Language Learning Goals for April 2017

Hello, April! Here in Helsinki, you started out a bit too snowy and cold to my liking, but I know you will bring spring with you. And the light and longer days are already making me feel a lot more energetic and productive. This month in languages will be good, I feel it!

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: March 2017

I’m happy to say, after a less organized February, I got back on track. For March I did tune down some of my goals and left out some activities to keep it lighter, just enough to make getting everything done more achievable. This worked nicely, I felt like I had a very suitable pace. And I managed to plan ahead each week, which was once again an excellent way to keep me focused and really do stuff.

My tracker from March shows what I planned to do and what I actually did:

File 2.4.2017 14.12.32

Russian

Tandem: Meeting once a week – Done! Although a problem that started towards the end of February kind of continued: I wasn’t preparing enough for the meetings (like looking up vocabulary and sentences and structures that could be useful). I still struggle a lot in the conversations if I’m not prepared.
Translate two dialogues from my textbook –
Done! This was a better goal than one dialogue per week, which I had earlier, which just wasn’t doable for me right now.
One set of case exercises from the textbook each week – Done! I noticed I actually enjoy these grammar exercises. Weird? 😀
Babbel Review twice a week – Done! I find this really useful. Sure, it’s about memorizing certain phrases, which is kind of passive learning, but I find it slowly helps me get better at building sentences of my own, too, and to apply grammar rules for example. When I for example memorize examples of which case is used in a certain context, it is then easier to pick the correct case in other situations too.
Audiobook three times a week – Done, well twice a week, but basically I was listening to an audiobook, either in French or in Russian, whenever I had the chance. I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks, I listen to them on the bus, while I’m cooking or cleaning, when I’m waiting, when I’m relaxing, when I go jogging… Love it.
Watching news at least once a week – Nope. I watched them once. It’s just an activity that only takes a few minutes and I still can’t bring myself to do it… The YLE Novosti (Finnish National TV has daily news in Russian) are too boring, it’s always too much about the defence forces. Im not sure what to think about that; the news are for Russian speakers who live in Finland, and there are fewer topics than in the main news, so I suppose they should pick the stuff that they think is most interesting for the Russians in Finland… Anyway, therefore I tried Euronews, but in the end, couldn’t bother to search interesting pieces of news from there to watch.
Reading Ася – Класс!ное чтение -reading practice book one chapter per week – Done. The book is slightly over my level – which is good I guess, that’s what they say you’re supposed to do: Read something you can just about follow the main point of, while running into a lot of new vocabulary. It was a bit tiresome, but I managed to keep picking the book up once a week.

French

Listen to an audiobook for half an hour per week or so – Done! Like I said, I’m always listening to audiobooks now.
Song text exercise once a week – Did this twice. It wasn’t so much fun I’d have wanted to do it each week. But fun enough to do every other week! (So the idea is, I pick a song, try to figure out and write down the lyrics, then check.) I’m not sure if this counts as writing practice? Great for listening practice, surely.

Swedish

Vägen till Jerusalem: Read 30 pages (or so) each week – Ahem… maybe 3 pages per week 😀 I try to read in the evenings when I go to bed. That doesn’t work, because I’m always extremely tired at that point and usually I’m going to bed later than I’d like to anyway.

Extra (French and Swedish): I met again with my new French friend who is learning Swedish. We had great conversations, mainly in French but a bit of Swedsih too 🙂 I’m really happy about this chance to prove myself that yes, I can speak French!

All in all: Well done, me! The goals were realistic and the pace very suitable to fit in my current daily routines.But you may notice there were a few points I need to refine a bit about my study plan. And refine them is what I’ll do. That’s why this Clear the list challenge is so great, it helps you regularly review and refine what your doing.

Language learning goals for April 2017

This is an important month, because the second quarter of the year begins. It is time to look at the big picture a bit. Back in January, I made some rough plans for the whole year in languages – which languages I’n focus on, on a quarter of the year level. Here’s a quick recap for the wirst half of the year:

  • January-March: Intensive Russian, bit of more speaking in French, reading in Swedish
  • April-June: 1 or 2 more months of Russian, then one or 2 months for Swedish!

There are two points that matter now: First of all, I’ve done pretty much what I planend for the first quarter, except that I feel like my Russian studies could have been a bit more intensive. Secondly, after April, I should decide if I’ll do one more month with Russian as my main language, or is it time for Swedish already. (I need to underline, that I’m not too serious about these year-level plans, I might change them according to how I feel – but they do give me a sense of direction!)

As it may be my last month of Russian as a main language, perhaps it is time for a slight boost! As I just said the pace I had last month was really doable, I hope adding a few things won’t be pushing it too far. But then again, perhaps I won’t try to do more stuff, I’ll just try to make a bit more out of what I’m doing.

Something I’ll pay more attention to this month is practicing each main area of language: reading, writing, listening ans speaking. I’ve been following Kerstin Cable of Fluent Language, and one of the important rules in her language learning methods is paying attention to developing each of these core skills. This has inspired me to be more aware about that, too.

Russian

Speaking: Tandem and Babbel

Yes, these are both also about listening, but they are my main activities that develop speaking skills. We’ll probably keep meeting once a week with my Tandem partner. Babbel Review I’ll drop down to once a week (as I’m not adding new vocabulary anymore, there will be less and less to review when I move up in the spaced repetition levels).

In Tandem, I’ll put a little more effort into really picking all the new words and structures I learn, and reviewing them afterwards.

Listening: Audiobook

Keep listening 2-3 times per week. I think I’ll also try and write down some useful structure or two I pick up, while listening.

Reading my practice book and new textbook dialogues

The same as before, reading one chapter per week. I’ll also make this reading practice more deliberate: I’ll either write a few sentences about what I read, or try doing the exercises behind the book.

I’ll also translate two dialogues from the textbook. This, of course, combines reading and writing.

Writing: Grammar exercises and diary!

Same as before: one set of grammar exercises per week. I’ll pick ones about verbs, this time, because I’ve already done all of the case exercises. This I count as writing practice, because most of the exercises include writing sentences.

Besides that, I’ll be brave and try to write each week one entry to my diary in Russian! I have a 5-year diary with just a few lines for each day, so it should be excellent for writing a few sentences in Russian. I’m excited about trying this. 🙂

In addition, of course, I’m in on the Instagram Language Challenge again!

French and Swedish

In French, I’ll also try to find some time for each of the core skills each week:

I’ll keep listening to the French audiobook. For writing, I think I’ll keep a few open alternatives – either more song text exercises, or perhaps writing a diary entry also in French from time to time, or just writing something about topics that interest me.

I think I’ll find some news articles or scientific texts to read, because I actually aim to get my French to a level where I could use it at work, and reading is the easiest area for me to start this more advanced practice. And for speaking, I think we’ll meet up with my friend again, at least once. Other than that, I could do one French video on IGLC each week!

In Swedish, just reading, still Vägen till Jerusalem. This month, I’ll try to keep the book with me and read at lunch breaks, on the bus etc. (When not listening to audiobooks ;))

Important piece of news: My journal got full and I have a new one and it is so pretty! Did I mention I love journals and notebooks? My tracker will look a bit different this month because the new journal is smaller. You’ll see in the next Clear the list post!

File 2.4.2017 14.12.57

So this is my plan for April and I think it is again better than last month! Can’t wait to put it into action!

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14 thoughts on “Language Learning Goals for April 2017

  1. Hey!
    I love you March tracker, I’m using something similar as well! Isn’t it wonderful to fill the small squares?
    Where do you get the audio books from? Sounds like a great idea (for more advanced learners though, I guess)
    I really like how you try to focus on all the skills equally. I haven’t come across of tandem before so I’ll check it out for sure. I also like your idea of practicing with a 5 year journal!
    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, yay! It surely is one of the best thing in the world to colour the squares in my tracker after getting stuff done 😀
      I mainly listen to audiobooks from youtube actually, but I also have an Audible account and the app on my phone, where you can either pay monthly fee and get one book per month, or pay a price for each book you download.
      And actually I’m not that advanced in Russian, hardly A2, but I’ve found that audiobooks work really well even for a less advanced learner, if you can find a book your familiar enough with. You can read more my thought on audiobooks here: https://20thousandwords.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/harry-potter-et-la-magique-des-livres-audios/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done for your March plans! You got a whole lot of things done.
    I love the study planner method, I will try it. Much better than what I’m doing now, just thinking that I have to do this one lesson in the week without planning when. And I’m a stationery lover as well, so I love the idea of diaries and coloured pens 🙂 Your new diarly is lovely!
    Good luck with your plans for April, hope you’ll do as well as you did in March!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Elena! Great to hear the tracker inspired you, hope you find it useful and find a way to use it that suits you best! Stationery just makes life happier, doesn’t it ❤ Good luck!

      Like

  3. A Diary is so useful! I’m also writing a diary in my target languages. One of the advantages is that nobody can understand it. So it’s secret. But it is also an amazing way to improve your language skills.

    Using a planner is also a good technique to stay on track. Good luck with your goals this month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’ve tried writing the diary twice now and it’s really fun. I’ll never know if what I write is correct but I guess it’s not that serious!
      Good luck to you too!

      Like

  4. HI Tiia 🙂

    Awesome goals for this month. I also love how you are using the planner to keep yourself on track. It looks super useful and super pretty at once.

    good luck this month – keep up the good language learning 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey – for some reason I didn’t get any notifications from the comments of this post, so sorry for not replying – and thanks for the comment a bit late!!

      Like

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