Why buying a course (Pimsleur, Michel Thomas) is better than getting a language teacher


I’ve been learning Arabic for a few years now and tried many different routes and methods. For quite a long time I would pay for Arabic lessons with a tutor from iTalki. I’ve tried a number of teachers and found they all do the same thing, teach modern standard Arabic. This is highly annoying as learning modern standard Arabic is completely pointless. Why learn a language nobody speaks?
Each teacher says the same thing “you will be able to understand Arabic from the news and TV”. Why would I want to understand Arabic from the news? None of my family speak modern standard Arabic, in my opinion it is a language about a language. You might aswell learn Latin instead of English.

Another waste of time from having a teacher is they are teaching you words and phrases. There are only so many words and phrases you can learn in an hour. I have found that having a course is much more beneficial as you can listen to the tracks as many times as you like. A course is also created by a reputable firm with a proven method, where as a teacher is using their own method. A course has hundreds of words and phrases structured in a proven method. Making a one off payment as opposed to making regular payments to a teacher is a much better option.

It is cheaper and better to have a course such as Pimsleur or Michel Thomas than have private lessons that accumulate to a hefty cost over time. Most of the teachers online are not proper teachers, they are native speakers who think they can teach Arabic.

I believe having the odd lesson occasionally with a good teacher whilst studying a course is the best option. This works best for me, which means it might not be the best option for everyone. Having a private lesson once in a while puts you in the right direction and can offer you guidance and corrections on your current vocabulary.

Yes the courses can be expensive but if you go to your local library or on eBay you will find them much cheaper. There’s always a second hand copy somewhere at a a cheaper price.


My system – what works best for me


Another happy day in work

After spending alot of time learning Arabic I have found one simple system that works for me. I have tried many systems and methods over the years but have now found the best one for me and my situation. I say this because I am married with three children, have a regular job, train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and do some studying for my job blah blah blah. Everyone is different so this may not work for everyone.


Arabic Spinach yummy

My language system:

1. Listen to the audio course – I have found the most success with the Michel Thomas and Pimsleur audio courses. All the other ones have not worked for me. By working through an audio course everyday to and from work this is better than sitting down looking through a book.

2. Add the course content to my flash cards – I can’t state enough times how much I love using Anki flash cards and the benefits.  The guys at Anki are awesome and Benny Lewis is too for introducing me to it. After finishing a course I listen to each track and add flash cards for each phrase or word. I will then review the flash cards on a daily basis. I usually do about 100 at a time, sometimes more. This works wonders for me and ensures the words stick in my head.

3. Immersion tracks – the Pimsleur course comes with a very useful small conversation at the start of each track. I use a tool to clip this conversation into mini tracks I use to listen to for immersion. This way I know what the content is as it relates to the Pimsleur content. It also greatly helps my listening skills. I can do this at work or driving in my car or whilst making dinner playing in the background.

4. Language exchange – we all know this one is essential. Benny Lewis recommends this from day one. I find that it’s best to accumulate vocabulary for a period then exchange with natives. There’s no point in just saying the same things over and over to the same person. So maybe speaking once a week is better than constantly speaking with the same vocabulary.
Having language exchange is the best currency but it’s best for me to first study then do language exchange sessions.

It’s that simple, all the other stuff I have tried does not work for me. This system is easy and works without disrupting any of the other stuff I have going on in my life.

I’m still here!


Concentrating deeply on making lego

I haven’t been posting for a while but don’t worry guys I’m still here and working hard. I have been working hard at Pimsleur Eastern Arabic 2. I have finished the whole course by listening to the tracks to and from work in my car making all the free time count. I have also been making regular conversation exchanges with native speakers on skype and made calls to my family in Amman, Jordan.
I can definitely tell the difference in my level of Arabic from all this hard work with lots of new vocabulary.
As I have finished Pimsleur Eastern Arabic 2 course it’s now time to convert the content into flash cards. Yes this is a boring mundane soul destroying task but it has to be done as the benefits of having flash cards are so great. I currently have 9 tracks added to my flash card decks.

Here are my short term goals until the end of March before I return back to work:

1. Add at least half of the Pimsleur Eastern Arabic 2 course to my flash cards in Anki.

2. Create another 10 audio mini tracks for immersion. I already have 10.