Saturday, 8 December 2007

My personal learning environment

This idea of environment where you learn is.... amazing! I've never thought of it, but actually I'm learning more from what I do in my everyday life than from the number of lessons I attend, and attended in the last years. I'm not saying that those lessons were of no use to me, rather I spent more time out of those lessons, so it is important to define a Personal Language Environment in order to keep on learning!

Let's start identify my Personal Learning Environment at University: my formal education consists of mainly two kind of language lessons at University, one is normally called 'lettorato', where we are supposed to train our language skill, and then there are Language Lessons in which we reflect on the grammar and its rules.
The first are occasion of speaking, and also writing in English, we did activities such as translation, or peer revision, so you can learn from your mates, you can collect suggestions and you learn also correcting them (we make almost the same mistakes...). Our mother-tongue teachers indicate us the best tools to improve our English even outside the lesson.
The second are the classical idea of an English lesson, where we learn the general rules and how to apply them when we're writing and speaking.
Another important part of my formal education are literature lessons, the aim of these lessons is not to teach us anything about the language, but of course they are a way of learning a lot about the culture of the language we're studying, and considering that, mostly in the final years, our teachers speak in English during the lessons, they are surely a way of improving our listening skill.

Then we can go and see the things I do to improve my English... First of all related to those Literature lessons I was talking about, I read a lot of books, and many of them are in English, for example I read all the seven volumes of Harry Potter in English, and that caused me the impossibility of talking about Harry Potter with anybody who read it in Italian, because many of the names of the characters, and of the places are translated (try and guess how many of my friends read it in English...). Normally I like to read in English when it is the language in which the book is written, I would never read any italian book in another language it would sound too strange to me!

Sometimes I read articles from English newspapers, my favourite is The Independent, because it has an easy site to navigate and it is not as formal as others like The Guardian, or full of rumours like The Sun.
I like listening to the music, and of course many of the songs are in English... I'm not convinced that listening to English songs help you that much to improve your language, but surely you update your knowled
ge because they contain a lot of contractions or informal use of the language!
I'm not forgetting my blog, and all the tools that this first semester provided me, but they are the latest! First of all my blog, where I write once a week to do my homework, but that would be part of my formal education, the thing is that I'm really enjoying this activity, and I started wondering the blogosphere or reading other blogs, and I even subscribed those blogs with Bloglines, so that I track them!
I'm not using so much podcasts, but I'm watching different videos on YouTube and some of them are in English, but that was an activity I did before my latest discoveries on the net, because sometimes I like to watch films in their original language!
Unfortunately I've no great opportunities
to travel, but sometimes I go abroad, and those are the best occasion to test your use of the language, and to improve your ability.
I wish I could test my ability more often!

P.S. my personal computer is... in the hospital now, so I couldn't use my scanner to graphically write my PLE, I'll do it as soon as possible!

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