Friday, May 13, 2011

Five strategies to better learn... a language

Thanks to Twitter I stumbled on a post called Five Strategies to Better Learn Spanish in It tells some good tips to study Spanish (or any language). Here's those strategies:

Five learning strategies

- The first learning strategy is a simple one, and one that might not appeal to many people. This strategy is simple: Turn off your TV, turn off your radio and find a quiet place to study Spanish with no distractions. It is amazing how many people like to have background music playing when they are learning, unaware of how counter-productive it can be. If you need to have background music, then choose Baroque, and then preferably strings, rather than brass. Baroque music played on strings has actually been shown to be beneficial to learners.

- The second strategy follows on from the first. Don’t slob out on the bed, especially on your front, when you are trying to study Spanish. Sit at a desk or a table, if possible, with a comfortable, but straight-backed chair and make sure your materials are within easy reach. You don’t want to have to break your leaning state over and over again, by having to retrieve items you need from elsewhere, such as a highlighter, or a pen. You can read a book for pleasure while sitting or laying on your couch, but when you need to learn something, such as in this case Spanish language, even though you might be home, you still need to replicate a classroom or a library setting to help you learn faster and more effective.

- Strategy three: You will be amazed how many people approach learning Spanish without first asking themselves why they are learning it and what they want to achieve with it. Having a concrete reason to learn Spanish makes your brain focus more on the task. With learning Spanish this step is vital because it is essentially a brain-oriented task. And if you get bored or bump into an obstacle, your brain will veer off to another world, you will lose your focus and learning Spanish will become a nightmare. So, write down the reason why you’re learning Spanish and what you will accomplish with it, and have it next to you to remind yourself when and if the going gets tough.

- Strategy four: Study the Spanish language for short periods of 20 to 30 minutes each, and take breaks of about 10 minutes in between. It’s a new language and it’s literally a new world to you. Your brain will get overwhelmed pretty fast. Experts have found that our peaks of learning information tend to come at the beginning and the end of a session. In other words, we remember material more easily that we learned in the first few minutes of a session, and the last few minutes. Therefore, creating many beginnings and endings in one learning session would increase the amount of Spanish you are able to take in, and more importantly, recall it later when you need to use it.

- Strategy five: Breathe deeply and relax at your 10 minute breaks and not get on the phone or watch TV. That will break your concentration. Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth a few times, slowly and evenly. This helps prepare you for your next 20 to 30 minute study session.

If you want more hints, read the previous post Ten Commandments for language learning.


1 comment:

  1. Hi! Your blog has been nominated for our Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition.
    Read more here:
    Good luck!
    Giulia - On behalf of the and Lexiophiles team


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