First of all, apologies to Gail, whose comment on a recent post I acidentally deleted, along with about a hundred pieces of spam. We get so few genuine comments, sometimes they get lost in the tidal wave of porn links.
However, I realised my error and found that by hitting the back button on my browser, it was possible to recover what she had written, though not to republish it under her name. So here it is:
Thank you for your newsy e-,mails. However, I subscribed to the Club because the subscription details are for ‘3 new exercises’ each week. So far, no free exercises have been sent – just a newsy blog of what you are up to, plus details of ebooks which could be bought. Will new exercises be forthcoming?
A scandal, I’d say! How dare he! ‘Forthcoming’, take that!
Yeah, whatever. So you were tricked, we’re unscrupulous, you were deceived, ripped off.
Actually, I get bored with hearing this – you would too, in my position – we have, what, about two thousand pages of free Italian exercises on the website?
And yes, back in the day, we WERE publishing three new free ones a week (it’s much faster and easier than writing articles like this one.)
But can people be bothered to navigate the website and use them? Indeed they can not.
Most people who join our club unsubscribe fairly soon afterwards, sometimes within minutes (maybe it’s a hobby, signing up for things they don’t actually want?)
I privately think that it’s because, in the modern world, we have lost the habit of READING, more fool us.
Actually not ‘we’. If there was anything like OnlineItalianClub.com available for any of the languages I’m learning, I would subscribe and read every post.
But some people these days just want to be spoon-fed, one exercise a day, like some moronic ‘word a day’ thing you might sign up for on Facebook or wherever (I never do, sorry – they’re written by machines, for idiots.)
But think about it for a moment, Gail, I don’t know what LEVEL you are, do I?
So assuming you’re a B1, and we have club members at six levels from A1 to C2, then were I to send out an exercise three times a week, five out of six of them could be at the ‘wrong’ level for you. Would that be an improvement?
Plus, there’d be every chance that you wouldn’t actually need yet another exercise on ‘verbi pronominali’, or whatever having successfully mastered them the previous day.
We USED TO publish three free exercises a week, until, wait… we ran out of topics! Given that we already had exercises on just about everything, and that they were up there online, accessible for anyone to use, at any time, I suppose that was predictable.
And yes, I should have changed the sign-up form, but to what?
At about the same time we ran out of things to write exercises about, I also realised two things:
1.) most people have no idea exactly HOW to learn a language (they obsess about exercises, for example), and
2.) because people are basically doing language-learning wrong, they almost always get demotivated and give up.
Does that sound arrogant to you, Gail? That’s thirty-years of language teaching experience for you. I’ve been working in language schools since 1991 and see, every day, the evidence for 1.) and 2.) above.
Sadly, that does have the effect of making one just a little bit of a know-all. But to put things in perspective, I am also a language-learner, and so experience just the same uncertainty and frustrations as everyone else.
Anyway, having realised that the basic issue was not a lack of materials, which is fundamentally a tactical problem, but a lack of understanding regarding language-learning strategies and outcomes, with a consequent knock-on effect on motivation, I discovered a new mission: to
sell ebooks educate people about what works in language-learning, and to keep them interested for long enough that they’ll begin to recognise the progress they’ve been making.
At which point the whole thing becomes self-sustaining and my job is done.
Perhaps I could do this better. After all, 80% of people who join our club unsubscribe after getting the first ‘newsy’ email.
Perhaps. But really, do you know what I say about our ENORMOUS unsubscribe rate?
Good! Unsubscribe, go ahead, find somewhere better to hang out. This club is clearly not for you.
Of course, you’ll miss the ‘Roman History’ series that Francesca and I are working on for the summer (three free history lessons a week, written in simplified Italian, probably with audio).
Remember last summer we did thirty-four cantos of Dante’s Inferno? It’s the same idea – something for the summer months that’ll give me a chance to go boating or lie in the bedroom with the air-conditioning on max, instead of typing in a puddle of perspiration.
Unsubscribe, do. It’s your loss, not mine. Remember this site is free? And has minimal advertising (maybe $50-worth a month?) It just costs me to have loads of people on the list. I’d much rather have three thousand active, intelligent, interested language learners who appreciate what I work so hard to write than fifteen thousand non-reading, no-hopers.
These articles, this article, is for the 20% of you who have choosen to remain, and who have the nous to navigate a website, to recognise helpful input when you see it, and so to teach yourselves a foreign language.
This came in overnight from Derek, who is MY KIND OF LANGUAGE-LEARNER:
Qualche feedback per il sito “Online Italian Club”
La carriera (delPalio di Siena)
Ho comprato questa easyreader per il futuro
Dai momento che l’e-book è di livelo C2 ma secondo me il tuo test penso di essere al livello B1. Va bene è la mia sfida. Ho dato una rapida occhiate e non vedo grossi problem. Anche Siena è nella mia lista da visitare a settembre a Moltepulciano alla scuola Il Sasso. Ho visto il famoso film su Il Palio e mi interessa molto. Tuttavia sto seguendo i tuo consigli e sto guardando e ascoltando la RAI via VPN e mi sono appasionato a °Il passo dal Cielo° e alle partite di calcio di Seria A, atraverso un insegnate della nostra scuola italiana locale s San Diego. Mi piaccono molto la Lazio e Lecce. La mi nuova sfida sono i vrebi pronominale e la ricera di esempi sufficiente di studiare. Devo anche integrare il tuo progamma Skype, le lezione sono di grande aiuto, ma ache noi l’abbiamo iniziato in modo famoso e ci divertiamo ogni settimana. Li aspetto ogni settimana.
Leggo i libri giallo, guardo i film italian con e senza sottotitoli, e le rivesti (per seempio Oggi, Focus e Facile Cucina, guardo Rai TV) similare ai tuo consigli sullo svedese.
E ora per qualcosa completamente diverso (aka Monty Python) In che modo la Brexit influenza i tuoi piani futoro
Godeti le vacanze
I’d rather not discuss Brexit, thank you Derek. I got given a hard time last time it was mentioned and today is Friday – I have my first Spanish Skype lesson in the afternoon, then plan to drink lots of beer.
But ‘verbi pronominali’ again. That’s the second time I’ve heard about them this week, the first time was from my Swedish conversation partner, also a club member, also sweating Italian grammar (unecessarily, in my opinion.)
OK, so maybe we DON’T HAVE ENOUGH EXERCISES on verbi pronominali?
If that’s the case, or if there’s anything else you think is missing, just drop me a line. I’ll take a look at our inventory and, if you’re right, or just if I have teachers I trust who need the cash, I’ll reinvest some of the ebook revenues in new exercises for the club site, where everyone can use them.
Except, of course, for the people who think that exploring a website is too much like hard work, or for those who’ve unsubscribed, bless their little hearts.
That said, those are the ones that make Derek and I, and perhaps you, look so good!
People think we have some special talent for learning foreign languages, when it’s just that we make an effort to understand the processes involved, and allow time for the magic to happen!
There ARE ‘3 new exercises’ each week over at EasyItalianNews.com, Gail.
Or doesn’t that count?
Actually, they’re bulletins of simplifed news, with audio.
But there are definitely three of them, each and every week.
And they’re indisputably free, given that they are paid for by revenues generated though this ‘newsy blog’, and through donations from readers.
A lunedì, allora.