I work in a government office complex, and for the most part, our offices tend to look like they were designed and approved by accountants. Actuarial accountants. And auditors. We don’t have 50 shades of gray, we tend to have three. Light gray, dark gray, and something in between that is probably “light gray that got dirty and will never get cleaned”. Don’t get me started on the carpets. But before I talk about Workplace 2.0, let me talk for a moment about my last 20+ years of office accommodations.
From 1993 to 1997, I was with Foreign Affairs. Generally, everyone had a closed office, boring off-white metal-like walls, brown doors, small window next to the door (usually, but not always), desk plus computer table, chair, guest chair, bookshelf and filing cabinet. With enough room that you could often have two people squeeze in front of the desk as guests, and have a quick meeting. » Read the rest
I’ve written a lot about my experiences learning French, and there are days where I wanted to rip my hair out with some of the aspects.
I knew, from the get-go, that learning a new language is hard as an adult. That much is clear, as is the fact that the process of learning anything is often quite different for an adult learner. And I’ve blogged about my initial diagnostic test that said I would be fine for reading and writing but struggle with oral. I just didn’t have the ear for languages, it was clearly indicated on my test results.
And then I started at Asticou, at a very difficult time in my life emotionally, and with a horrible teacher. Where I struggled. A lot. I felt like the stupidest person on the planet, although it is hard to tell if that was because of the school, my emotional state, the teacher, or just the process of learning as an adult where I went from being competent at my job and getting praise to spending all day, every day, hearing nothing but corrections for my errors. » Read the rest
Just over two years ago, perhaps closer to three, I started using DuoLingo as a way just to keep my mind occupied with French. I have no grand illusions that an app like this will make me “fluent”, and I feel the same way about even the more intensive programs like Rosetta Stone. I think they are good, but the only real way to learn a language is to use it in your daily life. Telling stories that are relevant to you, figuring out how to say something the way YOU would, not the way Jean-Pierre would if he was renting a car in Paris.
I was quite surprised with the program. I thought it would be completely along the lines of a refresher, and then I hit something that was a bit of a tiny awakening in an area that I thought was both easy and settled. The present tense. » Read the rest