Practicing scenarios

I was reading this article and I found it quite interesting, particularly the ‘Increasing Proficiency’ section. It says:

"When planning your next language learning session, then, instead of thinking “I will read the next five pages in the grammar book” (the counting based approach), switch to a proficiency-based approach. The important point is to remain focused on increasing what you can do with the language a bit at a time.

Structure a learning session like this:

Think of a real life task that is a bit harder than something you currently can do.
Work out where the gaps are in your knowledge, such as some missing vocabulary, or idioms, or relevant bits of grammar.
Practice the scenario many times on your own, filling the gaps in your knowledge with the identified vocabulary, idioms, and grammar.
Vary the scenario to simulate varying real-life outcomes.
Record the scenarios on audio or video to simulate some real world stress, and to enable you to review them later.
Where possible, carry out the scenarios with a native speaker, either face to face or over Skype. Of course, best of all is if you can use them in real life situations, but if not tutors or friends are a good substitute."

Basically, my goal right now is to becoming functionally conversational in every day simple topics and I found this article to be a good primer for that. For a while, I didn’t want to speak until I had complex things to talk about such as science, politics, etc., but I figure with my little plateau of progress right now, I should walk before I run (or talk before I yell?).

Eventually, I’m going to try to write out dialogues like it says by writing them out with words I already know from my LingQs and practice them by writing, reading out loud, etc. so I have dialogues under my belt that I can use in case I have a lost of words.

I’m curious if any of you have had similar thoughts and goals like this? I have a strong passive knowledge in Russian, but I need to eventually make more of my vocabulary active, and I’m just looking for strategies like this to tackle it. There are a few words that have been converted to active by just reading and listening (I have certain words and phrases stuck in my head!), but I find it too slow at the moment.

I’m not all that systematic but often I wonder how I’d go about tackling a particular situation and try to fill out the gaps I may have.
Sometimes they’re real situations likely to happen in the near future. For example, explaining a child how to skate and how to paddle a kayak (I actually did the latter). Sometimes I retroactively learn how to deal with a past situation where I “underperformed” linguistically.
I also like considering how to tackle more general kinds of scenarios. For example, I make a point of learning vocabulary about positions and movements of objects: crossways, diagonally, slanted, crash, cross,…
I typically don’t go on to practice those conversations immediately. I just try to be ready when they come up.

That’s exactly how I’m feeling at the moment. I don’t want to memorize phrases, but I want to be able to actively recall clusters of words to where I can say things on command. I figure the more phrases I practice with, the smaller the gaps become.

I just don’t know exactly where to begin. I think I’ll just pick a scenario and work on those, and probably by a notebook. Example, I’ll have a food section, then I’ll make a tree graph and branch off and do things like restaurant, grocery store, etc. Then I’ll do a sports section, then I’ll do a bar/club section. :smiley:

I also found a good basic conversational dialogue course made by Evgueny that I think is pretty well made.

If you’re like me and your parents keep on lecturing you about the same stuff you already know everyday, then I’d simultaneously attempt to translate everything they say into my target language in my head, to make the conversation worthwhile and meaningful. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s also useful for reviewing vocabulary, since certain words tend to repeat alot :stuck_out_tongue:

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