When learning a new language, or anything new really, there are certain thought patterns that can reduce brain drain while making your efforts more efficient. Knowing how to learn and study is just as important as knowing how not to learn or study. Here are some tips and tricks to make your life easier:
Do get organised – Do you have a pen and paper? Is your work space clean and does it limit distractions? Note taking is a must for effective and lasting learning. Studies have shown that physically writing your notes leads to better retention than when typing.
Do pay attention – Organising your workspace is a good start, but paying attention and taking good notes go hand in hand.
Do schedule your self-study – You don’t have to do everything in one go. In fact, its been proven that giving your brain ‘time off’ during periods of study helps you retain more information.
Do study with others – Engage different perspectives and approaches to learning. Diversifying how you learn also increases retention. This also gives you an opportunity to teach others what you’ve been learning. Doing so will show you how well you know the material while highlighting areas that might need more focus. Plus, when you work with others you can engage in mutually beneficial feedback sessions.
Don’t try to remember a ton of new words at once – Trying to cram everything in at once is a typical habit shared by students all over the world, especially when preparing for exams. However this technique won’t lead to any lasting knowledge while leaving you exhausted.
Don’t try to remember all the grammar rules at once – In the same vein as cramming vocabulary, trying to remember the often complex amount of grammar rules of any language is draining. It is also very important to make sure that these rules are learned in a way that lasts.
Don’t forget to listen – When learning, typical approaches to language often focus on reading, writing and speaking. Listening to your target language is also an important step as it exposes the student to nuances such as slang and regional accents.
Don’t forget to diversify your approach – Traditional learning, unfortunately, still seems to rely on textbooks. While you can learn a lot this way, it is imperative to use various methods. Speaking with other students or natives, watching, listening and reading to local media are just some of the ways you can switch up your exposure.
At Language Partners we have adopted a new approach to learning. Dubbed ‘Social Learning’ our set-up takes into account the variety of schedules that students may have while our techniques put our students into positions in which they can learn from each other through a variety of methods.