About one year ago I began to study Russian with Boris Shekhtman. To date I have spent a total of 129 hours one on one with him learning according to his method. When I began I knew next to no Russian. I had previously spent a semester at the University of Wisconsin studying the language in 1967 but upon beginning my studies in June, 2010 with Mr. Shekhtman remembered only a few words from my previous studies.
This Saturday, at 11 am, three days from now, I shall be one of three of Boris Shekhtman’s Russian-language students who will speak, without notes, before an audience of native Russian speakers. He routinely has his students have such contact with native-speakers as part of their training. Before I speak two other students, one who works for the US government and the other who works as a journalist for a well-known American newspaper, will speak.
After they are done I will talk for 15 minutes at which point Mr. Shekhtman has promised that he will cut me off.
I like to talk….in any language.
Then I shall answer questions from the audience for ten more minutes.
Mr. Shekhtman has also assigned me to interview and report on several people who will be present. I am to mix with them during the buffet luncheon and obtain information on their lives, interests, and opinions regarding various topics.
None of them will be aware that they are being studied. He will not know whom I select until I present my reports at our following lesson.
He will also monitor my chit chat with the other guests.
Today he told me that he has located a woman, a Russian who cannot speak even five words of English, who I will be spending three hours with as a guide in the next month. She has never spent any time visiting Washington, DC. So it will be my job to take her around, explain the sites, and then share a meal with her.
The way Mr. Shekhtman has taught me Russian has given me a new vision of how students may quickly and effortlessly learn to communicate on a very high level in any language.
I am still amazed that after 129 hours I am able to do what I am doing.