Friday, 25 March 2011

Is your language learning convenient?

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I’m learning Dutch at the moment and at first I didn’t record the amount of time I was putting in. I just guessed. I only started to record the time I watched Dutch TV when I put pen and paper next to the sofa where I watch TV.

I only started when it was convenient to do so.

Many people believe motivation is the silver bullet to ‘problems’ big and challenging and whilst I agree with goal setting, incentives, positive talk etc, I now think that making goals easy to do is more important.

For example; If you want to listen to lots of Spanish, which ‘option’ would be the best for this?

1. Having some Spanish but only on CDs.
2. Having some Spanish on your Ipod/MP3 player.
3. Having only Spanish on you Ipod/MP3 player.

Most people would agree that the most convenient ‘option’ for listening to lots of Spanish would be the third option. With this option the person can only listen to Spanish.

Khatzumoto, at 'All Japanese All The Time’ pushed this to the extreme when he was learning Japanese. He created an environment in his home that was basically Japanese. He had only Japanese music, films, comics. He build up his environment so that he could listening or do something in Japanese at any time of the day and that it was easier to do or listening to Japanese than it was to listen to English.

What have I done to make learning Dutch easy?

• Move to the Netherlands. Result. - I hear Dutch every day, I'm surrounded by Dutch people and I have loads of TV channels. I’ve watched a lot of Dutch TV.
• Have an Ipod with mostly Dutch stories and songs on. Result – I mainly listen to Dutch when I’m on the go.
• Have Dutch TV. Though having a girlfriend who doesn’t want to watch Dutch TV makes this a little harder. Result - I watch Dutch TV when my girlfriend isn’t around.
• Having Dutch TV on my computer. Result – I watch Dutch TV when my girlfriend is around.
• Having Dutch books. Result – I can compare some listening stories on my Ipod to the written stories.
• Having a Dutch book or newspaper in my travel bag. I can ‘read’ or look at some Dutch material when I’m bored or have a few free minutes.

What are you doing to make your language learning easy to do?

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