I recently wrote articles about how to stay motivated and how to stay consistent, because both are so important to learn a language successfully. There is, however, one thing which will help you be both motivated and consistent.
This is the topic of my latest video, to be found on my youtube channel, or right below. In case you prefer reading to watching, I’ll also recap the main points in writing below the video.
Main ideas of the video:
The history bit:
In 1941, the Defense Language institute was created with the mission to teach Japanese to members of the US army before they go to war in the Pacific theatre.
Scientists were charged with creating a new method for them to learn fast and efficiently.
The new scientific method was called audio-lingual method and nicknamed “army method”.
It was very successful. 6000 graduates served in the Pacific theatre and later during the occupation of Japan.
After this massive success, schools around the world proceeded to implement the new method. Some of this method still survives nowadays, and you might have come across two main elements: drills and the language lab.
Drills are a kind of grammar exercises. Their goal is to make a language pattern automatic in your brain. It’s basically filling in the blanks and repeating phrases over and over again until it has become second nature.
The language lab is this weird room where you can record yourself and listen again or hand the tape over to the teacher.
School officials around the world were persuaded that language learning has now become very easy thanks to science, and that every student would soon become bilingual.
Unfortunately, we both know that it did not happen.
As it turns out, if your life might depend on your Japanese speaking ability, your brain makes it high priority to learn Japanese. The method has little to do with it.
Key take away:
The most important is to know why you learn. It makes you go on when you feel like quitting.
My students have the best results when they are in one of these two situations:
- They live in a French speaking country and they need to learn French to find a job.
- They have to pass a French exam.
If your reasons to learn French are not as strong as those, it is possible to cultivate them.
You can cultivate them by enjoying the language and the culture: watch movies (even with subtitles), read books (even in translation), travel to French speaking countries (even if you can’t speak much yet).
Last tip: Download the template below, print it, and write the reasons why you learn French on it. Then pin it somewhere where you can see it often. When you feel a drop in your motivation, read it over again. Remembering why you started will make your motivation rise again.
Thanks for reading. 🙂