Report on the Agen Workshop 2016

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It has been a while. ​To me, ​Agen ​was an oasis in personally hectic times. It ​almost seems like a dream​ now​.
How I enjoyed being there. Most of all, I loved being with so many wonderful people, all inspired and inspiring each other, driven by this inner force we all recognize in each other. I heard people say: ‘We’re almost like a cult.’ Let us be our own guru then and regognize the guru in each other.

​Because of my health in general,)​ I chose to start a bit later every morning, so the language labs were half language labs for me. Also I decided to experience different styles of teaching, as we all do it ‘our way’, rather than sticking to one class as a student.
It was a thrill to be able to understand and even speak a tiny bit of Breton, plunging into Daniel’s class after the morning break. He involved newcomers immediately and made me feel part of the group, even after being there for just a few minutes. The word ‘differentiating’ comes to mind now, as other people present knew already more. We could all take part on our own level and have a good laugh.

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How important is this, having a good laugh. Because this way of learning a language is so much fun, there are so many reasons to laugh, and we all want to know what will happen next, I think we all do, but I’ll speak for myself: I’m completely in the moment, there and then, NOW. Sounds come in without analysing them. They just come in and appear to have a meaning and somehow I start understanding this meaning. Amazing! I was just absorbing.

Next mornings I chose labs – half labs – in languages I knew a bit and the effect of absorbing and digesting new sounds was less. I was more into observing then. It was wonderful to see all these different teachers with their own styles and skills. I remember thinking: I want to be more consistent using gestures. This sticks to mind the most. But how great to experience the teachings of Sabrina and Margarita and the teachers you invited in your own English 2 Language Lab, Judy.
I didn’t see you teach yourself, I guess this happened before the break.

Not being an early bird, I did enjoy breakfast in the Stim’Otel with Ben Slavic and Stephen Krashen and Beniko Mason Nanki though. Being late sometimes has its advantages.

How I loved Stephen Krashen’s lectures. I was at all three of them. My collegue/friend and I suggested we would take him home, but when I told him, he said he was going to see his grandchildren, jumping into the air saying this and then giving me a real Krashen hug.

I’ll get into working with fragments of movies like you did using Lord of the Ring. It was so nice to hear the lady I talked with the last morning say she and her daughter lost all fear and resistance they felt before, thinking of learning a foreign language, in this case English.

I have been working with embedded reading before in my own way, but will definitely learn more from Laurie in this respect.

I think it will all have to sink in a bit.
My oasis has this dreamlike quality now, and I guess the effects of being there will work in mysterious ways, not the rational, analytic ones although of course these will be helpfull this coming year, but more on a subconscious level.
I tend to lean on that more and more anyway, trusting my intuition and teaching from the heart.

I am glad I had the opportunity to be at Robert’s ‘Other Methods of Revisiting the Text’ on Saturday morning and want to read more about that too.

Of course we had Diane in Mandarin at the square, one evening. And some other evenings I was present at Ben’s coaching sessions. That was fun. A bit of Hungarian, and Zulu, and Gaelic…
Not all evenings though.

Agen is too nice. We sat outside with groups of people we met during the day, sharing meals and drinks, talking about our passion, working with TPRS, laughing, and sometimes getting very personal because these are people you can get close to.

So Agen was my oasis and it has been healing.
Next year of course my circumstances will be different, but I really want to be there again: to absorb, share, get inspired, exchange, have fun, enjoy good company and this lovely little town Agen is.

See you next year, and in the meantime we’ll have Facebook and your blogs, so somehow we’ll be connected.

Love, Annemieke

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