Language Challenge 180: Week 3

by Corey · 2 comments

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If you missed the activities these last few weeks, go to the Weekly Activity Page and click on the activities you missed.

Did you remember to check in on Friday? If not, go to the check in page and then make sure to go check out last Friday’s giveaway!

For those of you who have been on board since the beginning, don’t forget to keep checking your language pages! Let others know about the resources you are finding and/or ones that you are still looking for. Some of the language pages are hopping!

Getting Past the Saddle

Many of us are just starting out with our language learning. It feels great to feel the wind at our back as we sail forward full force. For others who have been at it for a while, we feel that we have reached a point where our language learning just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at all. We keep working away on our language(s) but we don’t get that sense of satisfaction that anything is improving.

When we feel like this, we know that we are stuck in the proverbial plateau. We hear about this plateau a lot when it comes to dieting. We do everything right: We keep away from empty carbs, follow rigorous portion control, exercise at least 60 minutes a day, drink lots of water. At first things are going great and then at some point the weight doesn’t seem to budge, day after day. The experts tell us: “Don’t worry! You are just experiencing a plateau.”

Language learning isn’t so very different. We tend to see great gains at the beginning but then at some point, things seem to just even out and we don’t really notice any changes. In fact, sometimes it feels like we are slipping backwards! Before we know it, we realize that we are making mistakes more and more often.

The question is: What should we do? You probably know the answer already but if you’d like to hear what one expert has to say about this, head over to today’s post titled, Language Learning: Climb Past the Saddle! It is written by Aaron Myers, a wonderfully knowledgeable language coach who knows exactly what he is talking about. (He is also the author of some fantastic language learning guides. So if you are in the need of some expert coaching, you can get 50% off his ELL guides with the code: challenge180).

For those of us focusing on our children’s language acquisition: These same principles apply to raising our children in our home language! Our children will go through similar phases: Sometimes their language skills seem to grow and flourish and at other times they will seem to be getting off track. Don’t worry! Remind yourself of Aaron’s tips in his post and you will be able to stay on track to help your children continue to master your language!

Weekly Tip

The big tip for this week is: consistency. Do something every day. Anything! If you are tempted to put off reading that chapter until tomorrow – then don’t! Read it tonight in bed. If you are having a hard time writing out sentences every day – then do it right now! Just write our three. Or maybe 4.

Don’t feel that you have to overdo it! It isn’t all or nothing. Just do a little bit every day if that is all you have time for. It doesn’t even have to be a priority. Just do something in your language and then try to do a little more tomorrow. The key is that you have done something. The psychology involved in actually having done a little something every day will do wonders for keeping you moving ahead. Honestly!

This Week’s Activites

The same activities from last week are still on the table. Look back at those if you can’t remember what they are. Of those, these are the ones that you should try to do every day this week:

  • Activity #1: Sentences:
    Adults  and/or parents:
    Decide on 10-20 new sentences that you can use every day and add them to your list from last week. Remember: These are sentences of things that you can use at home or with your family, such as, “I’m heading to the store,” “Have you seen my glasses?” “Please shut the front door!” Use these sentences with your family as often as possible – and teach them what you are saying.
    For those teaching children a home language:
    You can help your children learn new sentences by finding ways to use the sentences in natural situations. Don’t try and drill the sentences into your children’s heads. Create some situations where you can use the sentences comfortably. For example, if you are trying to help your children use the sentence, “Please pass the …” then have a little tea party with your child and some stuffed animals and incorporate in a lot of passing of things.
  • Activity #2: Reading: Keep reading every day this week!
    At least one chapter a day in a book or at least 20 minutes in your language learning program.
    At least one book/chapter a day out loud to your children. Make the experience as enjoyable as possible!

Those are the two most important from last week. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do all of the tips from last week if you can! Just make sure not to overdo it and burn yourself out.

Now we will add a few more for this week:

  • Activity #3: Language exchange:
    Adults: Head over to the Multilingual Living Forum or Language Pages and see if there are others out there who would be willing to exchange language support. For example: If you are a native speaker of Turkish, then offer to chat with others who are learning Turkish via skype, email, telephone or a chat program. You can talk with one another or you can offer to correct things that they write. Hopefully there will also be someone who will offer to do the same for you in the language that you are working on! Head over to the Multilingual Living Forum or Language Pages and let people know what you are looking for!

    See if you can find other families ,via the Multilingual Living Forum or Language Pages, who would be interested in chatting via skype with your family. It is very, very helpful when our children can talk with other children who speak our family’s language. Even if your children don’t say anything, just seeing and hearing other children using our home language is helpful.
  • Activity #4: Pronunciation
    The often overlooked part of language learning is pronunciation and intonation. It isn’t the most important but having good pronunciation in our target language can (1) elevate our confidence level and (2) make it more enjoyable for others to converse with us.Adults:This week you (with or without your children) should try to find some time to to work on your pronunciation. Use some (boring) language learning audio programs for this since all you will be doing is focusing on mimicking the sounds of the language. Don’t worry about understanding what is being said. That is not important. Make sure that you move your mouth! Pronunciation comes from moving our mouth and tongue into the right spots so really try and mimic exactly what you hear!

    How is your children’s pronunciation? You can have fun with this by teaching your children some rhyming poems or tongue twisters this week! If your children don’t yet know the alphabet song, then you can start singing that with them (just for the fun of it!). They key is to give your children the opportunity to use a variety of sounds in your language. Have fun and don’t worry if your children can’t pronounce everything perfectly.
  • Activity #5: Write down your plan!
    It is Monday! That means you should write down your plan for the week as soon as possible and try to stick with it all week. Don’t leave language learning up to chance! Consistency is key!

That is it for this week. See if you can incorporate in some of these new activities this week. Don’t overload yourself. Do Activity #5 and see what you can fit into your week’s schedule. You shouldn’t feel that you have to do everything on the list! Plan things out ahead of time and you can always add more later if you have time! If all you do is read a book a day out loud to your child – that is great! Do what works for you, you, you!

Remember: You are always welcome to leave comments below!

Stay tuned for the Friday check-in question and new giveaway!

1 Lara-Miya March 19, 2012 at 9:57 am

Thanks Corey, I read Aaron’s article, it was real inspiring. We have been getting stuck her in the saddle lately. Thanks for all the tips and encouragement!
My daughter was listening to a song today and correctly translated two of the words, amazing! She is only 3, so this is great feedback. Music seems to be a great way for kids to learn languages, it sure helps me!

2 alex March 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm

This is so so helpful.I feel like my family has reached a “This-is more-then -I thought-it would -be ” point. Refreshing article and thanks for the tips!

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