Observations on learning how best I learn

I get bored very, very quickly. It was THE reason that I would get frustrated and stop my language learning in the past. So much was geared either toward tourism or a very rigid format that I found myself wanting to learn but wound up absolutely bored out of my mind.

Enter Lingq. I love the method because it just seems to happen. I read, listen, read and listen and the next thing I know, I’m understanding things that I didn’t understand a week ago. Simply amazing!! Also, I notice things that I don’t know, which excites me to learn them.

Here is something that I find pleasantly surprising. I’m not very far into Spanish, (a little over 3200 words at the moment), but I’m finding it easier and easier as I continue. Maybe easier is not the word, perhaps it is just coming quicker. I think that it has something to do with once I understand 95% of a sentence or paragraph that the balance of the meaning just seems to fall into place. Hard to describe but I like it. And I didn’t expect it to be like this. For some reason, I thought that it would be harder as I went along. I don’t know why, maybe I was thinking that it would be like math or science. As you continue the concepts become more and more challenging . But with me thus far, it seems to be much easier than when I started.

Another thing I’m noticing is that as the language begins to soak in, translation gives way to meaning. I guess this is just through exposure to the language but it’s very cool when you don’t have to translate, you just know what was said.

But Lingq is so open ended and organic that I was looking for a methodology or at least a bit more of a systematic approach. It is why I chose to concentrate on Spanish first and go back to Russian later. I have friends that speak Spanish, I enjoy the TV shows and I find it very exciting to have a Spanish speaking population here locally that I will be conversing with in a meaningful way sooner rather than later. So, I decided to use Spanish as a launch pad to learn what way is the best for me. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be successful and work out the bugs in my personal learning style.

Within Lingq, I found myself getting bored with the Mini Stories. I was going on to Podcasts that were too difficult just to hear new voices and content. But I felt like I was hindering myself somewhat. So,
I was listening to one of Steve’s video’s about language learning that came out recently (within the last week or so). He used the term “mining” with respect to how he approaches a lesson, like he is extracting the little gems of understanding out of the lesson. It reminds me of the matching game we used to play as kids. Flip two cards, see if they match. As you flip more cards, you have to recall where the cards that match are located. As I work through a lesson, my mind tries to match as word with it’s meaning and eventually it does.

I’m also intrigued with how leaving something alone for a while works as well. I leave a lesson alone that I was struggling with and them come back to it and all the sudden, I understand much more of what was previously unknown to me. In my mind, this is like my grandfather allowing a field to go fallow or rest so that it could become more fruitful.

So I’ve gone back to the Mini Stories with renewed vigor and systematic approach of mining and fallow ground.

First I look at how many words in yellow remain in the lesson. For instance if I have 10 lessons with unknown words remaining I load them in my playlist and start listening. Then I go through reading and see what I recognize and what I can mark as known, etc. I set myself a benchmark that when a lesson goes below a certain number of unknown words, I remove it from the playlist and concentrate on those that have more unknown. They go fallow for a time while I continue to mine the lessons with more unknown words. Then when all those stories reach the benchmark. I move to another set of 10 and work them down and so on. Once I have worked all the lessons or podcasts in a group that interest me, start over with a new benchmark until I reach zero. I love it!!

I’m sure that my approach and methodology with change and adapt as I grow but finding for myself a system within the system is very comforting. I just want to share with you all and hear about anything that you may do or even things that you have found less useful and have discarded.

Paul

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That sounds great! Congrats! I’m in the same boat, by the way. Have been learning French for a month or so. Well, I find myself bored from time to time, to be honest. The motivation helps me, though; It was not the case with the English language: I already knew some of it before I stumbled upon the system. I had been able, not without problems, read “authentic” material by that time. So I can easily say that I’m having completely different experience with French. And I gotta keep going.