Tip for students: Audio record your lessons
I haven’t spoken Moroccan Arabic in three years, but I plan to relearn it in a few days.
How, you ask?
With the audio recordings I made from my lessons. While I was living in Morocco, I began studying Moroccan Arabic, also called Darija, at a nearby school. Every time I walked to class, I brought along my laptop and used GarageBand, the audio recording program that came with the computer, to record my one-on-one lessons. I simply opened the computer near the desk where we worked, hit Record, and forgot about it. Now I have 22 hours of recordings, perfect for language review.
Fluency is NOT my ambition–I was never fluent even when I was living in Morocco–but I do hope that when I revisit my old city of Tetouan that I can navigate with language and enjoy a few friendly conversations. At the very least, I will be able to order for my dad and friends all my favourite foods.
Why it works so well
- Familiarity. Instead of learning language unrelated to my life, I am jumping back into familiar territory, in this case, talking about family, travel, food, and work.
- Slow pace. If I read old notes, then I cannot help but skim them. The audio recordings force me to slow down, so that I might actually remember what I learn.
- Pronunciation. I can actually hear my instructor’s pronunciation, and my pronunciation (which, I’m happy to say, improves throughout the lessons). I can practice speaking as I listen, too.
Tips for audio recordings
- Use written notes combined with audio recordings. I am finding this relearning easy because I have the in-class notes that Fatima and I created plus our conversation that went with them.
- Don’t worry about perfect audio. These days you can record with almost anything–your phone, your camera, your computer. Don’t worry about the perfect program or the perfect sound quality. Just start and figure it out as you go.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Put the recorder where it will catch the voices you want, but not distract people. Many learners (and teachers!) are shy about being recorded, but you will get over it. Of course, you do need to get permission from your teacher to record.
- Record conversations, too. If you are not taking classes or having one-on-one lessons, but you are having conversations in an additional language, try recording some of them, and listening later. It’s amazing what you can catch when you are just listening, and not “in the moment”, preparing a response.