The advantage of classroom study over learning on your own lies – for me at least – not in the instructor being able to explain to you the most difficult things and help to understand them better, and neither in being able to socialize with and be encouraged by your studymates. No – in my experience the instructors are usually incompetent (either they don’t know the language, or they don’t know how to teach, or both) and the classmates are usually either braindead or whiny or annoying in one of the 1001 other ways.
The main advantage of classroom study is in that it forces you (me) to schedule your learning. 2 hours/week is a scrap, but it’s better to have 2 hours every week than to work a couple of 20-hour study weeks and then abandon a language for two months. The latter is what happens to me every so often. I move fast, stop for a long while and then have to pick it up from scratch again. And again. Oh, and yet another thing – repetitions and exercise drills. If you’re on your own, it’s all too easy to skip them – they’re too easy and too boring anyway. But the result is that it just doesn’t sink it as well as it should. Again, classroom and your dull and slow classmates help you here – subject to “deja vu all over again” you can’t help but form habits which are essential for active use of language.
The point of this post is that I am happy to report that I seem to have made progress on that front. I duly do my exercises and work on my Irish and Armenian at a painfully slow page-by-page pace. Let’s see how much longer will it last. For now I even (sort of) resisted the urge to do something new and exciting… but see the upcoming post on October challenge.