Asynchronous online teaching

By Ursula Kallio / 2019-12-17 / In categories Posts

language-learning, russian

Let’s get concrete

For complexity to remain low, practice stating things that are obvious and concrete, rather than abstract and obscure. Avoid introducing philosophy into the mix. Focus on describing pictures or concrete interactions, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Experimenting with online learning

My current, two-week “intensive” Russian course is meant for those with at least an A1 level.

I recommend that one has at least a B1 level for such purposes. This would take care of the rudimentary vocabulary necessary for free-form feedback from the teacher.

Through this experience, I have learned a ton, just not sure how much Russian. In order to learn, use all of your preferred tools that you have available to you. For example, I input my teacher’s feedback into Google Translate to understand what she was saying. I then listen to each segment on loop in Audacity while I write down the instructions by hand. By repeating this listening exercise like so, I am able to make connections that would otherwise be impossible without the use of my preferred tools, namely pen and paper. For me, if I can write, I can speak. Through writing, I utter, speak, utter, speak, and utter some more.

For a language like Russian, it is extremely helpful to write down sentences to get the prosody of the words, phrases, and complete sentence. Particularly, you can catch pronunication gotchas, and capture all of the needed vocabulary to form that sentence. Let the learner choose how they want to learn at this stage in their learning journey. If anything, emphasize that getting better at x requires practicing x. Then let them choose what x means to them.

The number of things that are needed to say a sentence is high: recognize “unnatural” sounds, physically form them, hear short and long stress patterns, connections between words, understand the meaning of words, phrases, and account for any filler words that in this context have no other meaning than to confuse a low-level learner.

OK, it’s time for dinner.

Ursula Kallio


Ursula Kallio

A preferably autodidactic polyglot