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Maybe it would be better to keep the Discussions and the whole website separated from Schools.

I think everyone can agree that the new emphasis on Duolingo for schools / little children has gradually detriorated the quality of this site. Wouldn't it be better to create some sort of separation between the school Duolingo, to be used by children who are forced to do it, and our Duolingo? Think about it. This way we could have a Duolingo more focused on good citizens who actually want to learn and contribute, and the Discussions would be much better, like in the old days. This would also pretty much solve the downvote problem. And even the language learning part: the exercises could be less "easyfied" and more L1 to L2 translation, as well as other features. The school children don't even need Discussions — that's what the teacher is for. They do more harm than good. And if some of them like Duolingo enough, they can always join the serious site. Let's just do what we can to keep the ones who don't even want to be here out.

October 15, 2017



Then serious "little children" (like me!) would have to do twice the work, once so their teachers could see it on your 'school Duolingo' and then again on 'our Duolingo'. This would be unfair and redundant. I also use Discussions a lot to keep updated on important matters such as forum updates and new languages being added to the incubator. Sorry for the self-promo, but I've also helped out quite a few new users or users with German questions on the forums because I've learned quite a lot in my two years on here.


Another way to spin this to Duo is that it will be a great benefit to online child safety having schools separated from the rest of the site!

Think of the poor, innocent lambs!!! (Really just want them off our site, but shhh...) :P


It would be great if they could filter out all the garbage posts and if they could find a solution to the downvoting problem, however I don't think it will ever be done, considering the fact that it would basically require them to create two separate websites...


There are already tinycards.duolingo.com, englishtest.duolingo.com, schools.duolingo.com etc. I assume this could be done the same way, or like the Duolingo Pearson courses, however those have been carried out.

If the school children "need cartoon characters telling them how great they are every two minutes", "can't stand anything that's moderately difficult", "won't stay motivated unless we lie about their fluency" and "will become alcoholics and criminals if they learn words like wine and blood" (if I ever have children, I'll remember to tell them to put a bandage over the wound to stanch the ketchup), whereas the serious learners "would like to learn a language", maybe the groups are different enough that they should consider not going by the lowest common denominator. But knowing that we have been saying the same thing for years and there is still no setting for difficulty, not going to happen.


If the school children "need cartoon characters telling them how great they are every two minutes", "can't stand anything that's moderately difficult"

Children's brains are much more plastic than adults'; if anything, they would benefit from more difficult courses than the rest of Duolingo, particularly when everything is gamified. Fifty years ago, children were taught considerably more in-depth knowledge and skills in schools, and they got on with it; fifty years before that, schools could turn out 12-year-old who could read Virgil. Children have a remarkable ability to learn if one doesn't tell them that what they are learning is supposed to be difficult. Lowering the bar is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing in education—we have barely scratched what the mind is truly capable of.


Fifty years ago, when I was in elementary school, my school taught languages (maybe only one language?) only through a totally-optional class before school started, one or two days a week. Judging by the one semester I lasted through and vaguely remember, it was pretty simple.

Languages were available in a more serious form in junior high and high school. Even so, the 7th and 8th grade versions were each the equivalent of only half a year of the language (and taught in a 1/2 course time-slot).

At the junior high and high school level, verb tenses were spread out over three years (four, for students who took the 7th and 8th grade half courses), so Duolingo's grammar coverage comparatively looks quite good. I don't remember enough about how much vocabulary was covered in the high school courses to make a comparison.

My parents learned two or three languages each in high school (seventy-some years ago) and my impression is that they covered more ground more quickly, so that two years was roughly equivalent to three years for my generation. If they took languages before high school, I don't remember ever hearing about it.

You have to remember, though, that they were both college-bound. I suspect that students who were not in college prep courses may never have had the option to learn a language.


...and if they're very young, they'd benefit even more from using the language in everyday life at school, daycare, etc. than in any formal course.

You know, like the way we didn't need to take courses to lean our native languages when we were very young. ;)



Scutigera, learning to talk in general can't be done without learning a language or two or few. ;)

Well, my initial comment was mostly response to Margaret:

How after THREE YEARS of learning your native language you could only do three word sentences that people outside of your family would have trouble understanding.

Learning to talk is still different to learning an additional language when you already know how to talk, and have some concepts of the world in general and how it works under the belt (the cat will bite and scratch you if you pull the cat around by the tail).

I mean, I get it, I jokingly tell my friend that as long as I know more Portuguese words than her 3 year-old [Portuguese] niece, then I feel good about my progress. But, it is not the same as putting that niece in a French pre-school to intuitively learn another language at the same time. The human brain is wired to learn languages before the age of 8 and after that it is harder and the new language will likely have an accent in part because of the way neurons get wired and partly because we do not learn the new words as part of our [albeit divided] intuitive language skills but rather we hear the "foreign" word, translate to our native language, form a response in our native language and translate back to the other language even if all is done very quickly.

My interest started when my Iranian boss married a Japanese woman and their 4 year-old son was fully fluent in not just English but also Japanese and Persian. My wish to have had that opportunity is why I pushed it on my daughter (which I do not regret because it had many benefits far beyond another language). All this led me to research how we acquire language, and children are amazing. My daughter also had 2 Peruvian girls in her English class who knew seemingly not even one word of English on the first day of school. I was so worried for them but the teacher was very relaxed. "They always catch up" she told me, and sure enough they were fully fluent by the end of the year (9 months).

Well, I could go on, such as that on the Mandarin side they also learned math (and science and art, and eventually social studies) and the Chinese teacher had not been told what they should learn so she taught them what they would learn. My daughter knew at age 6 what I was not taught until I was at least 10 or 11.

I feel a bit cheated. ={

Also, the 3rd grade English teacher, a veteran of 20 years ran out of curriculum and had to develop more because these children, as a unit, were so hungry for more, even with having divided days.

Anyway, the immersion experience is not working as well for me in my adult state as it does for the youth. However, now that I have a word base I can see it kicking into gear, and it is exciting. :)

But, if Duolingo is all there is rather than immersion which most schools do not have, then I would have been extremely excited to have it at any stage of the school career. Indeed, it is why I am here now. Certainly better than college German was.

Heh, apologies. Not as light-hearted a reply as I meant to give.


It seems less a fear that the children "will become alcoholics and criminals if they learn words like wine and blood" than a fear that the teachers "will get fired if they teach words like wine and blood, and would rather not use Duolingo for Schools than risk their jobs."


than a fear that the teachers "will get fired if they teach words like wine and blood

And what is that fear based on? The teachers don't receive angry phone calls after they have taught words like cat and dog so I'm assuming these "mature" words are seen as harmful to children by certain people.


The USA is pretty prudish, and there are lots of home schooled kids here that are of a religious bent where their families don't want them to encounter such things.

It's one of the odd negatives of having this site designed by an American company.


And what I was suggesting is that those people don't want their kids to encounter such things because they fear the exposure to those words traumatises the kids and they become alcoholics or criminals.


I would generally like to see an option for more advanced content. Stories is a step in the right direction, so I hope that continues. However, it seems to me that everything is being blamed on children but surely they can't be responsible for it all?

  • Children are not responsible for the demise of immersion. Most of us didn't use it for reasons that had nothing to do with schools or kids.

  • The proportion of English to foreign language changed because when they try to increase it, people in general leave in droves.

  • There are several adult trolls and others posting things that some consider irrelevant or they simply get tired of people asking the same questions repeatedly. I've been around for at least a couple years and it seems to me that discussion has been about the same as it's ever been since I've started. Sure, there are probably some obnoxious or clueless kids, but there seem to be no shortage of adults that fall into those categories as well.

  • It seems highly unlikely that all the people downvoting gratiutously are children.

[deactivated user]

    This is a great idea and it needs to happen! (◕‿◕)


    They have clearly decided to focus on schools, not adult learners. I don’t expect that will change.


    If they separated them they could have both. The school children don't even need Discussions - that's what the teacher is for. They do more harm than good.


    I've heard that there are lots of websites that are bad for children, which have adults on them, who are pretending to be children.
    So I think it's good for children to be on a safe website such as Duolingo, learning languages and with a safe community.
    So the teacher should discuss stuff with them. Well, some teachers don't like kids talking. At least when I went to school that's how it was. Children are still learning their own language and have to learn how to express themselves.

    Two separate websites would be a lot more expense.

    I am an adult and the language courses are hard enough for me.



    .... not adult learners.

    You mean " ........ not native English adult learners".
    For many non-native English adult learners (like me), Duolingo's current teaching method is very good.

    1. the Normal tree for native English speakers -> this is for non-native English speakers
      "the *laddering tree "language 2" to "language 3"

    2. the Reverse tree for native English speakers -> this is for non-native English speakers
      "the *laddering tree "language 3" to "language 2"

    3. the Laddering trees for native English speakers -> Did you ever try it yourself,
      for instance "German from Spanish" and "Spanish from German"?
      Please, tell me after trying this, whether Duolingo's current learning method was useful for you or not.
      This is the main type of learning for non-native English speakers!


    Yes, and to clarify: don't forget that the same course can be a Normal tree for one user, a Reverse tree for another user, and a Laddering tree for a third user! :)


    Even years prior, Duolingo had the issue of having young children disrupting forums. Though, I would say it is much worse now, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, I would say that it's inevitable and I don't know if this issue can be completely remedied. For one thing, you have the option not to look at childish posts. Ignoring them is what many people do. But, I suppose your idea could help a lot.

    Downvoting doesn't bother me because like many things here, it is inevitable and shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings. My only problem is when decent posts get downvoted for no reason and when spam is upvoted by children wanting to keep their "chatrooms" alive.

    As for "easyfied" translations, it never sincerely bothered me, but it did confuse me a bit when I was doing the French tree from English on another account. I mean, children are inevitably going to use this site, so it ought to accommodate for all people. However, when I made a second account on Duolingo, I had already known French to an extent, so it felt like my intelligence was being insulted. At least, that was my experience. This was when classrooms came around into existence.

    Overall, this is a potentially good idea. Serious school children shouldn't feel too impacted by this, as they can have one account for using discussions and one purely for learning. It really shouldn't be a problem, unless a user doesn't like managing two accounts (even though it would only be one since they would only learn on one account). The minor issue, I guess, is that if they wanted to come to the "main" site to learn, they would have to restart a tree that they could have possibly finished or gotten far into all over again, which isn't fair for them. On the bright side, it would mean extra learning!

    Anyways, I like this post. ^ ^


    Actually, teachers can disable Discussions for students. And actually, my opinion is that they could ask their students at the end of the year if they would like to continue using Duolingo. If not, then the teachers can delete the students’ accounts, but keep the students’ who want to continue seriously learning Duolingo.


    They can only disable discussions for the account in the classroom. However, it is easy to create another account and use that to access the discussions, during school time.

    If their monitoring software (if they have any) just tracks traffic by domain name, then all traffic will still appear under duolingo.com, so it will not be obvious what is going on.

    The discussions should really be on a separate domain name, so that schools can block it. For example: discussions.duolingo.com or whatever

    Note: Existing URLs can just be forwarded to the new domain, so no links are broken.


    What age of "child" are we talking about? Technically, I'm still a "child". You still have a "child's" brain when you are 20 years old, for it is still developing. At my old school, we had to learn Spanish without computers, because we had really "old school" computers. No Duo for me! And now Duo is the way I learn Italian.


    Actually I think it is more the emphasis on devices like phones, and tablets that is degrading the internet in general. I have seen this on site after site. The dumbing down of the internet to accommodate the so-called, "smart" phone.

    A lot is being lost in this, not just on Duolingo. :(


    I think this is a great idea, but I'd rather have the Duolingo team working more on getting more labs and storied ready for more languages rather than basically creating two separate websites.


    Have been here long enough to remember how Duolingo was before? And it's only getting worse. The team that makes the website doesn't have to worry about adding other languages. I think dealing with this problem is much more important than adding more features. That can wait. It's only getting worse...


    I like the stories quite a bit. I think they are a fun good feature for learning.


    I agree. But there can be problems with that.

    I'm in Spanish at school, and we might use Duolingo later on in the year, not sure. I'm active in the forums, so I couldn't participate without making a new account. But what if I wanted to? There just isn't a way to filter it out. No lukewarm, just all out ban or let them stay.

    What if I'm in Spanish and I have a German question? Can I access that forum?

    But yeah, we could make the sentences more abstract and L1 -> L2, would be nice.


    Good points. And I don't think it is just kids who make posts some people don't like in the forums. The solution for forums, and saying this I don't think there is a massive problem, is to adjust forum functioning, not ban schools. But honestly, I don't see it as a huge problem, because if there is a ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ post, I don't read it.

    But yeah, talking about how the learning algorythm functions, sure I am for talking about that. I am not all about just the ratio, but I think there are strategies that could make learning specific languages more easier. The thing is though, this comes from contributors in large part though. For example, I have found starting learning the Romanian tree to b e very difficult. Having exercises with one word in no context, then having to use it in a sentence with cases seems to be poor judgement. The hebrew course on the other hand focuses on learning specific language concepts, while gaining vocab.


    But also, I have noticed no algorythm change.


    I don't think it would be that much of a problem to have two accounts in that case. What matters is that you learn the language. If you have one School account for Spanish and another for German, you still learn. We have to set some boundaries if we want to make this a better place.


    We have to set some boundaries if we want to make this a better place.

    That is the reason, why you don't need to complain about translating from L2 (foreign language) to L1 (your native language).
    Because you, as a native English speaker, can easily do the reverse trees to improve L1 (English) to L2 for German, Spanish, French, Hungarian and Italian.

    Duolingo has made a better place for non-native adult English speakers and adult beginners!


    What is the new emphasis on Duolingo for schools? And what is this about exercised being made easier?


    Haven't you noticed? All this changes and reluctance to make harder exercises is because of Duolingo for Schools. They want to make it the most kid-pleasing possible. The exercises are heavily passive, mostly translating from Target Language to First Language, when the opposite would be better. If it gets too hard, the little children will give up. They're also the reason for the degradation of the Discussions.


    But contributors make the courses. And they are the ones setting up the exercise, not Duolingo specifically. If you want to have some one go mess with the algorythm that determines the exercise composition, I support a togable function, but I do not believe exercises are how they are because of schools. Also, other resources exist and the reverse course.

    And what changes? They had a forum update but I don't know what you are talking about.


    Over the past two years the exercises have gotten simpler, reverse translation was pretty much stripped out, immersion was eliminated, being able to engage with another member is gone (I used to have great discussions about etymology and language). The forum seems simplified. Lots of emphasis on the ap and clubs. Things that truly don’t move the needle on learning.

    I can’t complain really. It still has use for what it is, but is is less powerful than it was. And I think it’s clear they would like to go for breadth rather than depth, which means you can get a taste of a language and then go elsewhere to study to fluency.

    On the other hand, stripping out engagement and flexibility - while it removes sophistication - also removes much of the ridiculous, hostile spam and cliquey posturing that used to fill this place.


    If what you say is true, it would mean the algorythm for exercises given has changed. I have been on duolingo for a year, and not noticed this. If what you say is true, it would mean an algorythm change, likely, in what exercises are given.

    Why was immersion removed?

    "being able to engage with another member is gone"...the forums are still here, and even if there is a higher percentage of nonsense posts, does not mean one can't engage with other members in meaningful ways. That is preposterous.

    Makes sense. I am curious about the immersion aspect. I also have liked the idea of a chat function being included to the website, knowing very well this function exists in other places. And also, I don't think Duolingo has ever been able to get someone fluent; that is preposterous.

    And I don't think depth and breadth have to be exclusive. I mean every complaint you have, though I don't think they are completely valid, has solutions in website (and outside of course. Toggable translation ration for exercises, bring back immersion, and adjust forum settings.


    There was a rather abrupt change maybe a year and a half ago when they did a big app upgrade and things got simpler. I loved immersion, but it was clear even when I started it was seriously messed-up, unmoderated, and Duolingo no longer felt a commitment to it. Removing chat was a huge mistake in my opinion, but removing view into someone’s personal activity stream was an essential safety feature that has alleviated a lot of creepy stalking, so I’m quite glad they did that.

    Things change. I get that. I think many of the changes are for the worse, but that doesn’t mean I think Duolingo is not worthwhile. It’s a great FREE program. It just is geared at a lower level than it used to be.


    They had to remove Immersion because of updating the website to new code. They said it wouldn't be "an intelligent use of their time". As for the Activity, it was a choice of removing that or the whole website was going to crash. We were promised a new Discussion and new Activity, which we are still waiting for.


    What was there official statement. It sounded like an interesting feature to me, and if there was a function to transfer english texts to Spanish or Portuguese, or a combination, I would have checked that out.

    There was a chat?

    I haven't felt there have been problematic changes made to the website.


    As a contributor, I can tell you we are not the ones dumbing this place down. In fact, this is a really sore point for many of us. We create the content, that is true, but Duolingo tweaks the ways and proportions of how that content is deployed and presented to users. Much of our volunteer work is effectively discarded, hence some irritation. We do have a reverse translation block toggle switch, but its use will not begin to explain the 80+ percent unidirectionality of translations from L2 to L1. Duo's algorithms track the user failure rates for each exercise and adjust the frequency of deployment in response. Much of what we have done thus remains hidden, test-driven only seldom, thus unfamiliar to the users, who predictably continue to fail--a giant feedback loop that arguably amplifies random twitches into near-permanently discarded exercises.


    Thank you for sharing.


    Reverse courses aren't a get out of jail free card when they are available for approximately half of the language pairs.


    That is a pity, indeed.
    Nevertheless, you can do the reverse and laddering trees for Spanish and French and the reverse tree for Greek.

    But many adult people like me, are not able to learn Spanish, French and Greek in a course in which they meanly have to translate from English to Spanish, French and Greek.


    Why not? The same courses are available for everyone. And before you answer, I'm a non-native adult who has spent about two months in an English speaking country.

    Although I think it was team Korean who actually advised against using their reverse tree because it's meant to teach English and thus contains slightly awkward/unnatural/old-fashioned Korean, so maybe no one can truly learn Spanish/French/Greek in a course where they translate from English to those languages.



    .... kid-pleasing possible .....
    .... mostly translating from Target Language to First Language, when the opposite would be better .......
    If it gets too hard, the little children will give up

    Why are native English speakers always so selfish?
    There are so many adult students on Duolingo (like me), who cannot learn Duolingo's courses from their native language!

    • At first, we have to learn or to brush up our English from our native language, before we can start to learn other foreign languages on Duolingo.
    • We are always busy with laddering: language 3 from language 2 (English).
    • It is very difficult for many non-native English speakers (like me) to start a course by "translating from English to language 3". While it is so easy for English native speakers to rush throught the "English to foreign language" course, and then to start the reverse tree!

    If it gets too hard, the little children will give up. They're also the reason for the degradation of the Discussions.

    What about all those native English speakers who are constantly .....

    • asking about "why so many different words for the and a/an", "why male, female, neuter" etc, etc.
    • complaining about mostly translating from Target Language to First Language, but they are too lazy to do the reverse course!

    Duolingo uses a very good teaching method for beginners and for people, who want to brush up their school knowledge.
    More background information in my comments in these discussions:


    "While it is so easy for English native speakers to rush throught the "English to foreign language" course, and then to start the reverse tree!"

    It took me two years to finish the French tree from English. If a user "rushes" through a tree, it's probably because they are consistent and/or happen to do many lessons in a single day, and prolong that for many days. It's not "easy" for all native English speakers. It also depends on how you are able to retain your learning. Some people can learn another language quickly and some cannot. French is easy for me, for the most part, but it took me forever to finish the tree and it will take me forever to finish the reverse one. No single native English speaker is the same.

    Though, I will agree that if you have a better grasp of English, you can probably work through a tree faster (with English as the set native language).


    It took me two years to finish the French tree from English

    That's exactly the reason why todays Duolingo's teaching method is so good.

    1. Normal tree
    2. Reverse tree
    3. Laddering trees

    More info in my comment in


    too lazy to do the reverse tree

    Or they don't have the option to do one because more than a third of courses for both Spanish and English speakers don't have a reverse tree.


    That is a pity, indeed.
    Nevertheless, you can do the reverse and laddering trees for Spanish and French and the reverse tree for Greek.

    But many adult people, like me, are not able to learn Spanish, French and Greek in a course in which they meanly have to translate from English to Spanish, French and Greek.


    Scuzi, friend. Native English speakers aren't trying to be selfish. It's the same way for us when we are learning other languages. For Italian conjunctions and prepositions, I had to do the timed practice to strengthen them about 4 times. It's hard to learn another language. It requires dedication and time. Keep working at it. I know I'm probably way younger than you, so I'm sorry if I'm being disrespectful to you. Just trying to help. SPQR and Ciao. Warriorg315


    It has nothing to do with lazyness to wish that Duolingo would make the tree more difficult! For one it's not an "official" solution, but a workaround for that problem, but not ideal, since it teaches the base language as a foreign language. There is a different focus in the lessons. It's also not available for every language.

    I would do the reverse tree in Swedish if it were available, but it isn't. (but I still don't think that this would be the best solution. It's just something to at least try to replace what is missing.)

    That they analyze how many people are learning English on Duo in their newest report, without even mentioning that part could be using reverse trees.. Is also something to keep in mind. I don't think they are the largest part of people in the US learning English, but they are definitely part of it. It's not meant that way, even though it remedies the problem a bit. The problem still exists and is seemingly getting worse with more app like questions bleeding into the web version.

    I'd prefer it to be more difficult even in the original trees. Despite not using Duo in my native language.


    This is a great idea. Guaranteed, 1 out of 3 students actually care about this website and learning languages. And if they enjoy Duolingo and want to take it seriously. they should make an account outside of school. However the other 2 will think it's funny to pollute the discussions and not care that people genuinely want to learn a language.


    You suggested that serious students make a separate account for school and for seriousness. I'm one of those serious students, and I don't really think that would work because then I would have to do twice as much work, once on the account that's serious and then again on the school account. The way my class did it, is that you would get extra credit for doing Duolingo, so I would have to do twice the work, which would just be stupid and redundant.


    Could you do most of the work on one account and then test out of that work on the other account?


    The ones who don't want to be here would probably be less temped to create an account exclusively dedicated to trolling (or at least that's what i believe in my naïve world view)


    But that would mean they would loose there progress, and it is naive to assume that all the uninteresting posts are made by those coming from school.

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