I wanted to mention Lifelong Learning in Malta for quite a time. It is a public institution under the wings of the Ministry of Education which provides different educational courses ranging from maths, science, languages to art, drama and music for very, I have to accent it one more time, very reasonable prices. Knowing that, in the last week of August I enrolled in two language courses- Maltese for foreigners and Italian. As I am not working in the mornings, the early courses suited me really well and the price of 11.64 euros for the 32 weeks-3 hours per week is pretty amazing, you have to admit that. Well, you get what you pay for, meaning..hmmm unfortunately not too much…I’ve been studying different languages back in Poland while in high school, at the academy or just having private lessons but they were much more organised and interesting. Here after the first lessons, to put it mildly, I wasn’t too inspired.
My Maltese teacher is the 70 something gentleman who probably is a lovely person but his teaching methods rely mostly on repeating what he says without any help of the book. They are not for me. The Maltese language is a very difficult one and completely different from any other languages I studied so everything sounds weird and sometimes even difficult to repeat ( might be the same case for foreigners learning Polish, now I know what you can feel). And I like to have everything written down because then it makes it easier for me to memorise. It’s quite strange, as I am a musician so I should pick it up easier by listening but it works differently for me. Tomorrow will be our third week of learning and I still don’t know how to say hello, My name is….at least I know the numbers and days of the week and a lot of grammar regarding articles and prepositions and how to ask for the bus ticket. The class consists of about 15 people, mostly English with just few of us who are not native English speakers. I think that it is even more difficult to teach language to the adults because they do not take anything for granted, ask plenty of questions which sometimes are really unnecessary and because our teacher is quite chatty and happy to reply, we waste most of the lesson replying to some completely beyond the point question. So you can imagine my frustration…
My Italian class seems a little better because the teacher is more professional. We already have a book, we can say few sentences in Italian, I can see some progress even though it is very slow. There are mostly Maltese people and maybe 5 foreigners so, of course at the first lesson they were speaking in their mother tongue. After reminding them that we, foreigners, do not understand, the teacher started speaking in English but still Maltese students ask questions in Maltese, she replies and only if it’s something important she translates into English. I have to say it used to annoy me but now I don’t care, I will try to get the most of it even if more than a half of the lesson is in Maltese. The other thing is the students… Most of the class consists of middle-aged to elderly housewives or husbands who probably have never studied any language at all as their ignorance in the elementary rules of grammar and languages is just beyond the comprehension. I am literally sitting there with my eyes wide open when they ask for the million time why Lei is the formal mode. Come on!
I will keep you posted how my progress in these languages is going and wish me luck as tomorrow morning I have Maltese….Time to repeat the days of the week;)