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https://www.duolingo.com/TigerGuy282

Doulingo vs. My Spanish Teacher

Let's just say, my Spanish teacher is a nice guy and he tries. But, after using Doulingo for 45 minutes, I learned more than I learned from him over a two week period. I am really satisfied with Doulingo (even though it sometimes makes me want to pick up my computer and chuck it against a wall). The only problem is, I don't have a lot of time for it.

3 years ago

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/romastutts
romastutts
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I make all of my students use Duolingo. What you can get in class that you can't get from Duolingo is conversational practice. Hopefully your teacher has you guys engaged in dialogue in class. I have my beginning 6th graders talking to each other by the first week.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyfmms

it really helps to go on your own pace

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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Just understand that your teacher has a specific guideline that he has to follow. There's only so much a teacher can fit into a 30-45 minute class, 5 days a week with multiple personalities and abilities to understand concepts like gender or verb conjugation.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to teach students with varying levels of motivation.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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As a language teacher I can confirm all your points are true. It can be challenging. My younger cousins often complain that their teachers don't teach them. I ask them how much they participate in class. The answer is usually "sometimes". If you feel you aren't being challenged in a language class, raise the bar by challenging yourself. Ask all questions in the L2. If you don't know how to ask for a pencil in the L2, ask how to say it in English once. You have a person fluent in the language at your disposal. The feedback he or she can provide is infinitely more valuable than what Duolingo can. Of course, continue with Duolingo, and maybe find an audio course in phrases. Do everything you can to add vocabulary, grammar, and common phrases. You'll always be learning. You can stop when you've learned the 100,000 or so words in Spanish. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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here's a lingot for the educator. I wish I raised the bar by challenging myself when I was in junior high school.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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I took the easy way out during most of my Italian classes as a teenager. I would prepare about five statements that would get me out of speaking and use them to great effect. I could have learned so much more.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/loolitay
loolitay
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I used to do that--but recently I've been making more of an effort to speak in class. It just doesn't feel like nearly enough. But my Spanish isn't good enough to hold a conversation with a native speaker... any recommendations for how to proceed? I've been watching, reading, and writing things in Spanish on my own time, but it's the speaking that's always been the hardest part for me, in all languages.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anniejo99
anniejo99
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When we learn something, we do a lot of interactive stuff, have full conversations, listen to Spanish music, etc. With Duo you can memorize one thing in a couple minutes but you'll forget it if you don't take the time to put it in practice. Listening to a fluent Spanish speaker go on a fast-paced tangent (my teacher ALL THE TIME) is a lot different than listening to a robot say a very short & slow sentence word by word. People don't really talk like that! Learning from a real person in a real class takes longer but it's definitely worth your while if you want to be truly fluent. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Adina_atl

I think to master a language you need a real person--with or without a class--but for beginning a language Duolingo can be better than a class. A fluent Spanish speaker going on a fast-paced tangent is NO USE AT ALL to a beginning student. A teacher who spends most of their time trying to keep 30 bored pre-teens in order is also no use to a beginning student. Doing twenty exercises and then waiting 24 hours for feedback is a lot less effective than the instant feedback of Duolingo.

My niece took a year of Spanish in middle school. Her class was a joke. By the end of the year she could have passed Basics 1, Phrases, and Basics 2. That's it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anniejo99
anniejo99
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That's true. Granted, my class in school is an "advanced beginner" class (?) so a lot of it has to do with learning things at a faster pace, not being allowed to speak very much English during the 1 hr 40 mins of class, speaking Spanish under pressure, etc. which does not work with most people at all, even those who are at an intermediate level. Most people can't rely on Duolingo alone when they get past the beginner stage, but on the latter most beginners can't rely on classroom teachings alone.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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There are many people online that prove you do not need a real person to master a language. One of the most famous polyglots Kató Lomb didn't use a real person to master several languages.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OnesimusUnbound

Very interesting multilingualist! I'm current reading her ways of studying languages and will test them myself to see if these work for me. Thanks for the post.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/toussaintlou
toussaintlou
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Great link. Thanks.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/superdaisy

Her method still involves lots of writing and speaking to herself, which Duolingo doesn't scaffold except in discrete sentences. (On that note, context is very important to her method--and Duo doesn't do any of that except in Immersion.)

I also presume that Lomb spoke with other speakers of the language at some point. You might be motivated to only ever read in your target language, but many people are motivated to travel or communicate with people. Some degree of face-to-face interaction is going to be useful at some point.

And finally, her brain isn't necessarily like everyone else's brain, so saying "Kató can do it!" doesn't mean that everyone can. It's certainly a really interesting method to experiment with and see if it works for you, but it's not a panacea.

Short version: every student is going to benefit from being self-motivated and self-aware enough to learn on their own. But doing so takes strategies and self-awareness, and those are often learned to some degree.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tropicalnut
tropicalnut
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Oh I don't know, I paid for lessons and spent a lot of time on them. I memorised a lot of words and got involved in some of the best language programs around. I travelled for months at a time in Mexico (lots of people speak English there) but I went of the beaten path. Last February I found DL. So far it is the best language tool I have found.

My wife who is not as motivated as I am also has a huge improvement.

This year we are back in Mexico for the winter and I am very happy with my gain in Spanish, esp with my ability to hear the sentences of native speakers. I am no where near fluent, but I can get by just fine. I am almost finished the Spanish tree and am half way through again with zero mistakes this time. If I get a mistake I redo the lesson till I have full hearts. I think repeating a lesson a few times really helps.

All in all DL is the best!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Emmiegram
Emmiegram
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Thank you for sharing. I'm almost to Level 20 in Spanish, and wonder where I'll go from there. I love your idea of repeating the tree with zero mistakes. What a challenge that would be!!! I just might try it. Thanks for that suggestion.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
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agreed. One of my motivations are the many people who started their journey alone without necessarily being immersed in a specific location to learng their L2.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_-C1-_
_-C1-_
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Wow. Maybe I should see if I can get a real life tutor somewhere.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyfmms

i agree but duolingo helps becaus eyou can go at your own pace and go back when ever you want once you get really involved they also give you things to read

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pont
pont
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Good that you like it! It's "Duolingo" not "Doulingo" by the way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/moshen244
moshen244
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So many of the sentences in Duolingo are unnatural and unconversational, though.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

Duo's emphasis is not on conversational Spanish. There are many resources out there, Duo is only one, and Duo does its own thing.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/joshlindenmuth

Do you know a good app for practicing conversational Spanish? I live in an area where I rarely come in contact with Spanish speaking individuals.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

I have not used an app. Extra@ on Youtube is pretty good. I do most of my solitary conversational practice in my own head, imagining a conversation a a given context. Imagine walking into a store looking for a loaf of bread and a jar of strawberry jam, and talk it over with the owner. Or a taxi, or buying a bus ticket, or ordering in a restaurant, or asking for something in a pharmacy. And so on. Take the everyday conversations you have in English, and work them out in Spanish. ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
Wonderboy6
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The best resource other than native speakers ive ever come across was a book called 'spanish among amigos'. great book

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ampdot

A lot of Duolingo's answers are phrases, not sentences. Ex. "The women drink milk" because they all have osteoporosis. They are also teaching you usage, but not conversation, conversation is your spanish teacher's job; people learning english may learn using unnatural elements but are fully aware of the unnaturalness.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
BobbieL
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There are some approaches to language learning that emphasize memorizing a few realistic/necessary phrases and jumping into conversations as quickly as possible. Since Duolingo doesn't support conversations at all and it'd be very difficult for them to do so, that approach doesn't make very much sense here.

The silly and odd and slightly inexplicable sentences and phrases actually offer some special value. Stuff like "The bear drinks beer" is clearly successful at being amusing and memorable, because people run to the forums to joke about it. That means it helps break up the potential tedium :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/superdaisy

Clearly you learn well from repetition and immediate feedback. (And probably the gamification doesn't hurt either.) That's useful information for you to know! You can use that in your class, or at least in homework and practice.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/breqwas
breqwas
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Learning a language (as in real learning) is a long run. It's not about 45 minutes or two weeks, but more like about months and years. Duo is a great tool and it helps a lot in certain aspects (it adds plenty of basic vocabulary and helps to practice a few grammar forms that it emphasizes a lot), but it's just what it is.

Maybe you're unlucky - like, your teacher is not a native speaker and knows little about the language, or he's using a very bad textbook (that happened to me before - I'm Russian, and you really should not learn English from English language textbooks publushed in USSR 30 years ago), or your group is too large and has too much students who don't care. The latter is the most common problem.

Most of these problems can be fixed by just changing your teacher. If your current one is free (public school, free courses, etc), then consider finding a paid one.

Believe me, you'll need a teacher if you really want to be able to read, write, speak and comprehend a foreign language.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheLdawg

I hear ya, for me it's the 1 on 1 aspect. I'm not a good learner in groups or a classroom-like atmosphere.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/inguhzee

Oh wow, I was actually expecting the opposite when I read the title of this post. I have a few different Spanish tutors, but my go to tutor is incredible. I feel like I learn more with him than Duo, because our lessons are more conversational and we don't focus much on grammar unless necessary.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BobbieL
BobbieL
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How much time did you spend actively testing yourself during that two weeks of Spanish class?

There's a good chance it doesn't add up to 45 minutes. That's most of your problem.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DanD_8
DanD_8
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When learning at the secondary level, 45 minutes a day just isn't enough to retain. You need at least 15 minutes a day of just looking over your notes. Too often, students let their notes sit until a day or two before an exam. They then feverishly read and complain that nothing is sticking. Instead, one should reread the whole unit's notes, every day, once or twice. Anything that is unclear should be brought up in class the next day.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/friends_are_bae

well, try to put apart a little time from your schedule so that you can learn a little bit of Spanish at least once a week and youll see th e difference

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wonderboy6
Wonderboy6
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You could blits your secondary school (elementary school?!) exams with duo

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ampdot

Do a 10xp streak and do extra when you want/have time. I usually do 10xp on the weekdays and 90/100xp on the weekends because it encourages me so much.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elawesome1

yeah

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wildhorserider

I agree, one summer I started Doulingo but had to take a two week break and when I came back I barely remembered a thing! ButI LOVE Doulingo!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/maddyfmms

can u do it at school

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bdavidfuentes

when you do things because you want, and not because you have to, you have more fun and learn faster. This is the reason why i love Duolingo: I can set my own pace, and I do it for fun and when I want it. Buena suerte!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jasl0

Time? I use a 15-minute desktop timer for the repetitive daily work, it focuses me and stops me from wall-chucking my computer becasue of silly inattentive input errors

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/astainton20

so true....my spanish teacher took 1 week to teach us numbers and in one week on duolingo I was speaking fluently.

3 years ago