Pace of learning Anni and a tracing question…

I have settled on a plan of doing 1 chapter completely in the FM Anni book, then doing the corresponding chapters in the following:

Fundamental Drills
Graded Readings
Gregg Speed Studies – 3rd edition
5,000 Most Used Shorthand Forms

I know that each Assignment in the FM books was designed for one class session in a school setting.  The sections in my 4 supplementary books do not correspond exactly with the breakdown of Assignments in the FM book…. although the Chapters, as a whole, do correspond.

That’s why I decided to finish Chapter 1 completely in the FM Anni book before doing the corresponding chapter in the supplementary books.

From reading the older posts on this site, I keep hearing Carlos and others saying in my ear “Mastery before speed.”   And I understand the wisdom of that method and will stick to that principle.

2 questions:

1)  Given my above plan….. would about 1 month on each Chapter seem reasonable?   I’m not looking for an exact schedule that I need to adhere to….. just a very rough idea of what a reasonable expectation of a schedule would be so that I have signposts along the way to see how I am progressing to complete the 2 parts of the Functional Method books.  1 month per chapter would mean that I would finish the Functional Method books and the 4 supplementary books in approx 1 year.  Does that sound about right?

The timing question is based on approximately 1 hour per day/5 days per week of
working on the Assignments and then 20 minutes or so in the evening
doing some re-reading of the material I read in the morning.

2)  I am thoroughly impressed by the elegance of the Gregg system (kudos to Dr. Gregg) and equally impressed by the Functional Method of teaching/learning Gregg devised by Louis Leslie.   Given that….. would tracing the outlines while spelling them out/reading them be a help or a hindrance?   I know that the Functional Method is designed for read-only for the first 21 assignments and I will stick to that…. but was wondering if there would be any benefit to tracing the outlines with a non-marking device (like a rounded off thin stick) just to get the feel of the way the outlines are written.   Or would that get in the way of the brilliance of the Functional Method?

Also… as a general comment… somewhere in my travels (and I think it was in the FM Teacher’s Handbook), Mr. Leslie mentioned that when one is learning a foreign language, one can get so bogged down in the rules that it hinders learning to speak the language……….that many people who have spoken languages that did not have written grammars and dictionaries were able to speak their language correctly and fluently without knowing the rules and that children are able to  learn to speak their native language correctly and fluently without knowing the rules.   Hence, the functional method for shorthand.

That really struck a chord with me.  I remember back many decades ago … when I was studying Russian in college…. my professors spent so much time on the “rules” of the Russian language that I became an expert on the rules, but never really learned to speak the language well.  If we had spent the majority of our time listening to correct spoken Russian, instead of poring over grammar books, I think I could have learned to speak Russian far better.

So… the Functional Method makes great sense to me…

Anyway… back to my 2 questions:  timing and tracing (yea or nay?)


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14 comments Add yours
  1. About the timing, each assignment of the FMM was designed to be covered in one period more or less. Depending on how you learn, you can go faster (or slower). Your measuring stick will be how well you can read the material. If you're stumbling, you are probably going too fast.

    Complementing the FMM with the other books until the end of a chapter is a good idea, as it would be better correlated. However, if you can read the corresponding assignments of the Speed Studies book without a problem, I wouldn't spend a lot of time rehashing old material. You could go ahead to the next chapter of the FMM, and read the other books at some other time.

    If tracing the outlines helps you to impress the characters in your brain at the same time you're spelling the characters out, then go ahead. Shorthand is mostly a mental exercise, so any activity that helps you remember the system is good.

  2. Thanks Carlos. Here's what is confusing me. I know that each assignment was designed by Mr. Leslie to be one class period. With 83 assignments and class in seesion 5 days a week, that would mean that 83 assignments at one a day each….. the entire 2 volume Functional Method books would be completed in 16 1/2 weeks…. or about 4 months.

    But I thought that I had read that the 2 part Anni FM books were a one-year course.

    Obviously, I am wrong about the timing here somewhere, but I'm not seeing it.

    I will, of course, work at a pace that allows me to master each chapter before I move on to the next one, but I thought that knowing how long Mr. Leslie designed this course to take would be helpful to gauge whether I am on a reasonable pace or not.

    1. Thanks Paul. I'm going to try doing the tracing and see how it goes….. good to know that it is working for you.

      How did you like the Functional Method Teacher's Handbook? I'm re-reading the first 70 pages – where he describes why and how the Functional Method works… I think it is brilliant !!!

  3. Thanks for pointing me to the Teacher's Manual. I've already read the first 10 chapters and find it quite interesting. Really makes me wish I was able to learn shorthand in a formal classroom setting.

    However, I have to laugh every time the author refers to the "dull" pupil LMBO.

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