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Linkword - load of tosh or useful?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by minka1, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Neil_Kendall_Languages

    Neil_Kendall_Languages New commenter

    Well for one, Linkword only teaches visualisations for genders for languages where it's not possible/very difficult to figure out the gender of words from the words alone. Spanish doesn't really have this problem, as you can most of the time figure out the gender from whether the words end in 'o' or 'a'. So the boxer visualisation isn't used in the Linkword Spanish course as it's not needed. The course simply explains the pattern of genders for endings of nouns.

    Also, not everyone is clued up about the origins of words. Realistically, how many average UK school students would know be able to trace the origins of the word 'horse' back to 'caballo' in the way you described? That's pretty specialised knowledge really. It's far easier and more stimulating to simply use a Linkword style memory hook instead.
     
  2. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Rugby School in Warwickshire tried out Link word. Click on following link to see a letter from them

    http://www.linkwordlanguages.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Linkword-at-Rugby-School.pdf
     
  3. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    That's a terrible correlation. The initial syllable for cable is pronounced 'cay'. not the 'cab' that you bneed for the start of caballo. It reminded me of an A-Z pictorial resource for infant pupils that had a capital A and a picture of an apple. That picture should only have appeared with the lower case letter (to arrive at the same sound). A=Eh!
    Imagine teaching children their mother tongue using Linkword strategies!
    We know that those who become able readers quickly do so by being exposed as often as possible to the written word. They see the written word from infancy when stories are read to them. They even memorise the text and tell you in no uncertain terms when you try to précis the story when you're in a hurry.
    A generation of children were hampered in their literacy by being introduced first to adapted spellings that were meant to make them better readers. They had to learn something incorrect first and then unlearn it later, and many failed the latter.
    Quick fixes are usually anything but quick.
     
  4. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    But that's the whole point of Linkword. To take something unfamiliar in a foreign language and link it to something familiar in the native language.
     
  5. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    ... but the link you gave is bogus and doesn't even help with pronunciation. Apart from anything else, cabling someone is a term that's not likely to be understood by a lot of learners. A lot of Linkword images may well turn out to need lengthy explanations. You end up with unfamiliar foreign words linked to something unfamiliar in the native language.
    In a similar vein, I had reservations about the use of flashcards for anything but clear correlations between picture and word. In my NQT year I used the flashcards that came with a textbook. I was teaching Places in the Town in French. La Gare (station) was one of the places and the flashcard showed a train, train platform and adjoining buildings. The pupils ended up consistently calling out 'la gare' whenever I showed the card. When I came to testing the the topic and had them write the English for the French word, or vice versa, a significant number had understood la gare to mean the train or the platform. Using the English from the get-go would have been far more effective.
     
  6. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    I can do it in one sentence. I'm probably going to get flamed for this but, you need to have (1) intelligence enough to perceive the links between languages and to understand the grammar; (2) the interest and motivation to see you through the language learning process, which is hard, and (3) a good grammar-based course that teaches you the language, instead of filling your head with nonsense.

    You obviously have the first and the second. if you really want to learn Spanish I recommend that you get yourself a proper language course with CDs, such as Prisma.
     
    jubilee likes this.
  7. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    Very well said. Last sentence especially.
     
  8. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    When learning the words all the following are given - correct spelling of the word, approximate pronunciation of the word if you have the book, actual pronunciation of the word if you have tapes or everything if you have software, cd or app. Of course nothing is perfect and some errors can be made by producer of learning materials as well as those using materials as you say in your example using flashcards. It's always a cost benefit analysis.
     
  9. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Or a complete waste of money and time!
     
  10. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Can't seem to find any information on Prisma or their courses.
     
  11. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    Neil, would you mind stating which language(s) your first degree was in, or failing that, how many officially recognised qualifications (eg DELF, CILS)) you hold at CEFR C1 equivalent or above in addition to your teaching, or other pedagogical qualifications - and how much actual teaching or classroom experience you have?
     
  12. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    minka1 likes this.
  13. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Imagine if the govt gave £1m to every child earning a gcse in an MFL. Would participation in language learning and success rates increase in students? Don't you think the majority of kids would then acquire the traits you mentioned? Of course this is an extreme example. But extrinsic rewards whatever they may be play a huge part in influencing people's behaviour. Are the kids in the UK who are not acquiring languages so much more deficient in those traits you mention than kids outside of the UK who have learnt English as a second language?
     
  14. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

  15. vuvuzela

    vuvuzela Occasional commenter

    I don't quite know how to put this politely so I'll just come out with it: you come out with some really daft things! I took the liberty of trawling back through some of your posts and you've been banging the Linkword drum for years now. You've also been telling others (teachers!) how to do things, and you've got quite shirty when challenged. It's all very well having these ideas, but if you haven't been in a teaching situation, there is no basis for them, and while it might seem like it is all obvious (just do this; just do that and it will all be wonderful), it isn't like that in reality. You've had the same conversation with Jubilee that you're having now! It's like you just can't accept the answers you are getting. Moreover, you've had SIX years to trial Linkword, so if it's so good, you should have a at least three languages to a high proficiency under your belt, given how fast you claim it to be. Do you?

    On to your question now. First of all, one of the reasons GCSEs came about was to allow everyone to get a qualification, so it isn't difficult to get a low grade, which amounts to 'earning a GCSE'. Until very recently, the exams were so easy that the highest bands could be attained from knowing and being able to do very little with a language. So the traits were not particularly necessary. As for giving every child a payout, the government wouldn't dare give to some and not give to others for fear of Human Rights violations, so the point is moot. Exams would need to be dumbed down so much and the bar lowered so far it allowed everyone to pass. As to motivation in language learning, I'm well aware of both the extrinsic and intrinsic factors, and their implications, having researched them for part of my MA.

    I suggest you sign up with the OU and get yourself a language degree. The courses are of an excellent standard from what I've seen of the materials and you can do it all from home. Then you'll see that there is a lot more to language learning and teaching than some gimmicky memory tricks.
     
  16. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    I admit I should be more proficient at least at one language . I have completed level one of the courses on Spanish, French and German over the years. I bought an early version of the 4 level French course but must admit I was too lazy to complete and perhaps my interest had waned. Normally my interest in languages is normally associated with where a World Cup is held. I must admit I tried Russian but just found it too hard mainly because it uses a completely foreign alphabet. Similarly with Mandarin Chinese. Throughout this time my interest in language learning methodology never waned. I've sympathised with the language learning profession being messed around by govts , education depts,teachers by their school superiors, bodies like Ofsted and exam boards as well.
    The keyword method itself is generally approved as having value in the journals I listed earlier and in language teaching methodology books. But you mention Linkword itself and the accusations come that you are just trying to profit from it or because you are not a teacher your views are invalid . But there you go. Water off a duck's back.
     
  17. pascuam49

    pascuam49 New commenter

  18. RamiroRamiro

    RamiroRamiro New commenter

    I'm not the first to say it, but Linkword, like most online "courses", are just a ****. Duolingo, LingQ, Unilang... All the same, just don't waste your time there.
     
  19. Neil_Kendall_Languages

    Neil_Kendall_Languages New commenter

    Wow wow wow, hold on a minute there! Before you slag off all those excellent language learning resources, think about all the people who have successfully used them, and what that tells you about the quality of these methods. I have a question for you - have you personally actually tried any of these language learning methods yourself? If not, you have no basis to comment on the effectiveness of them whatsoever.

    They are not **** at all. I'll tell you what's **** - the way languages are taught in school, and the fact that teachers and the education system are stuck in their past, using ineffective, outdated methods to teach languages, and just won't/don't want to change, despite the evidence all around them that the current system is failing to produce any real ability or interest in foreign languages amongst British children.

    It's no coincidence that you never hear of a self-made polyglot who achieved their level of language ability by learning languages in school. Nope - such people study with far better, more effective methods such as Linkword, Michel Thomas Method, Duolingo, LingQ, and a whole host of other excellent resources.
     
    minka1 likes this.
  20. Neil_Kendall_Languages

    Neil_Kendall_Languages New commenter

    I see what you're trying to do there - you're trying to invalidate anything I say about languages because I don't have a formal qualification in them. That doesn't invalidate my views at all - I remind you that this thread was a discussion about the effectiveness of Linkword, so let's stick to that. One doesn't need to have a formal qualification in a language to judge whether Linkword is effective or not - they simply need to go through one or more of the courses with an open mind and see how it works for them, which is exactly what I've done, and Linkword has proven to be very successful for me.

    As for your question about teaching or classroom teaching - I am not a teacher! I am a language learner/polygot, so that question is extremely irrelevant!

    In fact, since learning languages in school/classrooms is very ineffective anyway, your questions are even more irrelevant to this discussion...

    It's interesting to note that most of the world's most talented, self-made polyglots did not learn to speak languages in school or a classroom, but rather by studying alone and/or interacting with native speakers, using some of the best language learning courses out there in addition to their own unique methods that they developed and refined for themselves. It's also a fact that many learners in the polygot/language learning community highly rate the keyword method for learning vocabulary and grammar, as well as have stories about how they were very unsuccessful learners of languages in school (because the school system of learning languages doesn't work very well at all), but picked up languages after leaving/independently of school/college/university and found that other methods were better and more successful.

    If you wish to remain ignorant to such facts, that's on you...
     
    minka1 likes this.

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