One of my (too many) sabbatical projects is to practice a heutagogical approach to learning and re-learning Spanish – that is, an approach in which I am in total control of my learning experiences, including identifying what I already know and can do, clarifying why and what I want to learn, determining how to learn what I want to learn, tapping into learning resources appropriate to my desired learning outcomes, and assessing my own progress.
In the spirit of the heutagogical learner, I’ll also be reflecting on my self as a self-directed and self-determined learner (perhaps I should say assessing myself as a learner) in this context so that I can improve my learning processes and outcomes. I am my own curriculum development specialist, my own evaluator, my own faculty developer, my own librarian, and I am developing my own learning process. (Whew – That’s a lot to do! It’s not easy being a self-determined learner!)
This project fulfills two goals for me:
1) I really want to re-learn Spanish, a language which at one point in my life I’d learned fairly well (in part due to an immersion trip to Mexico in 9th grade and an excellent Spanish instructor I had in grad school);
2) I get to test – to apply – the learning theory I am interesting in learning about: heutagogy.
There is actually a third goal here as well, which is to be able to converse with my kid and his teachers, in Spanish. Mac is in a Spanish immersion school, and I see (and hear) his quick progress with the language. I’d like to know what he’s saying, I’d like to learn with him, and I’d like to be able to talk with his teachers in their language.
So, step one for me isn’t actually a self “prior learning assessment” — that will come soon. First, let me share the 2 free learning resources I’ve initially identified as supporting my learning:
Google Translate (how the heck do you think I managed to come up with the title of this blog post?)
Last year, in an early attempt to do this project, I worked my way through several Spanish lessons on Mango (free at the time courtesy of my university’s library). That was a great start and I brushed off some of the rust. Now I am going to work through some LiveMocha lessons, get a sense of what I know and can do, and put together my very own individualized Spanish learning plan. I will likely turn to additional resources (including lunch dates with a friend whose Spanish skills are way better than mine).
So … here we go!
Por favor, me desean suerte!