I have studied and worked with Erickson College International for the last 11 years. For most of those years I remember Marilyn Atkinson from time to time mentioning her work with Accelerated Language Learning. I always wanted to know more, and as of a couple months ago, I finally got to experience it! This is the first post in a series of posts I will be putting together into a 60 Day Challenge. On April 17th and 18th I will be attending the 2 Day Velocity Program in Vancouver, BC on Spanish. That will be the start of the 60 days. The question is simple, how much of a Spanish Speaker can I become in 60 days?
Below is a short introduction to my experience of Velocity Language Learning and why I am choosing to undertake this experiment. I will be adding additional information to this post to complete some of the thoughts.
Have you ever wished you could learn a second or third language really quickly?
Have you ever seen commercials for Rosetta Stone, but take a step back when you saw the $500 price tag? Most of us have. You, like me, have probably wished you could quickly and easily learn another language. I studied Spanish in High School, and didn’t learn much, then lived in Germany for two years and studied German in college. I know a little but never felt comfortable with it.
That changed just a few months ago. I attended a single day, yes, one day of a training from Velocity Language. Velocity was founded my Mentor Dr. Marilyn Atkinson, based on her 35 years of modeling people who not only speak multiple (more than 30 in some cases) but could learn new languages in a few hours! Marilyn is a pioneer in the field of Expert Behavior Modeling. Based on the extensively modeled “best practices” of polyglots (someone who speaks more than 5 languages) she and Paul Gossen developed a two day intensive course for Transformation Spoken Fluency. Personally, I had some major doubts! I could not imagine any way possible to gain spoken fluency in 2 days. Oh how I was wrong! I attended just one day of the course on Mandarin, and was completely blown away! Beyond the fact that Mandarin is supposed to be one of the hardest languages to learn, I had no interest in learning Mandarin! I went to see what all the buzz was about.
Do I speak fluent Mandarin now? Well, no, because I didn’t continue with any effort whatsoever, BUT, I did just have an unbelievable experience in Brazil with Portuguese. I was talking with the CEO of a large company in Brazil about how they speak to the company headquarters in Germany solely in English. He said many of the upper level Managers struggle with their fluency. So, I started telling him about Velocity. As you might be doing right now, he wanted to know how in the world you could do it in 2 days. So, being the adventurer that I am, I grabbed pen and paper, and my translator, and “mapped” out Portuguese. I spent the next 3 days working with all the tools I learned in my one day of Velocity, and had an amazing time speaking with my students, and the staff at the hotel.
The real test came on the way to the airport. Because of Sao Paulo traffic, it was a 90 minute drive, and the driver speaks bare bones English. We spent the 90 minute drive speaking mostly in Portuguese! I would say at least 75% of the conversation was in Portuguese. HE LOVED IT! I found out about his family, his wife, his children, his hopes, his dreams, his hobbies, and his life. He in turn found out all about me as well. It was an amazing experience.
As I sat at the airport waiting for my flight to depart, I got introspective for a few moments on it. Why was it such a powerful experience. Well, for one, it was what I love about Coaching, I got to speak to someone at a deep level. Second, it was a ton of fun! Then the realization hit me: What had changed about me! I realized that I had a very different internal dialog and feeling about learning Portuguese. I felt like: “If I were in Brazil for a month, I would be conversationally fluent.” And, it isn’t just Portuguese! I feel the same way about any language now. Give me a month in a foreign country and I could learn to speak the language!