Regina Schröter

I am fascinated about how our brain learns new stuff and applies it in our everyday life.

José

José is English and Spanish native speaker, studying abroud in Munich and learning German. I am native German speaker, fluent in English and learning Spanish.

Learning and speaking other languages is a task our brain needs to handle everyday and it is one of most complicated processes. I am currently learning my 4th language, Spanish, and although it seems to get easier learning a languare with time, i find it hard to keep track on practising in my everyday life and applying the language to everyday situations.

I want to come up with an object/ some objects that help Tandem language learning Partners to practise their language skills in a conversation. It shouldnt distract them and furthermore encourage an independent conversation detached from the device.

Problems that could occur in the conversation:

Not having a topic to talk about
– Switching to a more “comfortable” language (here: English)
– Feeling uncomfortable
– Being afraid of making a mistake
-Being stuck with vocabulary/ grammar
-Not balancing the spoken amount of both languages

Requirements for the device: it should be…

helpful, but not distracting, therefor…
– easy to use, understand, and ignore, if the conversation carries on and needs no help at the Moment
– able to have fun while using it
– useful for all levels of language skill(in this case José speaks a better German than i speak Spanish)

I struggled finding an object that is performing good in all that aspects above. At first i wanted to do something electronical but as cool as it would be it is too much of a distraction and gives no Chance for the users to move on to a Independent discussion.

That’s why i decided on simple double sided cards that should be used to start a converation and help in case of silence. On these cards will be questions, tasks, etc. written with bold letters.
Thomas helped me to make a test stamp out of acryl and Werner imprinted some paper for me to try out how the stamp and paper must be chosen to get the best result.

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The cards should be sturdy so you can carry them around and use them multiple times without getting damaged. Therefor they must be out of thick paper which makes it difficult to print them with a standart printer. I decided i would use the screen-printing technique to get strong Colors on the cards which are then imprinted.

I have to consider now

WHAT is on the cards?

HOW MANY cards do i want to print?

WHAT COLOR(S) do i want to use?

The main problem would be the cost for all different stamps to lasercut in acryl.

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I tried out different papers varying in textures and thickness.

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I really enjoyed experimenting with These papers and i think i got a bit to excited and distracted by doing so. It turned out that it would be too much work to imprint all cards because of the required accuracy and probably failing attempts. But i will definitly use these results to make a cover/ packaging/ etc. for this Project.

So after i spend the last weeks digging around and honestly being annoyed by my project, i regained motivation and ideas for finishing it.

UPDATE & REDEFINITION

My object will be a set of double-sided cards that help Tandem partners to learn each others language.
My target group are students (consisting of one partner at home where he studies and the other one from a spanish speaking country that is spending a semester in any German town).
Of course both of them at least have spend some time learning the language, this is not suited for raw recruits (=blutige Anfänger).

MATERIAL/ LOOK

  • The Cards will be double-sided screenprinted, so you can choose the language to practice.
  • They will be printed in one color, maybe two, not more
  • The paper is Chosen.
  • Cards are A7 so they can fit (with a packaging!) into your pocket

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HOW TO USE THEM:

  • The cards’ purpose is to support the partners from the first time they meet for practicing and for every other meeting that follow.
  • You will find questions and buzzwords on the cards.
  • Furthermore the stack will consist of cards with different “levels” (These are not the final decriptions!)
  1. “Beginners”: Personal questions, that you can easily answer, that break the ice and help you to get to know each other.
  2. “Advanced”: More General questions that are about your daily life, the City, Weekend plans, ect. either full questions or buzzwords
  3. “Pros”: Just buzzwords that suggests Topics to talk about independently that should push you to a conversation that works without any Cards at one Point.

-> I already have a collections of questions and buzzwords

How many Cards should i do that is a resonable amount?

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This is stack of 16, it is the minimum i think.

After i did the imprinting experiments, i decided to use this method for imprinting the “levels”. If you go trough the cards you should feel their skill level.

I now want to develop somekind of PATTERN/DECORATIVE ELEMENT,

  • that distinguished Beginner from Advanced from Pros and
  • makes it interesting to use the Cards

 


 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I think it could be easier to learn a language by not focusing on learning the language. What if you just want to get to know each other? you would probably talk about more personal stuff, what bothers you, what moves your world. Experiencing things together would prevent you from uncomfortable, silent situations…
    It could also work better if there are more people involved – speeddating situation?

  2. I am just going to write down what I already told you in class : ) Coming up with a solution might be easier if you focus on one particular issue that you feel is making it specifically hard for you. For me, I think the most crucial difficulty would be embarrassment – I can’t deal with making mistakes all the time. So for you maybe it’s the ‘vocabulary not sufficient for the topic’ thing or the balancing problem?

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