(not) The End

It's kind of crazy to me that I'm actually at this point: my last (class-related) blogpost, my last assessment, the end of three years of class-assisted independent language learning.

But of course, as much as this is the end of something big, it's also the beginning of a new phase, of truly and completely independent language learning. After all this time, and all of this practice, I feel ready to do just that. When I first started this class, that thought intimidated the heck out of me. But now, it feels easy, exciting even, to think of continuing my language study outside of the 671 construct. I am excited about the next chapter in continuing my relationship with Luganda.

I just got off of Skype with Simon, where we discussed my proficiency and went over elements of my final exam. Disappointingly, I seem to still be performing at an advanced-mid level. When Simon shared his analysis with me, I tried to not to sound too disappointed. I must have failed because Simon then said, very supportively, "Lauren, it's really difficult to get to advanced-high. It takes a long, long time." That did make me feel better, and after our discussion about the ACTFL funnel of proficiency, I am willing to accept that advances in proficiency at this stage represent pretty big jumps in skills, and if I keep working, that I will get there eventually.

We did discuss my overall improvements, especially in listening and reading. He said that my listening skills have gotten much better this semester (which I could feel as I was doing the listening portion of my assessment), and that I should be proud of my high level of proficiency. He reminded me that I am one of his most advanced students. I still really want to make that advanced-high level, but I'll have to keep at it.

I close out this semester feeling good - like I have put serious time and effort into my learning and that those efforts haven't been wasted. I am making progress in Luganda and also becoming a better independent learner, and those skills will be important to me in the next year as I transition to dissertator and also continue to learn Luganda on my own. Thinking back over the past three years, I am proud of myself and the strides I've made in Luganda. But my most strongly-held emotion is that of gratitude, for the opportunity to take this class (thank you so much, Katrina, for creating it!), for the opportunity to meet such a fascinating collection of other independent language learners, for my wonderful language mentor and for my fellow Luganda-learners. The language-learning journey has truly been a defining experience of my PhD life so far, and it's given me so much.

Finally, for posterity's sake, here is my final week of Luganda activities. While the week was underway, I'd intended to do more assessment-related studying, but nonetheless did okay on the assessment.

Monday: Lesson with Simon
Tuesday: Read 2 Bukedde articles, 100 Quizlet words
Wednesday: 20 minutes watching a film, 100 Quizlet words
Thursday: Extensive text conversation, 15 minutes film, 50 Quizlet words
Friday: Lesson with Simon, watched 10 minutes of news, texts with a friend
Saturday: 100 Quizlet words
Sunday: 3 hours of exam

Thank you all for a wonderful year, and I look forward to hearing how your summers go - and beyond!


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