How This Idea Was Born And How It Evolved.
Olá, tudo bem?
This is the story of Rafa’s Portuguese learning programme - Rafa's Vocabulary Ticker:
For many years I have been interested in discovering how to learn languages better and faster. I have spent a great deal of time researching and researching. At the same time, I have also been teaching Portuguese to people from all over the world. As you can imagine, all of these people were very different in their personalities, backgrounds, cultures, professions, and so on.
Gradually, I began to realise that they all had a quite a few things in common:
1. All of them had a passion - a real desire to learn Portuguese.
2. All of them were very busy people, with all sorts of interests, duties and distractions.
3. All of them wanted to learn Portuguese and to do many other things at the same time.
4. All of them, in their jobs, were spending more and more time in front of a computer.
5. All of them were finding it hard to recall the Portuguese they had already learned, while continuing to learn it.
All of them found it quite challenging to pronounce Portuguese words and to recognise them when native speakers spoke them.
So, that was a set of common problems I had to try to resolve.
I also realised that while more and more people are interested in learning a foreign language, these same people are busier and busier at work, and have all sorts of other things they want to do in their lives. If, on the one hand, the aspiration to learn a language is increasing, on the other hand, the time needed to learn it is decreasing. Time is becoming increasingly scarce - there are so many demands on our time; so many distractions; so many things to attend to; so many wants and needs to satisfy every day.
Does all of this ring a bell? I know. It does for the majority of us.
So, the realisation of these facts was what triggered in me the idea that I had to find a solution to this problem. As an incurably passionate advocate of learning and teaching languages, I just couldn’t accept the fact that just because people are too busy, they could not find a way to learn a foreign language. Or that I could not find a way for them! I also saw many people who started off very enthusiastically, reached a certain point, and then, little by little, began to lose hope, before finally giving up. Of course, without practice and perseverance, they had by then forgotten nearly everything they had learnt. How sad!
With just the right kind of help they would have succeeded. Again, I was thinking, thinking, thinking!
So, I became concerned about these people. Personally, I always look on every single individual as a human being, not just a number. And that's why every time I saw someone giving up, I asked myself: "Why is this happening? Why did John give up when he was progressing so well?"
I can clearly recall all those days coming home, after long hours of teaching individuals and groups of students, and asking myself these questions. Sometimes I even asked my students to give me their reasons. Some of them were very honest with me and replied with comments like:
"Well, I'm working too hard and I don't have the energy to carry on at the moment..."
"You know, when I go home, I still have so many things to do and I need to spend time with my family, too."
"I wish my days were longer, so that I could do everything I want to do."
"OK", I said to myself. "There’s got to be a way. I’ve got to find a way to help these people. This is my area of expertise and I will find a way! If I could create a way that allowed people to learn Portuguese, or any other language, while they are busy working at their computers, without jeopardizing their work performance, nor their free time at home... that would be just ideal!"
I could also create a way of learning that could be used at home, with other members of the family! I thought: "If only I could do this, I would be helping people to learn another language without having to sacrifice the time they need to spend on other activities... Hmm!".
The evolution of the idea.
1. For months, I carried this challenge in my mind.
2. For months, I took notes on ways of solving this problem.
3. For months, I came up with many ideas that didn't seem to work.
Then one day I had a vision in my mind of a tape with words and sounds passing over the computer screen again and again. And that, my friend, was when everything started.
With this vision, I realised that I had just created a way to allow people to learn Portuguese while they were working at their computers, during their working hours, and without jeopardising their work performance.
So, what is the software for "Rafa's Vocabulary Ticker" like?
Well, it occupies a tiny area of your computer screen (click here for screen shots). You can see and hear Portuguese words and expressions and their real - not literal - translations in English throughout the day.
What are the benefits of using this language tool:
By using this piece of software, whilst you are working at your computer, you can concentrate on what you are doing (be it a word document, a spread sheet, an Internet browser, a game, etc.) and at the same time be continually reminded of the words and expressions you want to learn, with or without the sound turned on.
If you don’t want to see the words constantly passing across the screen, you can have another kind of reminder – a little balloon that comes up on your screen now and then – as often as you want it to - reminding you of a new word.
But this is not all...
With this programme you'll be able to...
- Learn Portuguese by accessing various categories of typical situations.
- Select the words you want to learn from a particular category.
- Listen to and repeat the words and expressions as many times as you want to.
- Select the speed you want learn them.
- Add, record and learn your own words as you please.
- Build your vocabulary in categories (rooms in a house, kitchen utensils, objects in the street, personal stuff - like feelings, emotions, reactions, ways of starting a conversation, ways of ordering food, asking for directions, etc).
- Keep building a bigger vocabulary on top of what you know already by being reminded of all the words and expressions you have seen, as you learn new ones.
- Choose to learn from ‘English to Portuguese’ or from ‘Portuguese to English’.
- Choose where this application fits best on your computer screen (at the top or at the bottom).
- Choose the correct application, whether you are using Windows or Mac, or even Linux.
- Choose the font, size and colour you feel most comfortable with.
- Choose the background colour of the platform, where the words will be running.
- Use your full brain capacity for learning – your conscious and subconscious mind.
- Feel satisfied with your learning.
You’ll also be able to hear what it sounds like when words run together in certain expressions, as opposed to hearing them singly – a problem for everyone learning a language! You’ll appreciate this. This way you will learn the sounds of the words without having to pay too much attention to the exceptions. You will learn by practice and by dint of repetition.
Interested? I'm sure you are!
All you have to do now is register (if you haven't already) in order to be able to purchase this application and have full access to the packages I have been preparing for you. And all at a fraction of the price you would have to pay for one-to-one sessions with a teacher or other language programs.
With this application you will also get...
One package of words completely FREE of charge, which comes with the application, by default (that is, when you download it to your computer). This is just so that you can get used to the system and start learning straight away. Optional emails about the new packages and other materials I’ll keep on producing, once you register to my free newsletter here. So, you’ll always be the first to know about the hottest releases.
How it works:
Once you have purchased and downloaded the application, all you have to do is load it with the packages of words or expressions you want to learn today, tomorrow, the day after, and so on. These packages of words and expressions will be available at a very low cost to you.
The packages of words and expressions are available by categories – say, "House & Furniture", "Meeting People", "My family and I", etc. to learn what you should say, and the vocabulary you need when you meet people in a wide range of situations, and so on and so forth.
Once you have downloaded a new package of words or expressions, you can select and learn them while you are working at your computer. You can choose the ones you want to learn, and be reminded of the ones you have learned before. This way – on a daily basis - you can keep on building your new vocabulary on top of the vocabulary you have already learned.
Once you have a good range of vocabulary and expressions, you can start building your own sentences easily.
So how does that sound?
If you are already attending a Portuguese class, you can also add and record on the application the vocabulary you learned in class! What about that? You’ll be ready for your next class, no problems at all!
Wow! Imagine how you’re going to get on!
I think you know by now what you have to do, don't you?
Go ahead! - If you haven't done it yet, download it here now!