Learning Curve

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On Friday night, I was out at L.A. Live with 6 other Thrill the World zombies, entertaining the crowd waiting for Michael Jackson’s This Is It tickets.

We performed once and we taught the dance for another 1.5 hour.  And mind you, this is just folks hanging around LA Live here, nobody’s a professional.

If we were given another half hour, we could’ve taught them the whole thing.  But with the time we had, we were just a few moves away from completion.

People were having fun. They were putting in efforts to do the dance. And they all had a great time.

Forward to Saturday morning at my Italian class in Irvine through Fondazione Italia. This is our second class and our class size is pretty big.  We were told that the class may split up into 2 sessions because of the class size and also, as it turns out, the teaching style.

The lady who’s been teaching us is actually a substitute of another lady who’s returning next week.  She’s not much for having us repeating the conversation like a parrot, but deconstructing what we were saying.  It’s more grammar than conversational at this point.

However, some people didn’t like that so much.  They want to be able to walk out from the first class already talking.  Did you folks not notice that this class goes all the way to January?  This ain’t speed Italian.

Sure, when my Italian coworker asked me on Monday, “Come stai?” – How are you? My answer was, “Uh….si?”  I didn’t have an answer to that after my first week.  However, I know how when to use Un/Una/Uno (the) on a word.

I’d rather have the basic understanding of how everything works and THEN learn the conversation to go with it, than just sitting there memorizing the phrases. I want to be able to hold a conversation on my own outside of Hi! How Are you? Where’s the bathroom?

Seriously, I have a whole bunch of Japanese phrase I can spout out to you right now but I won’t understand a dang thing you said back to me outside of the standard reply.  What does that get me? Nowhere.

But then again, I digress.

Back to the bunch of whiny adults.  There were also others who have already taken last year’s class and wanted more.

“Can we have an all Italian class?” someone asked.  That would be across the way in Intermediate, we were told.  “But that’s too fast for me.”  But obviously, you weren’t going to get all the beginners in here to understand a lick of Italian.

So, here lies the problem. Our class has mostly newbies, maybe with Spanish background, and some that already had the skills.

Those were the one saying the our class is too slow but they couldn’t go on to intermediate because that one is too fast.  Here they are, in our BEGINNERS class, trying to make us go faster.

I have never heard grown adults bitch so much.  If beginners are too slow for you, then don’t bitch that class is too slow for you.  Obviously, it’s not the class for YOU any more at this point.  Suck it up and go catch up with the big kids in Intermediate.  Can’t hack it there? Well, you either do better or come back and learn the basics all over with the newbies.

We sat in class for another good 15 minutes just to agree to split the true newbies to 9 a.m. and the Advanced Beginners to 10:45.

I know this is probably an unfair comparison as the two occasions are completely different.  But going from one group of learners to the next, and I should probably add, one demographic to the other, I notice that the level of whines goes up with the median income.

Just sayin’.

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