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Mastering the art

One of the joys of coastal life is the air quality. As part of my new exercise regime, I try to walk at least 3 miles a day. I swim in the gym in bad weather but gyms are not for me: the music is too intrusive and not to my taste, the proliferation of signage reflects the current health and safety culture nanny state and I invariably leave something behind.

No – give me the open road with time to reflect. Yesterday I strolled into the town centre along the shoreline. It was a beautifully clear day and the icy wind of recent days had dropped. I was meeting my Spanish teacher Paula for my lesson and I wondered why I and others undertook the learning of a language at a late age.

In my case speaking, fluent French and good Italian, I thought learning Spanish would be a doodle. It was not.

I  also thought my trips to Spain, a country I hardly knew 2 years ago, could only be enhanced by speaking the language. A lingual friend of mine did advise my Italian would suffer.

The pronunciation is especially hard and, hearing Spaniards speaking English, clearly so in reverse.

I also enrolled at  the local adult learning centre to supplement my one-to-one tuition. I prefer one-to-one as in class you can be dragged back by the slower ones. Paula sets a lot of home work, by the twelfth grammatical exercise and 3 hours on, I did feel there were more enjoyable ways of passing the day.

I was reminded of dinner with my godson at his mother’s home when he was forced to do his homework. With a very loud sigh he commenced it. Yet, I now feel there is a break-through in that after 6 months I am no longer a beginner but at basic intermediate level.

There is another aspect of this which interests me, namely in returning to the process some 40 years after my formal education was completed, what sort of teacher and tuition would I get?

Teaching the elderly and retired that comprise those attending the adult learning centre is quite different from teaching schoolchildren. Generally I am impressed by the lesson preparation and content.

However, then again, in the one-to-one I am more in control and can read, for example, as we did an interesting article in El Pais on the meeting of Pablo Picasso with Luis Bunuel at the Cannes film festival in 1961.


About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts