Saturday, June 07, 2008

A Little Rebuilding

In my best weeks, I find twenty minutes a every day to work on language learning - five in the morning, five in the evening and ten at lunch. Under this system, I push forward at lunch, review in the evening and consolidate the previous day's learning in the morning.

Last week was not one of my best weeks. Things were crazy at the office, I was dog tired in the evening and eager to use every last minute of available sleep time in the morning.

I didn't stop learning, of course. I finished up my notes on a Spot story and sent them off to the site. And Peter Rabbit came in the mail on Wednesday: I've read the first five or six pages. And Friday evening, I sat down in front of the computer and listened to Breton, French and Italian music for a few hours. And I found time to do a perfunctory scan of the Assimil lessons most days.

Next week, though, I'll go back and redo this week's lessons. I fear they won't seem as repetitive as they should. But that's okay.

I write a lot about attitude here. And this week I've also been skimming a self-confidence course from One of the biggest places where we trip ourselves up in language learning is that when we get off track, we make too much of it. I run across students who miss class for two weeks, struggle in a lesson and proclaim, "I'll never learn X language."

If you've got a program that's working for you, except that sometimes it doesn't work, it's important to ask yourself what's gone wrong when things aren't quite right. As you learn and grow, you'll change, and it may be that what was the right program for you a month ago isn't the right program for who you've become. Or it may be that other factors in your life leave you thinking you don't have time to learn, even though it doesn't really take that much time - in which case it's just a matter of slowing yourself down so you can squeeze in time again. The main thing is to stay a little bit in touch with the language, say with the passive exposure I've talked about in the past, so the connection is still there when you return, whether with your old program or a new one.

So if you're surfing the net and reading language sites this weekend but you haven't found time to study, don't worry too much. Just make sure to get yourself back on track as you go into the new week, and to look for your reasons if the thought of doing so doesn't give your spirits a little lift.


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