There are a lot of reasons why people learn a new language: as required study in school, career advancement, preparation for a vacation, or even just for the fun of it. During our Summer Video Challenge, we noticed that the majority of the participants who submitted videos were of the younger set, except for a choice few. Barbara Mosley is one of those participants who stood out to us because she was, in fact, not of the younger set. So, I reached out to her to ask why, at this point in her life, did she decide to study a new language. She was kind enough to send me this letter.
I am 63 years old and retired from teaching in 2011. I have wanted to learn to speak another language all of my life. When I was going to school, there was no foreign language instruction until high school. I took one year of French and had a very negative experience. After that, I took 2 years of Latin, which was a big help with English, but did not help me to communicate with others in another language.
My adult career was as a public school teacher in New Jersey. I found that I was not equipped to deal with students who came to me with little or no English, so I decided to get a graduate degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. This did give me skills to deal with my students and parents who were speakers of other languages, but again, it did not help me speak another language.
Once I retired, I made one of my retirement goals to learn another language. I want to be able to talk to my neighbors in their native language, which is Spanish. Learning a language has also been recommended for improving memory, so I am hoping that it will help keep my mind sharp as I age.
I realize that I will never be able to speak Spanish without an accent. As an older person, I also think it may take me longer to learn. That’s what is great about Livemocha.com. I can take as long as I like and work at my own pace. I can go over lessons until I am sure that I know them. Most of the people who have reviewed my lessons on Livemocha.com have been much younger than me, but they have all been very kind and understanding.
Since I have started studying Spanish, I find that I can understand some of what I hear in Spanish. I can understand the lyrics to songs that I hear on the radio and understand some of what I see on Spanish TV stations. I was able to read captions written in Spanish at a Frida Kahlo exhibit and share children’s books in Spanish with my grandson.
I am also doing volunteer work with Literacy Volunteers of America. In New Jersey, 85% of our students are English speakers of other languages. I facilitate an adult conversation class once a week at the Literacy Center. I am able to share my language learning experience and relate to the experiences of the people in my group more because I am studying a language, too. I have shared Livemocha.com with the students in my group, in hopes that it will help them with their English.
Finally, I really enjoy giving feedback to others on their English lessons on Livemocha.com. I’m learning a lot about how others learn a language by reading their submissions. Believe it or not, that’s helping me learn, too.
My experience with Livemocha.com has been positive and has enhanced my language learning experience. I liked doing the videos and was happy to have the opportunity to earn a Gold Key to continue my studies on Livemocha.com.
I hope this gives you some insight into why an older person might benefit from Livemocha.com.
I want to thank Barbara for sharing her thoughts and experiences, and for maybe even inspiring others to pursue their language learning dreams, no matter what stage they are in their lives.
Kelly Doscher, Livemocha Blog Editor
Oh! You want to see one of Barbara’s videos, do you? Well, alright. Here you go…