Learning together vs Learning alone

This past week the Russian course at my local university started again. I’ve joined the Intermediate group along with a couple of students from last year’s beginners and some new students who have prior experience of learning Russian – a couple from Germany, interestingly.

I had a lovely time, I must confess – and not because I really learned anything new. The level is below that of my weekly private lessons but the benefits are more social and emotional: I get out of the house for a couple of hours (walking to the class in good weather is useful exercise) and it is nice to sit with others, know that the focus is not only on me but that others are required to put in an effort too and, occasionally, help my neighbours out by surreptitiously whispering answers. These classes serve as a welcome contrast to my private lessons by reminding me that I do actually know some Russian, rather than highlighting how much I still have to learn.

That said, if I am serious about making progress in Russian, my private lessons are 100% the Way to Go. I am very aware of how much more confident I have become in my speaking and understanding in the months since we finished the Beginners class in May and started the Intermediate course this week. All that by persevering with private lessons. Yes, I am on the spot for an hour and a half each Monday, yes I struggle to put sentences together and yes, I have to concentrate hard while my teacher  speaks nothing but Russian for 90 minutes -and yes -I  have literally hours of homework each week! It is a lonely and a hard life ( 🙂 ) but  ultimately it is paying off.

Participating in both classes makes a good balance for me and I look forward to another year of studies.

As for an exam? I am aiming to do the Basic Level (A2) in summer, probably in London. But don’t tell anyone as I reserve the right to back out 🙂

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