LingoStories – Personal Interview with Les Stein, Online Hebrew Course Student at LingoLearn

Learn about the personal experience of Les Stein, 37, Salesman, who studied Hebrew with David as part of a corporate course:

Tell us about your background – have you learned Hebrew before? Why was learning Hebrew important to you as a Panaya employee?

I moved to Israel in 2005, and registered myself into a 6 month Ulpan course. After several weeks I started working, and consequently had to stop my studies.
I feel sorry for it in retrospect, as it was a very good opportunity to learn Hebrew comprehensively, which would have allowed me to make the most out of my work in Israel and would have helped me to further integrate into the Israeli society.
My main goal in studying Hebrew through “Panaya” was improving communication both within the company and outside it, as it is always spoken around me.

What were your expectations coming into LingoLearn’s online Hebrew course?

I was looking forward to beginning the course, as English had been the only language I could speak back then. I haven’t had the chance to learn through the internet in the past, and I wasn’t too optimistic about achieving significant results, but I thought the lessons wouldn’t do any harm and could perhaps help a bit. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the lessons were fun, structured and progressive, giving me confidence to use the Hebrew I had learned during conversations. Both myself and others were surprised by how much I had advanced.

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Tell us about your general impression of your teacher, David.

David was very personable to us and kept the lessons interesting. He had all the qualities necessary to making the course successful – patience, vast knowledge, humor, enthusiasm and kindness.
He was always aware of the course’s goals and adhered to them very well – we never felt like we were wasting any time.
David was specifically successful in adapting himself to his students. I, for example, am not the “homework type”, and tend to forget new material.
When the lessons began I found myself frustrated with my slow progress, but David quickly noticed the problem and made the necessary changes – less recitation and repetitive writing of words, more conversational practice.
This method allowed me to gain confidence, which I was missing before – I had been able to understand what was spoken around me, but was hesitant to talk myself.
After a month or so I found myself looking forward to the next lesson.

How did the group dynamic work? Was it helpful to the learning process?

We started out as a small group of 4. While learning in a group may slow down personal development, it provides an opportunity to learn from others, who may be asking questions I haven’t thought of, or was embarrassed to ask myself.

Were you assigned to the correct group?

Yes, I was in the upper beginners’ group – it was very suitable to my Hebrew level.

Could you describe what a typical lesson looks like?

Most lessons begin with a casual conversation in Hebrew, where questions such as “how was your week?” are asked and discussed.
After this introduction, which usually takes about 15 minutes, we start working on some exercises David brings into the virtual classroom.
Additionally, topics from Israel’s day-to-day life are integrated into the class – current news and events, an upcoming holiday, and so forth.
These contents made the lessons more interesting and diverse, while also helping me improve my knowledge of Israel.
The lesson ends with a very efficient summary – action items are discussed, and homework is given based on the lesson’s material.

In retrospect, what’s your opinion regarding online learning?

It was an excellent medium for me. My work day is very busy, being dictated by the US time zone, so there was no way for me to make time for an Ulpan in the morning or a private teacher in the evening. Learning online right from my office saved me countless hours I would’ve otherwise spent driving back and forth – I didn’t miss one second of my work.

Describe a memorable experience from your online Hebrew course.

There were a few times where I came back home directly after the lesson. I usually speak English to my wife, but in those instances I had such an urge to show off my Hebrew that I found myself speaking with greater fluency and confidence, being able to place words in their right context and tenses. It was a very enjoyable experience.

What would you say to a friend or a colleague who’s considering learning languages with LingoLearn?

I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It is an excellent use of time, especially for those of us who face a busy schedule.
I myself am very much looking forward to continuing the course, hopefully with David.

LingoLearn is an online language school which offers beginners’ level language courses, as well as intermediate and advanced level courses. Learn a language with our experienced teachers and excellent learning materials, in a state of the art virtual classroom!

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