elearning my crazy challenge
my crazy challenge

My crazy challenge: update number 3!

Lots of news today regarding my crazy challenge! Well, it’s been a little while but I tell you why!

In case you’re new here (welcome!), you can check the story of my crazy challenge. This experience is meant to create in the end the best learning/practice routine for my students, even the busiest ones! So let’s take a closer look at this update number 3.

The truth

Alright so let’s be real: I took a break from learning Italian for 2 months. I had a lot going on at the end of 2020 and my head just wasn’t into it… As I don’t have classmates or a teacher to keep me going, it is easier to lose motivation and stop doing the lessons

But I’m finally back to it now and started with a big review! I didn’t forget everything (like my students often tell me after taking a break in their learning journey); but I have to admit that it’s harder to understand now because my English box doesn’t want to make room for my Italian box lol! It’s not easy to switch between the 3 languages (English, French and Italian); but if it was easy, then it wouldn’t be a challenge anymore!

The truth about Babbel now, the resource I use for my online Italian course: it uses the translation process, which is not what I do or recommend to learn a new language. It is easier now, as I explain in my article about the French box, but it will have to be temporary because I can already see that it is not what is going to be the most beneficial for me as a beginner.

For example, there is not a lot of situations fully in Italian, little texts or videos. I’m mostly visual when it comes to learning so I can more easily remember something I learned in a video/situation (that’s how I learned a lot of English expressions!).

I love to hear Italian and repeat it! I’m laughing by myself while trying to copy the melody of this beautiful language, that’s also part of the fun! I’m pretty sure you would laugh too if you saw me…lol!

One obstacle though: I don’t have any feedback when it comes to my pronunciation… I’d like to have a teacher to work with regarding phonetic; in the meantime, I’ll probably ask my Italian friends!

online learning you got this

Two major updates

So here are two major updates in my crazy challenge!

First, I adjusted the program because I felt like I was learning only vocabulary and I needed some more grammar (yea I’m French remember? Lol).
So I started the lessons «Go back to your level», which basically means that you have taken Italian before and you want to «refresh» it.
This course is so much more stimulating for me as it is more difficult and forces me to go deeper into my Italian box.

Second, to practice my Italian outside of Babbel, I did what I ALWAYS advise my students to do: pick something you love and turn it into the language you learn! As you may know, I’m a big music lover (that is an understatement lol), so I created my Italian playlist with a couple songs I learned in high school and a few more I still love to sing.
Some self-congratulations here (very important in a learning process): I still remember pretty much every single word of the song I learned in my Italian class 14 years ago! Yay! How amazing is the brain! Well, it helps that I love to sing and this song is about a love story (did I mention that I’m a big romantic as well? Lol). I’m really happy and proud to see that some things are still super clear in my little Italian box!

I plan to make my playlist bigger as I’ll listen to the “Top Italy”, which is one made by my music app; exactly what I need! 😉

thumbs up good job

What I’ve learned from it

It is definitely harder to stay motivated when everything is just a website or an app. The technologies will never replace the human presence of a teacher and this experience just reinforces something I already know: I don’t want to do this to my students! I want to support them on their learning journey, I want to show them they can when they think they can’t, I want to help them as they work to improve, I want to give them resources that will fit their profile and learning goals because that’s how you stay involved in your learning journey!

Technologies are amazing when combined with the teacher’s skills; but in my opinion, you will never be able to communicate properly and enjoy your learning journey if you only learn with online courses.

That said, I will not stop my crazy challenge, and while I wait to take some lessons with a real teacher or in person in Italy, I will still try to learn more and improve before I get there!

My advice

I guess after this break and new beginning, my advice is: keep the technologies for side-learning or extra practice, and always take lessons with a real teacher. The quality of your lesson (assuming you get a good teacher) will always be better, even if you think you have the best online resource!

I stand strong on this opinion: learning is a human experience so if you take the human part out of it, the process will never be as good as it can be when you take lessons with a qualified teacher.

So if you want to learn French, let’s book your free meet and greet and chat about your learning journey! 😉
I guaranty you that together, we’ll go way further than Duolingo!!


  • leblogdespagnol

    Super article Sarah. Bien plus intéressant que ceux du monde «idéal» des réseaux». Les obstacles, les ajustements mis en place et surtout les leçons à tirer. C’est très aidant pour tous, quel que soit le défis! Et c’est vrai, rien de remplace l’enseignant en chair et en os!