Language learning goals for February 2017

We’re one week into February already, eek!

For some reason, February always seems to pass quicker than other months. It is only a couple of days shorter than the others so that can’t really be true. Perhaps it’s because in February, you’ve already gotten all the new things of the year going so things are just kind of rolling. Also, there’s a lot more light, the days are getting longer up here in the dark winter of Finland. Maybe that also has to do with it.

Although this post is a bit late, I planned my February’s goals really early, two weeks ago. I’m currently writing my Master’s Thesis, so in my free time, sitting down in front of the computer to write has not been the first thing on my mind…But I do want to share my review and goals, so here we go!

This post is inspired by the Clear the list challenge hosted by Lindsy Williams from Lindsay does languages, Shannon of Eurolinguiste, Kris Broholm and Angel Pretot.

Clear The List

Review: January 2017

On January, I was on fire. Well done me.

Remember my tracker I mentioned in the previous post? I got the idea from the Bullet Journal blog. Many BuJo people seem to use that kind of a thing for tracking their habits, especially exercise. The minute I saw it, I thought, “this could work for language learning”.

Turns out, it was the best thing ever.

My main problem with language learning is that my leisure time activities are very irregular. It’s not like yoga on Mondays, tennis on Tueasdays for me, but a different schedule each week. (I don’t play tennis and rarely do yoga but you get the point.) So I can’t just decide I’ll do French on Friday and Swedish on Sunday, either. Sometimes I have a lot of time in the weekend, sometimes more during the week.

I set weekly goals before, but couldn’t really decide which weekdays are for which languages, and especially, I didn’t plan which specific activities to do each day. This lead to a problem that when I had time for language learning, I couldn’t decide which activities to start with, and this got me overwhelmed and I wasted time trying to make up my mind.

So I tried using my tracker to plan ahead one week at a time. I did this usually on Sunday, when I pretty much knew already what the next week was going to be like. I had most of my goals for the month in a  “I’ll do this x times a week” form, so I could just divide the activities throughout the week on the days I thought I’d have time for them. For example, if I knew I had a busy day coming on Tuesday but would spend a lot of time on the public transport, I allocated some sitting-on-a-bus activities, such as listening or Babbel, for those days.

Something I also struggled with last month was that I found it hard to optimize the amount of time spent on each language. My tracker-planner also helped with this – it was easier when I could the variation between different languages visualized. It helped me check that I stick to my priorities throughout the week.

The tracker-planner worked wonders, because even if I didn’t have time when I’d planned, the empty box of the activity reminded me of what I’d not done yet that week, and I usually ended up doing it a day or two later than planned.

So this is how I did with my goals:

Russian

Tandem: One meeting per week – Done, starting from week two, so three meetings in total. In the beginning, the effects of a Christmas break could be seen, and speaking didn’t come easy… but we got going again!
Translate one dialogue per week
– I translated three in total.
Case exercises from two textbook chapters each week – Done!
Six lessons per week on Babbel – Done!
One episode of Бедная Настя per week – Done! And actually it was impossible to just watch one episode at a time, so I watched ten episodes in total. 😀
Watching news at least once a week – Done, sometimes even three times a week.

French

Goldlist: three sets per week – Done!
Listen to an audiobook for half an hour or so – Done!
I listened through “Le Petit Prince”. I’ve tried it before and couldn’t really follow back then, but now I almost understood everything, yay!
(Can’t find Harry Potter 5-7 as French audiobooks anywhere. That’s a shame!

Swedish

Watch weekly vlog from Clara Henry – Done!
Vägen till Jerusalem: Read 30 pages (or so) each week – I read a hundred pages in total.

Extra: My university has an ‘Each One Teach One” Facebook group, where I found (or actually was found by) a French girl who studies in Helsinki and is learning Swedish! We had a coffee and spent an hour speaking French and Swedish. That was awesome. I got proof that I’m actually quite able to have a discussion in French.

file-7-2-2017-19-21-11
My language tracker by the end of January!

Language learning goals for February 2017

I feel really good about what I was doing in January, and will therefore stick to pretty similar activities, but I dare to add a few new ones, because I think my schedule should be slightly less occupied with everything else in February.

Russian

Russian is still my main learning project and after February, it will have been so for three months. For some reason, this feels important. Somehow less time than that feels like just dabbling, but when you get past that, it’s kind of serious. This isn’t based on any statistics, just my gut feeling. But for me, three months with a language is a special occasion. I need to think of something – a special challenge, and a special treat, I think – for myself for the end of this month!

But first I need to get there and keep learning. My plans for February:

Tandem

I’ll keep meeting with my tandem partner. We’re almost through with our list of planned topics, probably we’ll complete them this month. I think we’ll try to find the time for three meetings.

Textbooks

I still felt a bit bored by the dialogue translations in the beginning of January, but started to get the hang of it towards the end of the month, so I’ll keep it up another month.

I’ve refined my method a bit: The basic thing is, I write the dialogue from my textbook in Russian and translate it to Finnish. Then I read the text through it a few times during the week, and finally translate it back to Russian and review my mistakes. This is what I added: with the first read-through, I pick the words that feel difficult and write them down as a list. The second time I underline all the difficult parts in the Russian version AND the parts where the word order or transcript is very different in the Finnish version. This helps me to pay attention to the differences.

Babbel

My subscription expires in February and I know now I won’t continue it because the level of the courses is two elementary for me. But I’ll keep doing some vocabulary lessons until the subscription expires; six lessons a week or so.

Series and news

I’ll keep watching at least 5 episodes of Nastya and the news at least once a week.

Vocabulary

Be it speaking in the tandem meetings and or understanding when I watch Youtube videos, I really feel that my biggest obstacle right now is the lack of vocabulary. The situation calls for a vocab boost method.

Like I’ve said, I love Goldlist method, and when I was taking my Russian courses at uni I was doing a Russian Goldlist. But it didn’t work as well as with French. For French I have an excellent vocabulary book that has a selection of most central words, and I’ve been Goldlisting that. In Russian, I used the vocabulary of my textbook chapters, but that wasn’t too motivating, because it’s a very random selection of words, not always the most relevant, I feel, and every now and then, the words reappear on the vocabulary.

So I’ll need something else. I’ll try something new. The sister of my boyfriend recently borrowed me a Russian dictionary, and since then, I’ve had a strange urge to carry it around everywhere I go and just skim through it all the time. I’ll try to utilize the strange appeal of the dictionary, and try to evolve some kind of a modification of the Goldlist method. We’ll see what it turns out to be like.

French and Swedish

Same goals as last month:
Goldlist three sets a week and half an hour of an audiobook (I need to pick a new one). Reading Vägen till Jerusalem and watching Clara Henry vlogs.
In addition, I hope to find the time for at least two more French-Swedish meetings with my new friend.

Not much new, only small changes this month, but why change something that works?

However, next month I’ll probably have to think of ways to add some new challenge, in order not to get bored, or stop making progress. I’m thinking I should perhaps try to write a bit more. Also, I could find something to read in Russian. But that can wait until March!

file-7-2-2017-19-24-30

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Language learning goals for February 2017

  1. Wow, that’s what I call taking language learning planning seriously. Some serious stuff like no other.
    And you concurrently study three languages to boot.
    What not to admire?

    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me and my clumsy English, of course it’s “What’s not to admire?” What was I thinking…
      That’s what working like heck all day can make to you 😉
      Pas de repos pour les braves.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Haha, thanks! 😀 To be honest, making all sorts of lists and plans is like another hobby to me, I love it almost as much as learning languages. We all have our quirks, I guess 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re right: don’t change something that works. I always say: find the correct plan and stick to it ;-).
    Good luck this month 🙂

    Like

    1. That’s a wise advice! 🙂 I think I did well last year learning French using just the same three methods for half a year – sometimes simple is the best!
      Thank you! 🙂

      Like

  3. I love the idea of a monthly language goals! I may need to bring it. But also I like that you’ve reciewed the previous month too. I’m curious to check out Goldlist as well.

    Like

  4. I discovered the bullet journal “method” lately and I am also a big fan of tracking 🙂
    I try to plan ahead which language and what I am going to do, so I can vary the activities: I realise I didn’t learn grammar the previous week so I do some etc. else I’m like you, struggling to do anything.
    What do you modify in your use of the Goldlists? I’ve tried it and it is hard for me to stick to it… but I’d like to find something as vocabulary is so important when you begin a language… (maybe I was doing it for too many languages I should focus on one)

    Like

    1. I’m not sure yet, actually, what I’ll do with the Russian vocabulary! I’m just experimenting how I could use the dictionary for vocab learning, and because I like the Goldlist method, I might apply some aspects of it. But I’ll tell everything in next months review post when I know what became of it 😀

      I’d say, try doing Goldlist for just one language first, at least that worked for me. Although I do know that some people use it for many languages simultaneously, so it is possible… For me, Goldlist worked the best when I was doing it almost every day, and combined it with other learning activities!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s