Did you talk to someone a moment ago, or maybe you have just read a fragment of a book and you don’t remember much of it? Do you want to say a word and do you have it at the tip of your tongue, but you’re giving up? Regardless of age, it’s worth working on it, because good concentration is one of the elements that guarantee effective learning of the Polish language.
Concentration? What is it?
Concentration is the ability to direct and focus attention on a given thought, specific issue, phenomenon, object or situation. This is a very important element affecting everyday functioning and learning.
How to improve concentration?
- ‘Mindfulness training’
‘Mindfulness training’ is a technique that aims to force the highest level of focus by changing the way you think. It consists in the fact that we cannot ponder what has already passed or worry about the future, but rather react to the ‘here and now’. Thanks to this, we can not only effectively improve concentration, but also achieve emotional balance and the ability to relax.
Visualisation is a great way to improve concentration by visualising and keeping simple images for a moment. As you train your mind, it’s a good idea to start lengthening your time and choose more complex images so that visualisation becomes a multi-sensory method over time. It combines visual sensations with a sense of touch, taste, hearing and even smell. How to use this method in learning Polish? Well, it’s worth to visualise entire sentences in a given grammatical structure, and then ‘transfer’ the example to another context. Sounds complicated? That’s just the way it appears!
- Or maybe writing your own abstracts?
This is a very interesting method, because while creating your own mind map or writing notes, it forces focus. It’s also a great way to remember a large amount of information from a program, book or article. In addition, it allows us to choose the most important messages that will be useful later. Another advantage of this method is working on the ability to provide detailed and concise information and your own thoughts. It is certainly a solution that is worth applying while learning Polish!
- Take a break
The brain is an organ, not a machine, and it needs rest during intensive work. This is especially evident when we start to err or run our thoughts from the task at hand. Then give yourself a moment, stand up and do some exercises. The brain will rest and be oxygenated. A good solution is also reaching for a glass of water and some food providing the necessary energy. So remember about the break, and you will surely return to your activities with new strength.
- Eliminate the “distractions”!
Many of us are looking for beneficial methods that will improve and teach concentration. We often forget, however, that there are quite simple ways. To improve concentration, especially when learning Polish, it is worth to turn off the “distractions”, which include, among others, telephone, email, all messengers and devices that generate unpleasant sounds for us. As you know, not every task can be performed with music, even if it’s quiet!
Focus on one thing only. Multitasking is a desirable feature, but it can be a hindrance to achieving your goal. Trying to do several things at once, especially while learning Polish, does not allow you to achieve a good effect, but only extends the time spent on this activity.
- Try diet, physical activity and sleep
This is a ‘magic three’ affecting the condition of the human body. Why? As you know, the diet of each of us should be varied, because food affects the body and mind. Supplementing the diet should be drinking at least 2 liters of water a day. An inseparable element of a good or balanced diet is the condition resulting from regular physical activity. The cyclical nature of this perfectly oxygenates the body and also has a beneficial effect on our figure. In turn, sleep is a time of regeneration, rest for both the body and the brain. This is another, very key element undoubtedly affecting the absorption of new information while learning Polish. Avoid a fast food diet. Products containing a large amount of sugar or salt, as well as saturated fat negatively affect the work of the brain and nervous system. Excessive alcohol consumption or drinking too often also weakens your ability to concentrate.
I started learning Polish in the summer of 2017. I heard it was going to be a “challenge”. In fact, that’s all I ever heard, but honestly this was just background noise to me. This fact became important as I delved deeper into learning Polish.
Polish is a “category III” language, meaning it’s grouped with languages such as Albanian, Turkish, Hebrew and Finnish (as well as other Slavic languages) as being a language “with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English.” I’m rather glad I somewhat went into learning Polish with an open mind and didn’t listen to all those “it’ll be hard” comments, because I surely wouldn’t be where I am today if I had.
I started essentially from the beginner level, and once I started I just wanted to continuously improve. The thing is, is that I’ve actually never learned another language before. By chance I found the Polish Language School KLUB DIALOGU in Warsaw. That`s how my adventure with Polish has begun.
It was a slow process for a while but after 1.7 years I got to B2 level and now I can understand and speak confidently in many situations. It gives me such a huge amount of satisfaction to know that in cafes, shops, in work and university I am not recognised as a foreigner.
It’s been said in psychological studies that speaking 2 or more languages is a “great asset to the cognitive process” and that brains of bilingual people “operate differently” than mono linguists, which is something that can have several mental benefits.
In general, it’s said that learning a second language can: boost brain power, improve ones first language, improve performance in other academic areas and provide better career choices.
Are these things true? I’d be really interested in your comments as I do have my own opinions from my own experiences!
I do believe that it’s so easy to just go along speaking English especially in big cities in Poland. But there are a lot of benefits to learning the Polish language and if one is lucky enough to be faced with the opportunity, it’s so worthwhile to do so. Many doors are opened. The point really is to learn the language, though, to at least an upper intermediate or advanced level, in order to feel that confidence and be able to fluently communicate.
Boosts brain power: Learning Polish for me has introduced an entire new way of thinking and an intricate system of quite complex rules, pronunciation and grammar. Having to very often switch between languages has been a skill I’ve had to acquire, which really hasn’t been easy (I don’t want this to seem like it’s been a breeze for me. Believe me, there have been times where I thought I just can’t carry on!) However, learning this skill has been a lot of fun as opposed to a burden. It helps me think ‘on my feet’ and think fast.
Improves first language: With this I somewhat agree, because I have learnt a lot about my native language, which is English, since I really had to research and learn some of the grammar structures in my own language to be able to understand why some things are as they are in Polish. On the other hand, actually, once I became more fluent in Polish and had to speak in this language more, I started to (and still do) get mixed up with words and sentence structures in both English and Polish. Sometimes I don’t even know or remember a word in English but in Polish it comes immediately to my mind.
Improves performance in other academic areas: Learning new languages improves cognitive skills; studies have shown that benefits of learning new languages include higher scores on standardised tests, in mathematics, reading comprehension and vocabulary by multilingual compared to monolingual students.
Learning foreign languages, for a lot of people, is testing, but fortunately, in the process it gives a lot satisfaction. People always appreciate it when you speak in their language even if it’s tough and you struggle a lot. Don’t worry, they are super eager to help you.
Don’t break down if at the beginning Polish seems scary and difficult! Step by step, sooner or later everyone is able to grasp it. Find the right school where you feel comfortable but a bit challenged. I found my place in KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School in Warsaw, but you can find the right place for yourself, or perhaps it will find you 🙂 I wish you the best of luck!
At the end of last year, KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School opened a brand new course called ‘LEVEL UP 500’. This drew a lot of attention quite quickly, but perhaps you’re wondering why? What does this name even mean?
The aim of this course is for the students enrolled to learn the Polish language from A0 level (a complete beginner in Polish) to B1 level (upper intermediate) in 500 hours. What’s more, these hours are to be done within 6 months of intensive learning, shared into 5 semesters, each of which are subsequently at a higher level, so students at different levels can also join this course as it’s going along at the beginning of a new semester. Each class is 4 hours long in total, and they take place at our school every week day.
The LEVEL UP 500 PROGRAM has now a very diverse and super interesting range of students, and we love to see them so eager to learn our language! A lot of our students are always interested in getting to B1 level or higher in order to communicate effectively in Polish and potentially write the state exam. It is human nature to be impatient 😉 so the fact that the Level Up 500 course boasts getting from A0 – B1 in 6 months was something that really drew attention, and still is!
Why is this course so fascinating and drawing so much attention from learners of Polish as a foreign language?
Ania, one of the two wonderful teachers running this course, who is very experienced and skilled in her field says she really enjoys teaching these lessons as you can “really immerse yourself in the Polish language 100%” and the fact it is so fast-paced means the results of effective teaching can be seen very quickly. A class that lasts 4 hours a day doesn’t have to be boring and spent only sitting down!”. And she adds, “creativity is very important being a teacher, and planning these lessons takes time to make them as interesting and engaging as possible. For example, the other day we just all stood up and played football together. We all said a positive sentence in Polish and passed the ball to one another. It was a fun and energizing way to take a break from sitting!”
Ania explains that during such a course, it’s necessary to strongly observe students to see how they learn, as everyone has somewhat different learning styles and needs. A challenge is to be able to run a class that benefits all in an equal way, but during classes they’re especially longer than others, this is more possible as there’s more time to use different methods. The biggest motivator is progress, for both the students and teachers!!
Mailing from Venezuela is one of our students who joined us for an intensive summer course, and she has now gone on to learning in our LEVEL UP 500 PROGRAM. For her, it’s all about practise. After completing a semester in this PROGRAM, which she admitted finding difficult sometimes, she says she has really improved this time around. “I can see the difference, and it’s very obvious.” Even though this semester is now a higher level than before, I think I just had to get used to this way and pace of learning. Now I have really got the hang of it and I’m enjoying it so much.”
So far this specialised program has proven to be a big success, and we’re so happy and proud to see improvement in our students and the achievements of our teachers.
I have a question! Would you like to communicate quickly and effectively with Poles in Polish, to know what Poles are talking about at work, on the street and in the company? Would you like to learn Polish from scratch in 6 months? If your answer is ‘YES’, come to KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School and sign up for the Intensive ‘LEVEL UP 500’ PROGRAM.
We start as early as 1st October 2019.
Do not hesitate any longer! Join us and feel free in Poland!
COURSES & PRICES –> LEVEL UP 500 PROGRAM
As with every year, our ever-growing Polish language school KLUB DIALOGU opened its summer schedule to allow our students, new and old, to take part in intensive group courses that wouldn’t normally be available during the year. These courses were split into day and evening classes, both with their own unique appeal.
Our DAYTIME COURSES were very intensive, 3 hour a day classes from Monday to Friday, split into three groups depending on Polish level: ‘Introduction to Polish’, ‘Beginners’ and ‘Intermediate Conversations’. These classes focused on Polish language basics ranging from levels A0 to A2. The aim of the ‘Introduction to Polish’ and ‘Beginners’ courses was to very intensely and efficiently form a Polish foundation to build upon by using textbooks and extra materials in the classroom. Engaging activities in class and outside during the outstanding visit in National Museum was an essential aspect of the teaching process. The ‘Intermediate Conversations’ class was a group for those on A2 level and can engage with others in different situations and conversation. It was a purely interactive and conversational class that involved a lot of imagination and creativity in the group.
During the evenings we hosted our EVENING MEETINGS classes which comprised a totally different timetable and approach. It was a combination of grammar along with speaking skills, general confidence boosting and many attention-drawing topics.
What’s more, on some Fridays we held “Filmowy piąteczek” where we watched Polish movies and there were discussion at the end. On Wednesdays there were phonetics classes which were suitable for all levels and helped with pronunciation, held by one of our trained speech therapists. It’s no secret that Polish has many difficult sounds that’re very hard for foreigners to get their head around, but these classes, in a fun and engaging way, step-by-step helped to overcome many of these difficulties. Precise pronunciation is the key to speaking Polish as a foreign language confidently and understandably.
EVENING MEETINGS lessons took place most evenings from June through to August. Students were free to choose which classes they wanted to attend, which is where the flexibility aspect of this year’s summer schedule came in.
EASTER – in the Christian religion, Easter is the most important feast, and combined with traditional Polish ritual, it is a very joyful and colourful holiday. The most important symbols of this Christmas in Poland are in Polish): PISANKI, ŚWIĘCONKA and ŚMIGUS DYNGUS.
PAINTED EGGS (PISANKI) – these are extravagantly painted eggs that formerly protected from misfortunes and was a symbol of fertility, new life and fertility. Depending on the region of Poland, the eggs are decorated in different ways: they are painted with paints, wax, covered with coloured paper or rushes or wool.
HOLY SATURDAY (18 – 20/04) – Christians celebrate food. The church is given ’ŚWIĘCONKI’, or baskets, in which there are: hams, sausages, cakes, bread and ‘Easter eggs’, meaning painted eggs.
EASTER SUNDAY (21/04) – In the morning, families sit together at the Easter table, set with various meats, fish and cakes. Before meals, we share the egg and give best wishes.
EASTER MONDAY (22/04) – this is the second day of Easter (ŚMIGUS DYNGUS), which is associated with fun and … water! From early morning, especially in the villages, specially dressed boys walk from house to house, scaring the residents and pouring a bucket of water over them. This custom has also settled in cities, so do not be surprised on this day if you are, even accidentally, covered with water on the street!
Learn Polish with us, so that you will learn as well the language and many interesting things about Polish culture and custom!
Our summer courses have ended, but thanks to you, we are left with unforgettable memories! The group which began learning Polish with us at the beginning of summer has concluded their course by presenting us with a short show, based on the poem “OKULARY” by Julian Tuwim. Additionally, they sang a Polish song for us. We are so proud of all our students! You do a great job! Keep going.
You are already in Poland, but still you remain unsure about the length of your stay. Is it worth taking up Polish language lessons? Will that be a waste of time? Today we want to debunk some myths along with our partner, CareersInPoland, portal, which helps you in finding a job in Poland.
1. Polish not only in Poland!
There are over 60 million people using Polish on everyday basis! The majority of this group live in Poland, but a vibrant and numerous Polish diaspora can be found in the USA (10 million people), Germany (2 million people), Brazil (nearly 2 million people), France and the UK (over 1 million people), and Canada (nearly 1 million people).
And that – you must admit it – makes a difference!
2. Understanding Poles & their culture
Mastering the language makes it easier to understand the surrounding reality. Not only will you understand what is going on in the street, a local grocery shop, or in a café, but you will also find it easier to socialise! People employed in big international companies will be able to catch up on the latest gossip, while at the same time they will understand better Polish customs, lifestyle, or even particular behaviours. Years may pass, but you will be able to remember your impressions from Poland.
3. Getting by
You probably speak English – and that is alright in big Polish cities. But how about towns outside major urban areas? There going to a local food market or post office may suddenly become a problem, as there are people who do not speak English. The same goes for a doctor who is not fluent in foreign languages. Knowing Polish will make it easier to ask for help when necessary!
Getting by in a city is less stressful – you can buy public transport tickets, understand announcements on the bus, and find your way in a new neighbourhood. Make sure you take care of feeling comfortable in your new surroundings!
4. Fun & new friends
Polish language courses are a great opportunity to simply enjoy yourself. You can meet other expats there, make new friends and have a good old time. It is truly a me time in the best possible way! Also, bear in mind that watching Polish films, listening to music by Polish artists or even flipping through Polish magazines is both about learning and relaxing at the same time.
5. In the spotlight
Is there anything Poles love more than a foreigner attempting to speak Polish? Highly unlikely! Learn some basics and you are already in the centre of attention – of course provided you like to be in the spotlight!
Fat Thursday (TŁUSTY CZWARTEK in Polish) is a traditional Catholic Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent, thus the beginning of fasting before Easter. In Poland, we celebrate this day by eating… doughnuts! Doughnuts are yeast cakes traditionally filled with rose or another sweet flavoured jam.
The tradition of eating doughnuts on Fat Thursday in Poland goes back to the 17th century. This day precedes Ash Wednesday, which begins the 40 days fast.
Among bakers and confectioners, Fat Thursday is regarded as one of the busiest days of the year, with many cake shops open from the early hours of the morning after a marathon night of frying doughnuts. 😀
Courage and strength,
To make you take up your goals and changes,
Which from the first sight seem to be difficult,
But they are dreamed afterwards!
Completing your plans,
And more inspirations,
Which, like a wave pushes a ship,
Push your life forward.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
All the best from teachers and staff of
KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School