn a new language if you really want to. A lot of people think it is too hard to learn a new language because the language classes they have been subjected to have been dry, lifeless recitations and the forced memorization of verb conjugations. Who would be inspired by that?!

Today while I was looking through all of the many things that were going on in nearby Newcastle, I saw that they are having French and Spanish classes for very small children which sound wonderful.  The ad promises, “supportive learning environment allowing children to progress at their own pace. Fun, engaging activities (songs, poems, stories, games, crafts etc.) Promotes a love of languages from an early age. Aids development of communication skills and cultural awareness.” Doesn’t that sound perfect to you? When I read this, I wanted to go down there and sit in on this class because it sounds really fun!

It is funny to me that we understand that children need exciting, tactile, engaging experiences in order to really learn, yet we think that adults can learn without the same types of techniques.  I wrote a blog recently about how sad it makes me when people say they just aren’t good at languages, I simply don’t think it’s true! You just need to learn in a new and exciting way. The same goes for people who think they are too old to learn or master a new language. What you need are engaging activities like stories, poems, cultural experiences, lively real conversation instead of uninspiring and unmemorable book learning. What you need is to live English, not learn about it!

This is exactly what we do for our students during our immersion experiences at Fleetham Lodge. When you come and stay with us you will find the most supportive learning environment. I work one on one with you to improve in the areas that you specifically need help in using techniques that I have honed with decades of real life experience teaching and helping people just like you. Not only that, but we will arrange a variety of fun and exciting experiences for you so that you get to really live English and experience it in an entirely new way that will stay with you long after you leave.

Imagine; instead of reading a conversation between a pub owner and a customer who wants to order dinner, you will actually BE the customer perusing the English menu and ordering. Picture yourself enjoying a lively pantomime play laughing along at all of the jokes ̶ in English! You could be enjoying the literature and stories of Emily Brontë and then walk literally in her footsteps over the same lush woodland paths. Then there are all of the spontaneous things ̶ the lively discussions over the delicious homecooked meals prepared by my husband who is quite the chef, the lasting friendships you will make with the other students, and so much more.

If you are ready to take your mastery of the English language and embark on an immersion experience with us then check out our courses and find the perfect one for you!

2 Responses to You CAN Teach an Old Dog New Tricks!

  • I love this article Berni – it reminded me of my first year at university- when I was learning Spanish. I hadn’t learnt it at school so was starting from scratch – and frankly I wasn’t very good! The tutors were concerned I might not pass my exams (which would have meant repeating the year or leaving university).
    However over the Easter break I went to Spain for 2 weeks and stayed with my friend who was half Spanish half English. We spoke nothing but Spanish (she refused to speak to me in English). When we went out I had to do all the ordering – despite the fact that everyone I was with was Spanish. They made me order for the everyone so I’d get the practice.
    It was tough at first but after the first couple of days it got easier and I started to love it.
    When I returned people couldn’t believe the difference- I could speak Spanish. My classmates were so surprised at how much I’d improved. Needless to say I passed my exams!
    For me total immersion is the absolute best way to learn a language- it’s so much more fun, so much easier and you learn so much faster.
    I learnt more in those 2 weeks than I did in the previous 2 terms.
    If I needed to improve my English – I’d definitely want to learn at Fleetham Lodge with one of your total immersion courses!

  • Hi Melina, thank you for your comment and wise words.
    What a wonderful story! It is so true that you can learn so much faster if you are in the country and have to speak and although it can be a bit scary at first (with our supportive teachers this is not too bad :-)), you will soon get used to speaking and from then it’s onward and upwards!!
    I also learned my French by being in a family (as an au-pair) and Indonesian by being with students and local people all day long.
    I also know from experience that language learnt this way stay with us much better than language learned from books alone. So it really is a win-win!!

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