Language Challenge 180: Week 12

by Corey · 3 comments

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Welcome to Week 12 !

If you missed the activities these last few weeks, go to the Weekly Activity Page and click on the activities you missed. (Remember: if you aren’t yet signed up, then do so at the link above!)

Did you remember to check in on Friday? If not, go to the check in page to check in and then make sure to go check out our current giveaway! Everyone can enter this giveaway, so tell your friends, family and children’s teachers!

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. I am going to start adding your resource recommendations to our Pinterest boards, so make sure to leave a comment on the language pages with your latest discoveries and recommendations! (Or contact me and I can let you pin resources yourself on our language boards!)

Step Back and Look at the View

This week is about stepping back a bit and seeing how far we have come as well as reminding ourselves where we are headed. It is always good to do a reassessment every few weeks. During Language Challenge 180, we aim to do this every 6 weeks or so.

You know how you can be doing something (reading a book, driving the car, taking a walk) but not really paying attention? You are driving down the highway and all of a sudden realize that you somehow were driving but weren’t really “here” at all. You are reading a book but actually your mind is elsewhere. Do you know that feeling? You are actually doing something (driving, reading) but your mind is not engaged at all.

The same can be true for language learning. We are doing the activities and making the effort but something is missing. We just aren’t really participating fully. We are on auto-pilot and are missing the amazing view that is passing us by!

This week is about stepping back (maybe even taking a break from language learning all together for 7 days) and figuring out what is, and is not, working. Are we still enjoying what we are doing? Do we feel that we are moving along in our language learning? Are our children still benefiting from what we are doing? Or have we dropped the ball with them and slowly moved away from using our target language with them?

If things are going wonderfully for you/your children, then this week is a great opportunity to identify what, exactly, is working so well. Paying attention to the wonderful bits is as important as paying attention to the negative ones. Even if you don’t hit a rut down the road, you will learn so much about you and/or your children if you pay attention to what makes everything go so smoothly!

The key is to focus, to pay attention, observe. Be brutally honest with yourself and go through the points in this week’s activity one by one. It can make all the difference in your/your children’s language learning (as well as life in general)!

And if you are feeling 100% burnt out, feeling as if you couldn’t go on another week even if you tried, then take this week off! Let yourself just step back. Take the pressure off for a week. You will come back stronger next week after having given yourself some time off.

This Week’s Activity

Individuals and/or parents: Whether you are feeling burnt out or not, take this week for evaluation. Take a look at how far you have gone (and give yourself a big congratulatory pat on the back) and then focus on where you are still heading.

Be brutally honest with yourself. Think of it as stopping along the way to admire the amazing view of the mountains and to then pull out your map and compass to make sure that you are still on track. It is also a time to make some big decisions: Do you want to push on over the mountain (shorter route but demands a lot of effort) or take the long way around (takes more time but demands less effort)? Both will get you to your destination, the difference is in time and degree of effort you are willing to expend. Make that decision this week.

Answer the following for your own and/or your children’s language learning:

  • Quality: How much quality language learning/exposure has been happening these past 11 weeks? Do you feel that you/your children have been engaging with new materials that are increasing with complexity and difficulty? Or are you stuck in a kind of circle where you are exposed to the same language resources over and over again without any change?
  • Quantity: How often are you/your children exposed to the language each day/week? Do you feel like it is enough or do you feel that more is needed? Do you feel that you have more time that could be spent on your/your children’s language learning/exposure?
  • Progress: Do you feel that you/your children are progressing in your language learning? Or do you feel that you are not getting anywhere? What would help get things moving along more rapidly?
  • Variety: Are you/your children exposed to a variety of language resources? What are they? When you have time for language learning, do you have resources that you can access easily or do you spend a lot of your time searching for things?
  • Dedication: Are you/your children exposed to the target language regularly? If not, why? What is holding you back from at least a few 10-minute-at-a-time activities throughout the day? Remember that a little bit each day is better than nothing!

Take some time this week to really think about these points for you/your children’s language learning.

As mentioned above: If you are feeling totally tired out with language learning, then take a complete break from it this week! It is better to take a break to give yourself some time to relax than to push through it and hate everything about language learning by the end!

Tell us in the comment section below some thoughts about your language learning. Is it going well? Is it stagnating? Why do you think it is going well or stagnating? What do you feel you should be focusing on the most?

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

1 Seana Parker-Dalton May 22, 2012 at 6:55 am

I’ve been feeling like I’m treading water, at best, with my Spanish study, not from lack of motivation but because my baby and other children and other life demands. However: I am excited about the Pinterest boards–there are so many resources for all of us! I wish I could take a break from NOT studying! The best I’ve been able to do is read a little People magazine en Espanol here and there.

2 Laurie May 22, 2012 at 9:15 am

It can seem like we are walking in place, but it if think about it, I think we are making progress. I’ve been learning Spanish with my kids for the past 9 months or so. We do a variety of activities during the day. Meal times are when I am at my best, I chatter away in Spanish about what we are eating and what I am making. During breakfast, I have the kids watch a 15 minute episode of Salsa online, this is a kids language learning series of videos from Georgia Public Broadcasting that is terrific. During lunch, I do a little lesson where we talk about the weather, review our “words of the week”, sing a song, and read abook. We also listen to Spanish music in the car, and read another Spanish book before bedtime. One area of progress: my kids no longer shout “Speak English!” when I start talking in Spanish. I think that is progress! They’ve become a lot more positive about this whole undertaking!

3 Jennifer May 31, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Hi – what a great post and comments. This is just what i needed as I have been struggling lately with keeping my 4 year old interested and speaking in French. I especially needed the reminder to look at the big picture and recognize that we have come a long way: my son speaks French – not perfectly, but he does!! Yay me! My situation is this: I am a native English speaker fluent in French and Spanish married to a non-native speaker who is also fluent in French, Spanish and English. And since my son was born, I (with occasional support from my husband) have been speaking to him in French — but not exclusively. I found that I couldn’t bring myself to not speak my native language to my newborn baby, but that recognizing that I absolutely wanted to share my love of the language, resolved that I would speak to him a minimum of 2 hours per day (based on recommendation in the book, the Bilingual Edge, which I read while pregnant and left me with the impression that this is the absolute minimum in order to achieve fluency). This reaped tremendous benefits in that he speaks and understands simple French.

However, for the past several months, I feel like we have been in a rut. When we are with French speakers, he is able to communicate and interact, and doesn’t seem to mind being in a French language environment, When we’re alone, however he is increasingly (probably in direct correlation to his ever increasing English fluency) resistant to speaking and it is becoming a negative aspect of our relationship whereas up until recently it was the opposite – a fresh change in our routine, and he had even been initiating conversations with me. I am especially interested in hearing from others who have done similarly – a part-time bilingual parenting and how they keep it fresh and interesting, and especially how they got through challenges. Up until now I haven’t had any set routines like Laurie – but I’m beginning to think this is what I need to do because I hear “speak English!” several times per day now. How can I get past that resistance? Sometimes I just steamroll and keep speaking until he starts to respond but I feel horrible doing that! I don’t want it to be that way – I want it to be fun and painless for him (and me!) I think I need to delve into these blogs more for inspiration!


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