Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Language Course

Here is lesson three from the Language Course, hope you will enjoy it like me...

Part 3 - Finding the time to learn a foreign language

Let me guess. One of your biggest concerns about learning aforeign language is that you simply won't be able to find the timeto do so.
Your schedule is already busy enough without spending hours a dayon language learning. You have a job to go to or a business to run,you have to put food on the table after all. You have to spendtime with the family, go to the gym and keep in shape and find afew precious moments in the day in which to relax. I would bet thatyour schedule is already jam-packed as it is.
Finding the time to learn a foreign language is not hard however,you just need to put a few simple steps into practice and findingthe time to learn will be a piece of cake.
I could of course take the rude approach here and suggest that yousimply spend a little less time watching the idiot box. I won't bethat discourteous however. Learning a language should not requireany major adjustments to your current schedule and that includes TVtime.
You do have to be smart however, about where you find that timefrom and how you can put it to maximum use. This part of your mini-course discusses how you can find time to put your languagelearning skills into practice and how to achieve maximum benefitfrom that time.
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First thing to get out of the way is the amount of time needed tolearn a language, or how much time you should put in per day. Youdo not need to put in hours of study a day. Some people may tellyou that you need to study for a couple of hours every day butthese people obviously don't know how to learn a language. Ifyou do study for two hours a day you will quite clearly learnquicker than the person who studies for just half an hour a daybut you can learn quite satisfactorily if you do study for justhalf an hour a day.
I would probably describe the optimum amount of learning time asone hour per day. If you can manage an hour a day then you willlearn a language very quickly, and finding an hours study time isvery easy to do.
There are three key points that you should keep in mind about thetime you spend studying that are far more crucial to successfullearning than spending endless hours with your head buried in thebooks.
1. Learn something everyday - This is absolutely critical. Youcan achieve considerable success if you study for just 30-60minutes a day but you will never achieve anything if you don'tstudy every day.
Language skills are cumulative, they build on what has beenpreviously learned. If you take regular days off your learningwill be stunted quite severely. Therefore it is essential that youstudy for some amount of time, even if it is very small, everysingle day, or at the very, very least, six days a week.
2. Break study time up into small sessions - The humanconcentration span is very short. Less than 30 minutes in mostpeople. If you carry out hard study for greater than 30 minutesthen the information you are studying at the end of the sessionis unlikely to be learned adequately. You will have burned outyour powers of concentration and you will not be able to absorbanything else without a break.
This is critical for any type of learning by especially essentialfor language learning. Never, ever, study for more than half anhour at a time. Any longer than that and your are just wastingyour time and effort.
You may think the logical thing to do would be to break down anhours study into two half hour blocks a day, but you can take itmuch further than this. Language learning sessions can easily bebroken down into 15, 10 or even 5 minute sessions. You just needto have a piece of text to read or an extract of audio to listento and you can have a simple five minute session wherever you are.
This is why it is not hard to find time to learn a language.Simply carry some materials around with you and when you havesome spare moments, on your tea break or on the commute home forexample, you can pull them out and get cracking on a veryproductive 5-10 minute language learning session.
A good tactic to use is to put in half an hour of concerted effortto learn at home in the evening and use these 5-10 minute sessionswhenever you get chance throughout the day. See? It's not hard tofind time to learn a language at all.
3. Do something productive - Ensure that you make productive useof every minute of your time when language learning. If you wastetime on poor and ineffective activities you won't learnefficiently.
If you have a good book and some good exercises as set out in part2 of this mini-course then you can put every five minutes of yourlanguage learning time to good use. Make sure that every activityyou undertake is both productive and useful in achieving yourlearning goals.
In summary finding the time to learn a language is simple. 60minutes a day is sufficient, split up into small session thattake up hardly any time whatsoever. Make sure you learn somethingevery single day and put your learning sessions to constructiveuse and speaking a foreign language is not going to be difficultat all.
Want more tips like this? Want to acquire methods on how to putevery minute of your language learning time to good use?
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We've still got much more coming up in the next few days on yourlanguage learning mini-course.
In part 4 we'll discuss how to use the internet to help youlearn a foreign language.
See you in part 4
All the best,David
http://www.freewebs.com/anylanguage
davidfisher@iespana.es

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