How to learn Russian in 3 weeks?

As language teachers it’s always important that we keep learning new languages to avoid the Curse of Knowledge.

Seeing as I’ve finished the main part of Β vol. 13 and that I’m in Russian for workshops in SeptemberΒ Β  I thought it’s a great chance to spend a couple of weeks learning Russian – in amongst everything else I have to do of course!

Russian is brand new for me, the only word I know is “hello” Β and best of all there is a Michel Thomas Russian package – yeah! πŸ™‚

I’ve just been through the first hour and I can tell you, Michel Thomas beats the pants of Pimsleur!

I bought the full Pimsleur Thai programme in April and as although it’s certainly not bad, after just one hour with Michel Thomas you can say things like “I’m not thirsty but I’m very hungry. Β I know there is a restaurant here, but I wonder if there is a cafe not far away?” Β  Not bad for an hour eh! Β ( With Pimsleur you’re stuck with “I speak a little Russian” after an hour.)

I also got the Earworms Russian, which is OK, but not really an “earworm” as there is no melody. Β It’s good for on the subway though when you can’t be repeating with the Michel Thomas course!

Learning with Nursery Rhymes?

As English Nursery Rhymes still seem to be popular amongst teachers (although personally I think they are a very bad idea for language learning!) I also thought I should Β at least try again. So I downloaded a “Learn Russian with songs” audio book. Β But yeah, it’s the same thing, a combination of “all Russian” without explanations and old fashioned language (“The more we are together”) that you can’t really use really doesn’t change my opinion of nursery rhymes for language learning – it’s great for feeling like you are doing something, but you’re not actually learning any language skills. AΒ structured programme like Michel Thomas is so much more efficient – and confidence boosting – it’s a shame it doesn’t work with kids!

Anyway, let’s see how I go, the tricky part is trying to make more than an hour a day for learning!

I’ll leave you with a Ninja Tip: Β Pick a language you’ve never learnt before and try it out, it’s amazing the insight it will give you into how your students are learning – or maybe not!

Be genki,

Richard

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

4 Responses to “How to learn Russian in 3 weeks?”

  1. Irina

    Good luck Richard. You CAN do it!

    How many and what languages do you know? Is it easier to learn a new language of another group when you have already known several languages?

  2. Gumby

    Thanks for the information on the langauge programs. I am familiar with the names of both methods but not with the actual methods itself. What did you find helpful with the Michel Thomas CDs? Does he repeat the same exact phrase several times? Is the context different? Does he include other places or is it always for example ‘restaurant’? Is there any emphasis on form? For example “Are you thirsty? Yes, I am thirsty. No, I am not thirsty.” etc that is repeated to give the listener exposure to different forms?

    Sorry for all the questions. I think repetition is important in language learning and would love to see how other methods successfully incorporate it.

  3. Richard

    @Gumby: Probably the best way is to have a look at the BBC documentary about him: http://genkienglish.net/teaching/michel-thomas-chinese-arabic-russian/ It’s quite a bit different to other ways of doing things – but very effective! The focus is very much on structure rather than vocab, so there are lots of “this” and “thats” etc.

    @Irina: Just three fluently, the rest I learn as I visit, so they are all in different stages. Which is good as get to experience the student’s point of view for different levels!

    @Julia: Thank you!

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