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10 Tips for Language Learning Success

If you're a first-time language learner, you know that emotional ups and downs come with the territory. When you understand a concept or begin to comprehend the language, you may experience feelings of exhilaration. However, these are often followed by moments of frustration and discouragement, during which you might feel as if you will never master the concepts and attain the ability to understand and communicate effectively. Below are some time-tested, research-verified approaches that will help mitigate potential frustration and will increase your ability to succeed in language learning.

1. Set realistic expectations


It is natural to feel uncomfortable in a language class. You're used to being in classes where the mode of communication -- the language of instruction -- is a given. In a language course, however, it is the mode of communication itself that is the focus of instruction. For this reason, a language course is different than most other courses you will ever take. Not understanding and making mistakes -- things that are negative learning indicators in other courses -- are a very natural part of the language learning process. Accept the fact that you will not understand everything. In fact, at the very beginning, you will not understand much at all. Remember that during the initial period of adaptation your ear and your mind are adjusting to the sounds and the rhythm of the language. Though you will not understand all of what is being said, you will be amazed at your increasing ability to make sense of the language. Remember that the only way to learn the language is through practice, practice, and more practice; in the course of practicing you will make many errors and you will learn from them.

2. Break study time into smaller chunks


Research shows that language students learn more effectively and retain more when they study frequently and for shorter periods of time than if they study infrequently for extended periods of time. Try to study each day, and whenever possible, several times a day. This means, for instance, doing a few homework exercises each day rather than doing all homework assignments the night before they are due. In addition, there are many otherwise mentally "idle" moments during the day when you can work in some studying. For example, you can review vocabulary while eating breakfast, recite the alphabet while showering, count your steps as you walk between classes, name as many object as you can in the target language on your to way school, take your vocabulary flash cards with you on a road trip. There are many moments during the day when you can squeeze in a few minutes of practice time.

Through the repetition of material, it will be come increasingly familiar, until it eventually becomes an automatic part of your language repertoire.

3. Learn vocabulary effectively


Vocabulary is the most essential element of communication. The more words you know, the more you can say and understand. The absolute best way to learn vocabulary is through the use of flash cards that you make yourself. Purchase a set of 3 x 5 index cards and cut them in half. (This makes them small enough to carry everywhere.) Write a vocabulary word on the front and its English definition on the back. As you learn more information about each word (e.g. plural forms of nouns, principle parts of verbs), you can add these to the cards. There are many ways you can use flash cards as a learning tool. To help you learn and remember noun genders, for example, you can color code the nouns by gender, either by using colored cards or colored ink. When studying, organize words in meaningful groups (e.g., by noun gender, in thematic categories, regular verbs vs. irregular verbs). Shuffle the cards or groups, so that you use the stack(s) in a different order each time. Use the cards in both directions: first look at the foreign language words and try to recall the English definition. Then shuffle and look at the English definitions and attempt to remember the foreign language words. Flash cards offer many possibilities. Take advantage!

4. Practice language actively


Whenever possible, speak the language aloud rather than reciting it silently to yourself. Say vocabulary words out loud, read passages in the text aloud, do pronunciation activities orally and not just mentally. Write out the answers to activities rather than gliding through them in your mind. Read aloud entire sentences in an activity rather than just reading a fill-in response. Transferring language from your mind to your mouth is a skill that requires a great deal of practice.

5. Do homework conscientiously
In the course of a conversation, it is not practical to look up noun genders or fret over verb tenses. But homework offers you a golden opportunity to practice your language skills in a deliberate manner. When doing your homework, you have the luxury of time. Look up words and genders you don't know. Refer to charts and other resources available to you. This will reinforce the material and eventually it will become automatic. If you never look things up or simply guess, you will be strongly reinforcing errors and you will never learn proper forms and words. Read instructor

feedback on homework and ask clarifying questions when necessary. Maximize the utility of your homework to your learning.

6. Form study groups


Meet regularly with classmates to work together on homework assignments, to learn vocabulary, to study for tests, or just to practice speaking the language. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to language learning. Learning with others helps decrease knowledge gaps and gives you opportunities to actively discuss concepts and material covered in class, thereby increasing the chances that you will remember it. You will benefit from the knowledge and abilities of your classmates, as they will from yours.

7. Identify your learning style


Each person has his/her own learning style and everyone learns at a different pace. Try not to get frustrated if someone else in class seems to be progressing more quickly than you. You might find that you have a knack for grammar but have difficulty with speaking. Or you may find that you understand things perfectly in class, but when it comes to the homework assignments, you feel lost. Strive to identify your own personal strengths and let these help you in your learning process. If you are a visual learner, for example, write things down and try to associate words with images. At the same time, strive to identify your own personal learning barriers and make efforts to overcome them. For example, if you tend to be quiet in classes and often refrain from participating, force yourself to sit at the front of the classroom.

8. Maximize your language exposure


If your ultimate goal is language fluency, as it is for many students learning a language, then it is important to know that you will become more fluent more quickly if you increase the amount of contact you have with the language. You can start by simply practicing the language with a classmate outside of class. You can befriend native speakers in your community or attend a local foreign language conversation hour, if one exists. Rent a movie in the target language, or listen to authentic audio or video online. (Many foreign television and radio stations have streaming or archived audio and video programs). Remember that you won't be able to understand everything, and you might not understand much at all at first. Nonetheless, these experiences will make you increasingly familiar with the sounds, rhythm, and intonation of the language. Increased exposure to and active practice with the language will help you develop skills more quickly.

9. Spend time on task

Use the time you have in class each week to work on your language skills. This means not only attending and paying attention in class. If you finish a partner activity early, use the time to try conversing with your partner in the target language on a related topic. Or work on your written homework. Or study the weekly vocabulary. If you finish a lab activity early, attempt trying some supplemental activities, work on the week's written homework, or explore some cultural sites. If you are in your language class, you should be doing something language-related. Make the most of the time you have to maximize your learning.

10. Communicate with your instructor


Take responsibility for your learning. Communicate with your instructor any problems that may be interfering with your learning or any specific difficulties that you are having with the material. Seek help immediately when you need it. You might be surprised how easily such difficulties can be resolved. Also, be proactive about making up missed work. Not only your grade, but also your success at learning depend on it.

11 ways to learn any foreign language There is all kinds of advice out there concerning how to learn a foreign language and specifically Spanish. I think Ill join the pack and chime in with my advice. So. tada. heres my handy dandy list of 11 things you should do to learn a foreign language.
1. Sign up for a class.

You have many options here. You probably have a Community College (also know as a Junior College) somewhere near. They most likely offer foreign language classes. Stop by and get the current class schedule and see if they have night classes, summer classes or even special adult classes. You might even want to talk with the head of the foreign language department to see whats available. If you cant stop by, they probably even have their course listings on the internet. Look em up. Your local university probably accepts non-enrolled/part-time students into lowerlevel classes. That could also be a good option. Another option: Your local adult center, besides offering exercise classes and weekly Bingo, they probably offer French/Spanish lessons. If youre learning Spanish, its a pretty widely-studied language, so youve got that on your side. The main point here about signing up for a class, is it will help you keep progressing. Whether you know next to nothing, or youre already pretty fluent, getting out to a class and learning or even helping others will help keep you from stagnating in what you know.
2. Buy (and use) a dictionary (or three)

This sounds pretty straightforward, and it is. Get yourself a good, two-way Spanish <-> English dictionary (or use Tomsimo online). When you run into words you dont know look them up. If you dont have access to your dictionary, write down the words and look them up later. When I was in Costa Rica studying Spanish, I carried around a small notebook writing down all the words

I heard but didnt know. Then at night, I would look up all the words and study them. It helped immensely. You also might want to get a good Spanish-Spanish dictionary. This is for when youre a bit more advanced, you can look up words in Spanish and read the definitions in Spanish. This can really give you a jump-start in learning. The third dictionary you need is a visual dictionary. While Id say this is optional, it can really be useful. Once while we were watching Cool Runnings, we wanted to look up bobsled in Spanish. The only place I found it was in a Visual dictionary. Visual dictionaries can also be a conversation piece. You can flip through the pages with your conversation partner and discuss various topics that you find in the dictionary.
3. Get a Small, pocket-sized notebook

Just as I noted in #2, I use a small notebook that I can carry with me. I use it to jot down words and phrases that I hear for further research. There are three purposes for doing this. First, if I already know what the word means, I jot it down so I dont forget it. I then see that word several times that day while jotting down other words and that night while reviewing/looking up words. After seeing it several times like that, Im more likely to remember it. If I remember it just enough to use it once or twice that day and a couple times that week, then the words mine. Ive learned it and I continue using it, which makes it really difficult to forget! I also write down words I dont know at all. These are looked up at night and the meaning/translation written next to them. The last thing I use the notebook for is writing down certain words in English that I didnt know the Spanish for. I then look these words up at night or when I get a chance during the day.
4. Conversation partners

Get some conversation partners. A conversation partner can be a native speaker of your target language (If youre here this is probably Spanish), or they might be someone who learned Spanish as a foreign language. Ideally, you should find a few of both. Those who learned it as a FL will be more able to help explain grammar points and understand you when you translate literally from English. A native speaker on the other hand, has a lot of cultural information that a non-native cant really know that easily. Where can you find a conversation partner? Well, if you already signed up for classes like I told you too, that would be a good place to start looking. You can also find them in restaurants, on college/university campuses,- really, just about anywhere.

5. Grammar book

Get a regular grammar textbook. It doesnt really matter if its a college-level book or highschoollevel or any other level. What you want is a book that methodically slices and dices Spanish grammar, chapter by chapter. Go ahead and start reading it. Dont skip to chapter three because it looks intresting/easier, start with Chapter one, and go through all of them. Try to understand what theyre explaining and do the exercises at the end of the chapter. If you dont understand something, skip it. Dont worry about it. At a later time all things will be revealed to you. This grammar book is an essential part of your learning. If you dont have it, youll drown in the sea of words that youre hearing from your conversations with people and the stuff youre reading. If you only have a grammar book youll drown in rules. Its a balancing act, but it will help you understand the things youre hearing. After reading the chapter on the personal A, youll go Ohhh, thats why he said it that way.
6. Newspaper/magazine

What youre trying to do here is get as much Spanish into your diet as possible. Grab a newspaper or magazine published in your target language (TL) and dive in. Start with the very first article you see and start reading. It doesnt matter if its something interesting to you. Try to understand each word there. Write down the words you dont understand in your little notebook. If you have your dictionary close-by, look up the words right away. Try to get through just the first paragraph if it seems really hard, or try to finish the article. After that, your job is to review the words youve jotted down in your notebook. Come back the next day and try to actually understand the article, now that you understand the majority of the words.
7. Movies/videos/television

What I said about newspapers and magazines generally applies to movies, television and videos. These are sources of Spanish, which if taken in the right dosage, will accelerate your Spanishlearning growth. One notable difference is that video and TV provide audio input for you. Practice hearing Spanish. Get a feel for the speed, intonation and texture of the language. Even if you dont understand all of it now, youll get bits and pieces, and even the simple act of listening will begin to condition your ear and cognitive processes to begin adapting themselves to the Spanish language, or whatever TL you have, be it German, French, Italian, Chinese or any other.
8. CDs or cassettes

Get ahold of any of the language courses available on CD or cassette. It doesnt really matter which one you choose. What youre looking for is repeatable exercises to build your aural comprehension (listening comprehension) of the language. Listen to the tapes. Follow the instructions. When youre supposed to repeat the phrase, repeat it. It doesnt matter if you say it perfectly or not, all the practice you can get at this point, the better. One note here is that many people will say they dont have the time to listen to the CDs. Nonsense. Play them in your car. Rip them to mp3 and listen on your iPod anywhere. Listen while standing in

line at the bank, grocery store or gas station. Listen to them while you walk your dog, go get the mail, talk to your sister on the phone (oh no, just kidding). Utilize all those lost moments during your busy day and Im sure youll find a few minutes to listen to your tapes.
9. Flash cards

Go down and buy yourself a pack of those 35 bibliography cards. Break them out and start writing the words from your little notebook on them. Put one word on one side, and the translation and or definition on the other side. Pick all the words from your notebook that you most want/need to learn and go for it. The mere act of writing up the flash cards will give you extra practice with the words. These cards are easy to take around with you. You can pull them out and review a word anytime. If youre at work, and you cant walk around listening to your Spanish CDs, you certainly can carry the flashcards in your hip pocket and pull them out from time to time to review. The advantage of using cards over your notebook is quickness. You can pull out one card and review it while waiting for the elevator, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for the barrista to serve your cappuccino, waiting for the parking attendant- shall I go on? One card can be pulled out, reviewed and put away in the space of ten seconds and no one will be the wiser and youve not tarnished your professional image in the least- heh.
10. Music

If youre like most people, you like music. Why not get some tracks in your TL and listen? Not much more needs to be said. Enjoy the tunes.
11. Talk to yourself

What? Talk to myself? Huh? These are the responses I usually get when recommending that people talk to themselves to learn a foreign language. Lets face it. Youre not always going to be able to find a conversation partner. But youll always have yourself to talk to. When youre walking out of the house to get the mail, say to yourself Im going to get the mail. You can say this outloud or you can say it in your mind. But the important thing is that you say it in your TL. You can go around all day, doing all the things you normally do, all the while thinking or actually saying what youre doing in Spanish. Think of yourself as a narrator, describing everything youre doing. This will help immensely with your learning, because to learn something, you need to put it in practice. You need to do it. Earlier I mentioned that I use a little notebook to write down words I hear. Well how do you think I practice and use those words all day long? Thats right, I talk to myself. That way, by the end of the day I know those words because Ive used them each a halfdozen times. If you dont want to talk outloud, thats ok too. Its almost as effective to simply think the sentence even if your mouth doesnt move.
Now to wrap things up

Of course, there are many other things you could do to further your journey down the languagelearning road, such as marrying someone who speaks your TL, going to live in a country where they speak your TL, paying big $ for a private tutor. But all the things I listed are very practical.

They are things you can start doing today or tomorrow. And you can do them without forking over enough money to get dugout seats at a professional baseball game. This list is not exhaustive. Even now I can think of more things that could be added, such as reading novels/poetry in the TL, writing in your TL, or listening to foreign short-wave radio. But I think this post is long enough (whew), so Ill have to save all that for another day. The most important factor in learning Spanish (or your TL), is your motivation. If you really, truly want to learn, if you are able to dedicate time to learning, if youre open, flexible and willing to realize that they might say something totally different from the way we say it in English, if you pay attention to the details, then youll be successful. Build these eleven things into your life, have fun while doing it, and before you know, youll be jabbering away just like Venezuelan children. If you liked this entry, you might like others. Try subscribing to the blog.

The best way to learn a foreign language is to go to a foreign country


Tomasz P. Szynalski, Antimoon.com A lot of people seem to think that being in a foreign country means that you automatically learn the countrys language well. Perhaps the most prominent people who believe in this common-sense truth are European parents who pay a lot of money to send their children to language schools in England, expecting that they will come back speaking fluent English. Fact: Most immigrants in America dont speak English very well, even after living there for 20 years. Many of them have been making the same basic mistakes for decades for example, saying things like He make tea? instead of Did he make tea? or I help you instead of I will help you. They typically speak with strong accents, which enables others to instantly classify them as Asians, Latinos, Russians, etc. The reason immigrants dont do anything about their grammar and pronunciation is that there is little pressure to do so. Other people can understand them despite their mistakes (sometimes with some effort), and are normally too polite to correct them. The example of immigrants in America reveals a truth that many language learners find quite shocking: that living in a foreign country simply does not make you speak the countrys language well. It does not force you to learn good grammar, good pronunciation, or a large vocabulary, because you can do quite well without those things in everyday life. For example, you can skip all

your articles when speaking English (Give me apple, Watch is not good) and still be able to shop in America or Britain without much trouble. Being in a foreign country only forces you to learn what is necessary to survive the ability to understand everyday language and just enough speaking skills to order pizza and communicate with your co-workers or co-students. The rest is up to you, your motivation and ability to learn which means that youre not much better off than someone whos learning the language in his own country.

In addition, being in a foreign country often forces you to say incorrect sentences, because it forces you to speak, even if you make a lot of mistakes. When youre in a foreign country, you cannot decide that you will temporarily stop talking to people and focus on writing practice (which would enable you to learn correct grammar better than speaking, because you could take as much time as you needed to look up correct phrases on the Web or in dictionaries). You have to speak, because your life depends on it. By making mistakes, you reinforce your bad habits, and after a couple of years of saying things like He make tea?, its really hard to start speaking correctly. It is important to remember that native speakers will not correct your mistakes. Instead, they will try to be nice and try to understand you, no matter how bad your grammar is.

Conclusions
While going to another country may seem like a sure-fire way to master a foreign language, it is not so. Without sufficient motivation, you will learn very little and are likely to end up speaking in an understandable way, but with lots of mistakes. On the other hand, if you have the motivation, you might as well simulate a foreign-language environment in your own home with foreignlanguage TV and the Internet. Such an environment will be safer, because it will not force you to speak and reinforce your mistakes. Instead, you can learn at your own pace and concentrate on pronunciation, input and writing before you start speaking. The advantages of going abroad are:

easy access to native speakers that you can converse with (though you can also find natives in your own country, or you can just talk with someone whos learning the same language) the opportunity to perfect your listening skills (trying to understand English-language TV and movies is not quite the same as trying to understand the speech of a teenaged supermarket clerk in Frederick, Maryland) the opportunity to learn useful everyday words which are not frequently heard on TV or in movies, e.g. Kleenex, ATM, carpool, parking space, detergent, deli, cereal.

All things considered, learning in your own country will be a safer (and cheaper) option than going abroad, assuming you can motivate yourself and can find opportunities to speak in the

language youre learning. After youve learned to speak the language fluently, you can go abroad to polish your listening skills and make your vocabulary a bit more native-like. (See also this discussion in the Forum).

Myth #1 - is it really a myth?


Pages: 1 2 Next page Pawel Kowalczyk Sunday, July 04, 2004, 10:32 GMT Hi! I don't quite agree with the points you've stated in the article 'Myth #1: "The best way to learn a foreign language is to go to a foreign country"'. Although I haven't been in any English-speaking country yet, I'm convinced that it's one of the best possible ways to learn English for a motivated student. The thing that you don't consider in your article is "what's the aim of learning a foreign language?". If someone wants just to be able to read books and write grammatically correct letters, they indeed may as well learn at home. But what if one wants to be able to communicate easily in everyday situations? In my opinion, it's hardly possible without contact with real language in REAL situations. It's just something you can't do alone at home. I wouldn't came across words such as 'nail clippers', 'a Coke can' or 'coat-hanger' if I weren't forced to describe such objects when I was staying at my friends house in Germany. Okay, maybe I would do so reading a book or something, but I wouldn't remember them so well (and also I might for example dismiss word 'coat-hanger' as not being useful enough). Moreover, being forced to speak gave me plenty of motivation for learning. Only then I realized how much I don't know and how much I can learn. I also imagined myself a few years later, speaking in fluent English - great prospect :-). I wouldn't become aware of that, if I weren't forced to use my English. I agree with the point that being forced to say incorrect sentences may reinforce one's mistakes. But I often feel that I'd just said something ugly. That's always a cue for me: "Hey, you should concentrate on this or that grammatical point!". I then add some correct sentences to SuperMemo and it helps me fix the problem. It's true, that several weeks in a language school in England wouldn't make anybody speak fluent English. But it's an invaluable help to a motivated learner, assuming it's not the only activity. Reading books, repeating sentences with SuperMemo, studying grammar etc. is still necessary. Anyway, at the end of next week I'm going to England for my holidays, so I'll be able to verify my views on the issue :-). Pawel Kowalczyk Damian Sunday, July 04, 2004, 13:38 GMT

Pawel: Are you really, really sure you haven't been to an English speaking country? I enjoyed reading your post very much. If your conversational English is as excellent as your written then you will have no problems when you come to this country. As has been said in this forum, the best way to learn a language is to mix with the natives...then your standards will plummet as you pick up all the bad habits! :-) Only joking! But you will pick up all the colloquialisms and informal slang terms and idioms we use in everyday speech if you hang around long enough. Spoken English has changed quite a lot really, and the text book versions of the language bear little resemblance to what you will hear around you. It depends whereabouts in England you go, too. You could end up speaking perfect Estuary. Even where I am in Scotland it has an influence but to a much lesser degree. I hope you have a good time here....I'm certain that you will ...and benefit from the experience. Pentatonic Sunday, July 04, 2004, 15:13 GMT Pawel, I have to agree with you. The article is correct that going to a country where the natives speak the language you are learning is not a magic ticket to success. But then neither is buying SuperMemo and entering some example sentences. You still have to put a lot of effort into it. It seems to me that a motivated student would learn more in a native environment than at home as long as he works at it and immerses himself in the culture. IMHO the reason many immigrants never get beyond a basic communication level is because they tend to socialize with other immigrants of their own culture and because they don't really want to. Not everyone cares if they master the language. I think most are just trying to get by. Abdullah Amer Sunday, July 04, 2004, 16:41 GMT Dear sir, I have read your article &#8216; update ; learning a foreign language&#8217; and I found it very interesting. In fact I was one of those who went to Britain to study English and I found that mixing with the people is good and improved my language, but as you mentioned the native speakers don&#8217;t correct our mistakes. On the other point you suggested learning English in our country, which is good , but having the chance to speak with native speakers is not available. So, can you suggest ways or techniques to improve the spoken language even in our homeland?? Awaiting to hear your suggestion. Abdullah Amer Damian Sunday, July 04, 2004, 16:55 GMT

Abdullah: maybe the English are too polite and sensitive to your feelings to correct you...I know that is the wrong attitude but there you go! If they really knew you were keen to learn, believe me they would put you right. So would the Scots btw! I assume the Welsh would as well Boy Sunday, July 04, 2004, 21:55 GMT I'd say that the article is true to an extent. Going to a native country and living there isn't a ramrod straight recipe to master the language. I encountered this sort of similar example a while ago. An American male has been living in my country for 15+ years and whenever I have a chance to listen to his urdu (my native language) I feel that he has not mastered the language yet. Just learned some common vocabulary words and only good at short conversations. But I still admire him because of his pronunciation skills. He has a good pronunciation of words. It looks like to me that he has listened to native speakers alot but hardly practiced the language in day to day life situations. Not very fluent though but won't face any problems in conversing with people with that level of proficiency. It shows that it all goes down to individuals to learn and practice the language on their own accord! My question here is : Won't I improve my pronunciation of words by living in the native country? Before reading this article I always used to think that going to the native country would be the best way to brush up my language skills. I'd suppose to make lots of friends and have an opportunity to hang around with them and that way I'll improve. I still stick to this assessment of mine. The most important reason for that matter is I'll have the apportunity to brush up my spoken English unlike in my country where I'll hardly find one with so much difficulty! Even he/she won't be a perfect model to converse with! Staying at home and developing a native country like ambience around me will only help me to improve my skills at listening, reading and writing not at speaking. You learn the language because you have to communicate! You can't be a master at it without playing a role of an active player! This is the only disadvantage I feel as a learner lacking. Tom Monday, July 05, 2004, 00:56 GMT Pawel, Many thanks for your insightful post. You write "But what if one wants to be able to communicate easily in everyday situations? In my opinion, it's hardly possible without contact with real language in REAL situations. It's just something you can't do alone at home." You are of course right, but you can also get real-life practice by talking to someone in your own country (a teacher or someone who's learning the same language). In high school, Michal and I used to get together and speak English all the time. We had to learn how to talk about everyday things, almost as though we were in an English-speaking country. Now of course this sort of practice does not teach you everything. First, it does not teach you to

understand sloppy spoken language, since other learners and teachers tend to speak clearly. Second, it does not teach you how to handle everyday questions such as "cash or charge?", "paper or plastic?", "for here or to go?", "how would you like your eggs?" or "how are you doing?". Finally, it does not teach you useful everyday words such as: parking space, request stop, parking meter, turnout, matinee, concourse, mezzanine, organic food, store brand, carpool, HAZMAT, ATM, deli, transfer ticket, collect call, toll booth, interstate, Kleenex, ziplock ...and many others However, staying in your country has the advantage that you are not forced to make mistakes. If you're just talking with your friend or teacher, you can always speak very slowly, look things up in a dictionary, ask them how to say something, etc. You can't talk like that in real life. That is why I say beginners should first try learning to speak a foreign language in their own country. Of course, for a person like you, who's already quite advanced, motivated, knows how to handle mistakes, and can probably speak English quite well already, mistakes may not be a problem. I am mostly worried about people who can't speak English at all or speak with lots of mistakes. Most people don't go to England to perfect their English skills -- they go there because their skills are inadequate.

"Moreover, being forced to speak gave me plenty of motivation for learning." My guess is that if you tried speaking English in your own country, you would get motivated, too. And don't tell me you need to be forced to speak -- a guy who works with SuperMemo, reads books, and uses dictionaries? Congratulations on your vacation! I'm sure you're going to have a good time. Tom Monday, July 05, 2004, 01:01 GMT A couple corrections -- I know you like those: "I wouldn't came across words such as 'nail clippers', 'a Coke can' or 'coat-hanger' if I weren't forced to describe such objects when I was staying at my friends house in Germany." I wouldn't have come... if I hadn't been forced... "Only then I realized..." Only then did I realize... "I wouldn't become aware of that, if I weren't forced to use my English." I wouldn't have become aware... if I hadn't been forced...

"It's true, that" It's true that (no comma) Tom Monday, July 05, 2004, 01:07 GMT Boy, If going to an English-speaking country is your only way of finding someone to speak English with, then by all means go to an English-speaking country. Pawel Kowalczyk Monday, July 05, 2004, 16:02 GMT Damian, Yes, I'm pretty sure I haven't been in any English speaking country ;-). But I'm reading a lot of books and articles on the Internet. With the help of SuperMemo it gives me good enough results my reading and writing skills improved significantly over the past two years. However, I'm still not satisfied with my speaking skills - so I'm going to England to converse a bit with the natives :-). I don't care whether I pick up many slang words or not. Spoken English changes quickly. After several years my "cool" phrases would get a label "old-fashioned" in the dictionaries ;-). --Pentatonic, There's no magic ticket to success in any field, not only in English. Going to a foreign country won't take the pain of learning a foreign language from you. Someone who is not motivated will not improve their English just by going to England. --Tom, I was looking forward to hearing your opinion :-). I agree with you. Just two small comments: 1) I've tried speaking English with my friend once or twice. Generally positive experience, although it's a bit artificial to talk in a foreign language with someone I can easily speak to in Polish ;). Also, I often send text messages in English to my friends who also learn English - that's always a bit of everyday language, isn't it? Anyway, I don't like the idea of talking about an imaginary things just to practise the language. 2) To sum up: unmotivated beginners are not likely to benefit from going to a foreign country. But for dedicated, more advanced students it's a great chance to significantly improve their skills. Sorry, I'm in a rush today, maybe I'll write more some other day. Damian Monday, July 05, 2004, 18:58 GMT Pawel: I hope to start a gap year as I have just sat my final exams at uni (university...we always call it uni

for short) at Leeds, England. Throught the three years I have had to do a part time job to enable me to earn money to survive, of course. This is essential for most students as we build up massive debts - to the Government mainly. These have to be repaid when we get a permanent job earning, currently, over 15,000 per annum. So I currently work an average of 21 hours a week in a supermarket... on a checkout till. I did this at a local store in Leeds and now I am with the same store but here in my home city of Edinburgh, Scotland. It's good fun on the whole and now the summer is here we have huge numbers of students from the Continent (mainly Eastern Europe) in the UK doing seasonal work in all sorts of jobs. Apart from earning money they also have the opportunity to improve their English skills, as well as to see Britain (the first time for most of them). A very few have only a basic knowledge of our language, but mostly they are really proficient and seem to like conversing with us. I have met some from Poland and they seem to be especially good at speaking English. Unfortunately we are not really encouraged to engage the customers in conversation, but merely scanning the goods as they slide along the conveyor belt does not require extreme mental concentration even though we do have a surprising number of other aspects of the job to be aware of. However, I do try and have a wee bit of a chat ;-) It's all a matter of common sense really. I enjoy it when they come in as we are all more or less in the same age group. As I have said, in no time at all you will pick up new phrases commonly in use and you will soon be using slang terms along with the rest of us. I try and use my best English in his forum because of the "effective English" label....of course I don't usually speak this way informally..who does? Again, I compliment you on your written English. I do not know one single word of Polish. I can check it out on the Internet of course, but I know the words LOOK difficult to pronounce. You seem to use the letter Z a lot! ;-) Enjoy this country and Happy Chatting. Criostir Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 00:01 GMT If I may add my two cents' worth: I think living in another country is immensely helpful in learning the language, but as people have said before in this thread, it is important to be active. Just sitting at home and listening to others speak is only half of a language. We are listeners but speakers as well! I lived in Ireland, Germany, and Qubec (long story), and everywhere I was in school and had to speak in class, or write essays, and interact with classmates, and I think that's what helped me achieve fluency. Is mise le meas, Criostir Pawel Kowalczyk Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 08:24 GMT Damian, Most foreigners regard Polish as difficult. But words that are hard to pronounce make our language unique and beautiful :-). My German friend couldn't make a single word out of our conversations -

it all sounded to him like strange rustling and hissing. Many Polish tongue twisters are full of sounds like 'sz', 'cz', 'rz' (all with the famous letter 'z' :-)) - for example "W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszcz brzmi w trzcinie" or "W czasie suszy szosa sucha". But of course there are others, like "Jola lojalna, Jola nielojalna" (try pronouncing it fast!). Tom Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 08:42 GMT Pawel, "it's a bit artificial to talk in a foreign language with someone I can easily speak to in Polish" Well, it's a bit artificial to sit in front of the computer and type in SuperMemo items. It would be easier to sit around and watch TV, wouldn't it? "Anyway, I don't like the idea of talking about an imaginary things just to practise the language." Who says you have to talk about imaginary things? Michal and I used to talk about very real things happening in our lives. Mi5 Mick Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 11:48 GMT He makes a good point there regarding the artificiality of talking in a foreign language with those who primarily speak your mother tongue. And the main problem with that is, you can be mislead or mislead each other as was the case when I tried (in vain) to learn German with classmates when I was a little younger. As you can guess, our German was hopeless in every way possible; pronunciation, grammar, you name it and I wasn't going to rely on the "wiz" of the class who was supposedly very good. The teacher wasn't even German nor was her accent and she couldn't answer simple questions even though they were outside the scope of the class. So maybe watching more German TV was the way to go? Well one solution was easier than all of that - ditch German! I did. It was either that or fork out some more bucks; probably a futile outcome too anyway. Tsama Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 14:14 GMT Hi everyboby, I read your comments about learning english in a foreign country or not. I saw your comments very interesting. I am a learner english language to. So, acconding your comments, what's the best way to learn english? At home or in a foreign country? Me to, I learn at home, but my speaking is very poor, and I don't have too much opportunities to practice my language. Damian Wednesday, July 07, 2004, 18:59 GMT Tsama: hello Are you able to listen to any English language radio programs or TV channels? That is one way to hear the language if you don't have too many chances to practise conversation. I know that is not as good as being able to speak it yourself with someone else. As you mentioned a foreign country, well that is the best way if it is an English speaking country -

as discussed in this forum. Your speaking skills are bound to improve with that sort of practice. If you are learning and wish for improvement in your writing (if not speaking which isn't possible in here) you will not mind being corrected? If not, please say so. blank Thursday, July 08, 2004, 19:19 GMT Damian, In my opinion you shouldn't ask anyone if he/she wouldn't mind being correct. One of the aim of this forum is to learn and improve our writing/reading skill. So it musn't contain any mistakes if we want this forum helpful. Don't ask - just correct. I'm awaiting the same ;) Damian Thursday, July 08, 2004, 20:05 GMT blank (Tsama?): I will correct your post then, keeping as close as possible to what I think is your intended meaning. "I have read your comments on learning English either at home or in a foreign country. I found your comments very interesting. I too am learning English. So, based on your comments, which is the best way to learn it - at home or in a foreign country? I am learning it at home, but I do not have many opportunities to practise my English." There is a difference between practice and practise which confuses many people. Practice = a noun: an action, something that is done or performed. Like "it is your practice to have lunch at midday". It has other meanings as well but I won't confuse you here. Practise = a verb the actual act of doing something. To do or cause something to be done. Like: "you practise your English every day". Hope this helps blank (Pitt) Thursday, July 08, 2004, 20:23 GMT Damian, Yes, it helps. And blank is not Tsama. Blank is blank. As everyone can see my advice was helpful. Now we all know the diffrence between 'practice' - a noun and 'practise' - a verb. Keep on. Then you can (we'll) make a handbook for English learners which'll contain excerpts only from Antimoons' forum ;) ......Any mistakes? Correct! Thanks! Tom Friday, July 09, 2004, 13:49 GMT Mi5 Mick, "He makes a good point there regarding the artificiality of talking in a foreign language with those who primarily speak your mother tongue. And the main problem with that is, you can be mislead or mislead each other..." That's certainly true and that's why both learners should do their best to never make mistakes. First learn pronunciation and get input, then open your mouth.

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Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better


Published on Thursday 30th 2006f November, 2006 If someone granted you one wish, what do you imagine you would want out of life that you haven't gotten yet? For many people, it would be self-improvement and knowledge. New knowledge is the backbone of society's progress. Great thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and others' quests for knowledge have led society to many of the marvels we enjoy today. Your quest for knowledge doesn't have to be as Earth-changing as Einstein's, but it can be an important part of your life, leading to a new job, better pay, a new hobby, or simply knowledge for knowledge's sake whatever is important to you as an end goal. Life-changing knowledge does typically require advanced learning techniques. In fact, it's been said that the average adult only uses 10% of his/her brain. Imagine what we may be capable of with more advanced learning techniques. Here are 77 tips related to knowledge and learning to help you on your quest. A few are specifically for students in traditional learning institutions; the rest for self-starters, or those learning on their own. Happy learning.

Health
1. Shake a leg. Lack of blood flow is a common reason for lack of concentration. If you've

been sitting in one place for awhile, bounce one of your legs for a minute or two. It gets your blood flowing and sharpens both concentration and recall. 2. Food for thought: Eat breakfast. A lot of people skip breakfast, but creativity is often optimal in the early morning and it helps to have some protein in you to feed your brain. A lack of protein can actually cause headaches. 3. Food for thought, part 2: Eat a light lunch. Heavy lunches have a tendency to make people drowsy. While you could turn this to your advantage by taking a "thinking nap" (see #23), most people haven't learned how. 4. Cognitive enhancers: Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo biloba is a natural supplement that has been used in China and other countries for centuries and has been reputed to reverse memory loss in rats. It's also suggested by some health practitioners as a nootrope and thus a memory enhancer.

5. Reduce stress + depresssion. Stress and depression may reduce the ability to recall

information and thus inhibit learning. Sometimes, all you need to reduce depression is more white light and fewer refined foods.

Balance
6. Sleep on it. Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote about in his book Psycho-Cybernetics about a man

who was was paid good money to come up with ideas. He would lock his office door, close the blinds, turn off the lights. He'd focus on the problem at hand, then take a short nap on a couch. When he awoke, he usually had the problem solved. 7. Take a break. Change phyical or mental perspective to lighten the invisible stress that can sometimes occur when you sit in one place too long, focused on learning. Taking a 5-15 minute break every hour during study sessions is more beneficial than non-stop study. It gives your mind time to relax and absorb information. If you want to get really serious with breaks, try a 20 minute ultradian break as part of every 90 minute cycle. This includes a nap break, which is for a different purpose than #23. 8. Take a hike. Changing your perspective often relieves tension, thus freeing your creative mind. Taking a short walk around the neighborhood may help. 9. Change your focus. Sometimes there simply isn't enough time to take a long break. If so, change subject focus. Alternate between technical and non-technical subjects.

Perspective and Focus


10. Change your focus, part 2. There are three primary ways to learn: visual, kinesthetic, and

auditory. If one isn't working for you, try another.


11. Do walking meditation. If you're taking a hike (#25), go one step further and learn

walking meditation as a way to tap into your inner resources and your strengthen your ability to focus. Just make sure you're not walking inadvertently into traffic. 12. Focus and immerse yourself. Focus on whatever you're studying. Don't try to watch TV at the same time or worry yourself about other things. Anxiety does not make for absorption of information and ideas. 13. Turn out the lights. This is a way to focus, if you are not into meditating. Sit in the dark, block out extraneous influences. This is ideal for learning kinesthetically, such as guitar chord changes. 14. Take a bath or shower. Both activities loosen you up, making your mind more receptive to recognizing brilliant ideas.

Recall Techniques
15. Listen to music. Researchers have long shown that certain types of music are a great "key"

for recalling memories. Information learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled simply by "playing" the songs mentally. 16. Speedread. Some people believe that speedreading causes you to miss vital information. The fact remains that efficient speedreading results in filtering out irrelevant information. If necessary, you can always read and re-read at slower speeds. Slow reading actually hinders

the ability to absorb general ideas. (Although technical subjects often requirer slower reading.) If you're reading online, you can try the free Spreeder Web-based application. 17. Use acronyms and other mnemonic devices. Mnemonics are essentially tricks for remembering information. Some tricks are so effective that proper application will let you recall loads of mundane information years later.

Visual Aids
18. Every picture tells a story. Draw or sketch whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

Having a concrete goal in mind helps you progress towards that goal. 19. Brainmap it. Need to plan something? Brain maps, or mind maps, offer a compact way to get both an overview of a project as well as easily add details. With mind maps, you can see the relationships between disparate ideas and they can also act as a receptacle for a brainstorming session. 20. Learn symbolism and semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. Having an understanding of the symbols of a particular discipline aids in learning, and also allows you to record information more efficiently. 21. Use information design. When you record information that has an inherent structure, applying information design helps convey that information more clearly. A great resource is Information Aesthetics, which gives examples of information design and links to their sources. 22. Use visual learning techniques. Try gliffy for structured diagrams. Also see Inspiration.com for an explanation of webs, idea maps, concept maps, and plots. 23. Map your task flow. Learning often requires gaining knowledge in a specific sequence. Organizing your thoughts on what needs to be done is a powerful way to prepare yourself to complete tasks or learn new topics.

Verbal and Auditory Techniques


24. Stimulate ideas. Play rhyming games, utter nonsense words. These loosen you up, making

you more receptive to learning. 25. Brainstorm. This is a time-honored technique that combines verbal activity, writing, and collaboration. (One person can brainstorm, but it's more effective in a group.) It's fruitful if you remember some simple rules: Firstly, don't shut anyone's idea out. Secondly, don't "edit" in progress; just record all ideas first, then dissect them later. Participating in brainstorming helps assess what you already know about something, and what you didn't know. 26. Learn by osmosis. Got an iPod? Record a few of your own podcasts, upload them to your iPod and sleep on it. Literally. Put it under your pillow and playback language lessons or whatever. 27. Cognitive enhancers: binaural beats. Binaural beats involve playing two close frequencies simultaneously to produce alpha, beta, delta, and theta waves, all of which produce either sleeping, restfulness, relaxation, meditativeness, alertness, or concentration. Binaural beats are used in conjunction with other excercises for a type of super-learning. 28. Laugh. Laughing relaxes the body. A relaxed body is more receptive to new ideas.

Kinesthetic Techniques
29. Write, don't type. While typing your notes into the computer is great for posterity, writing

by hand stimulates ideas. The simple act of holding and using a pen or pencil massages acupuncture points in the hand, which in turn stimulates ideas. 30. Carry a quality notebook at all times. Samuel Taylor Coleridge dreamed the words of the poem "In Xanadu (did Kubla Khan)...". Upon awakening, he wrote down what he could recall, but was distracted by a visitor and promptly forgot the rest of the poem. Forever. If you've been doing "walking meditation" or any kind of meditation or productive napping, ideas may suddenly come to you. Record them immediately. 31. Keep a journal. This isn't exactly the same as a notebook. Journaling has to do with tracking experiences over time. If you add in visual details, charts, brainmaps, etc., you have a much more creative way to keep tabs on what you are learning. 32. Organize. Use sticky colored tabs to divide up a notebook or journal. They are a great way to partition ideas for easy referral. 33. Use post-it notes. Post-it notes provide a helpful way to record your thoughts about passages in books without defacing them with ink or pencil marks.

Self-Motivation Techniques
34. Give yourself credit. Ideas are actually a dime a dozen. If you learn to focus your mind on

what results you want to achieve, you'll recognize the good ideas. Your mind will become a filter for them, which will motivate you to learn more. 35. Motivate yourself. Why do you want to learn something? What do want to achieve through learning? If you don't know why you want to learn, then distractions will be far more enticing. 36. Set a goal. W. Clement Stone once said "Whatever the mind of man can conceive, it can achieve." It's an amazing phenomenon in goal achievement. Prepare yourself by whatever means necessary, and hurdles will seem surmountable. Anyone who has experienced this phenomenon understands its validity. 37. Think positive. There's no point in setting learning goals for yourself if you don't have any faith in your ability to learn. 38. Organize, part 2. Learning is only one facet of the average adult's daily life. You need to organize your time and tasks else you might find it difficult to fit time in for learning. Try Neptune for a browser-based application for "getting things done." 39. Every skill is learned. With the exception of bodily functions, every skill in life is learned. Generally speaking, if one person can learn something, so can you. It may take you more effort, but if you've set a believable goal, it's likely an achievable goal. 40. Prepare yourself for learning. Thinking positive isn't sufficient for successfully achieving goals. This is especially important if you are an adult, as you'll probably have many distractions surrounding your daily life. Implement ways to reduce distractions, at least for a few hours at a time, else learning will become a frustrating experience. 41. Prepare yourself, part 2. Human nature is such that not everyone in your life will be a well-wisher in your self-improvement and learning plans. They may intentionally or subconsciously distract you from your goal. If you have classes to attend after work, make

sure that work colleagues know this, that you are unable to work late. Diplomacy works best if you think your boss is intentionally giving you work on the days he/she knows you have to leave. Reschedule lectures to a later time slot if possible/ necessary. 42. Constrain yourself. Most people need structure in their lives. Freedom is sometimes a scary thing. It's like chaos. But even chaos has order within. By constraining yourself say giving yourself deadlines, limiting your time on an idea in some manner, or limiting the tools you are working with you can often accomplish more in less time.

Supplemental Techniques
43. Read as much as you can. How much more obvious can it get? Use Spreeder (#33) if you

have to. Get a breadth of topics as well as depth. 44. Cross-pollinate your interests. Neurons that connect to existing neurons give you new perspectives and abilities to use additional knowledge in new ways. 45. Learn another language. New perspectives give you the ability to cross-pollinate cultural concepts and come up with new ideas. As well, sometimes reading a book in its original language will provide you with insights lost in translation. 46. Learn how to learn. Management Help has a resource page, as does SIAST (Virtual Campus), which links to articles about learning methods. They are geared towards online learning, but no doubt you gain something from them for any type of learning. If you are serious about optimum learning, read Headrush's Crash course in learning theory. 47. Learn what you know and what you don't. Many people might say, "I'm dumb," or "I don't know anything about that." The fact is, many people are wholly unaware of what they already know about a topic. If you want to learn about a topic, you need to determine what you already know, figure out what you don't know, and then learn the latter. 48. Multi-task through background processes. Effective multi-tasking allows you to bootstrap limited time to accomplish several tasks. Learning can be bootstrapped through multi-tasking, too. By effective multitasking, I don't mean doing two or more things at exactly the same time. It's not possible. However, you can achieve the semblance of effective multitasking with the right approach, and by prepping your mind for it. For example, a successful freelance writer learns to manage several articles at the same time. Research the first essay, and then let the background processes of your mind takeover. Move on consciously to the second essay. While researching the second essay, the first one will often "write itself." Be prepared to record it when it "appears" to you. 49. Think holistically. Holistic thinking might be the single most "advanced" learning technique that would help students. But it's a mindset rather than a single technique. 50. Use the right type of repetition. Complex concepts often require revisting in order to be fully absorbed. Sometimes, for some people, it may actually take months or years. Repetition of concepts and theory with various concrete examples improves absorption and speeds up learning. 51. Apply the Quantum Learning (QL) model. The Quantum Learning model is being applied in some US schools and goes beyond typical education methods to engage students. 52. Get necessary tools. There are obviously all kinds of tools for learning. If you are learning online like a growing number of people these days, then consider your online tools. One of the best tools for online research is the Firefox web browser, which has loads of extensions (add-ons) with all manner of useful features. One is Googlepedia, which simultaneously

displays Google search engine listings, when you search for a term, with related entries from Wikipedia. 53. Get necessary tools, part 2. This is a very niche tip, but if you want to learn fast-track methods for building software, read Getting Real from 37 Signals. The Web page version is free. The techniques in the book have been used to create Basecamp, Campfire, and Backpack web applications in a short time frame. Each of these applications support collaboration and organization. 54. Learn critical thinking. As Keegan-Michael Key's character on MadTV might say, critical thinking takes analysis to "a whole notha level". Read Wikipedia's discourse on critical thinking as a starting point. It involves good analytical skills to aid the ability to learn selectively. 55. Learn complex problem solving. For most people, life is a series of problems to be solved. Learning is part of the process. If you have a complex problem, you need to learn the art of complex problem solving. [The latter page has some incredible visual information.]

For Teachers, Tutors, and Parents


56. Be engaging. Lectures are one-sided and often counter-productive. Information merely

heard or witnessed (from a chalkboard for instance) is often forgotten. Teaching is not simply talking. Talking isn't enough. Ask students questions, present scenarios, engage them. 57. Use information pyramids. Learning happens in layers. Build base knowledge upon which you can add advanced concepts. 58. Use video games. Video games get a bad rap because of certain violent games. But video games in general can often be an effective aid to learning. 59. Role play. Younger people often learn better by being part of a learning experience. For example, history is easier to absorb through reenactments. 60. Apply the 80/20 rule. This rule is often interpreted in dfferent ways. In this case, the 80/20 rule means that some concepts, say about 20% of a curriculum, require more effort and time, say about 80%, than others. So be prepared to expand on complex topics. 61. Tell stories. Venus Flytrap, a character from the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, once taught a student gang member about atoms, electrons, and protons by saying that an atom was one big neighborhood, and the protons and neutrons had their own smaller neighborhoods and never mixed. Just like rival gangs. The story worked, and understanding sparked in the students eyes. 62. Go beyond the public school curriculum. The public school system is woefully lacking in teaching advanced learning and brainstorming methods. It's not that the methods cannot be taught; they just aren't. To learn more, you have to pay a premium in additional time and effort, and sometimes money for commercially available learning tools. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but what is taught in schools needs to be expanded. This article's author has proven that a nine-year old can learn (some) university level math, if the learning is approached correctly. 63. Use applied learning. If a high school student were having trouble in math, say with fractions, one example of applied learning might be photography, lenses, f-stops, etc.

Another example is cooking and measurement of ingredients. Tailor the applied learning to the interest of the student.

For Students and Self-Studiers


64. Be engaged. Surprise. Sometimes students are bored because they know more than is being

taught, maybe even more than a teacher. (Hopefully teachers will assess what each student already knows.) Students should discuss with a teacher if they feel that the material being covered is not challenging. Also consider asking for additional materials. 65. Teach yourself. Teachers cannot always change their curricula. If you're not being challenged, challenge yourself. Some countries still apply country-wide exams for all students. If your lecturer didn't cover a topic, you should learn it on your own. Don't wait for someone to teach you. Lectures are most effective when you've pre-introduced yourself to concepts. 66. Collaborate. If studying by yourself isn't working, maybe a study group will help. 67. Do unto others: teach something. The best way to learn something better is to teach it to someone else. It forces you to learn, if you are motivated enough to share your knowledge. 68. Write about it. An effective way to "teach" something is to create an FAQ or a wiki containing everything you know about a topic. Or blog about the topic. Doing so helps you to realize what you know and more importantly what you don't. You don't even have to spend money if you grab a freebie account with Typepad, Wordpress, or Blogger. 69. Learn by experience. Pretty obvious, right? It means put in the necessary time. An expert is often defined as someone who has put in 10,000 hours into some experience or endeavor. That's approximately 5 years of 40 hours per week, every week. Are you an expert without realizing it? If you're not, do you have the dedication to be an expert? 70. Quiz yourself. Testing what you've learned will reinforce the information. Flash cards are one of the best ways, and are not just for kids. 71. Learn the right things first. Learn the basics. Case in point: a frustrating way to learn a new language is to learn grammar and spelling and sentence constructs first. This is not the way a baby learns a language, and there's no reason why an adult or young adult has to start differently, despite "expert" opinion. Try for yourself and see the difference. 72. Plan your learning. If you have a long-term plan to learn something, then to quote Led Zeppelin, "There are two paths you can go by." You can take a haphazard approach to learning, or you can put in a bit of planning and find an optimum path. Plan your time and balance your learning and living.

Parting Advice
73. Persist. Don't give up learning in the face of intimdating tasks. Anything one human being

can learn, most others can as well. Wasn't it Einstein that said, "Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration"? Thomas Edison said it, too. 74. Defy the experts. Dyslexia, in a nutshell, is the affliction of mentally jumbling letters and digits, causing difficulties in reading, writing and thus learning. Sometimes spoken words or numbers get mixed up as well. In the past, "experts" declared dyslexic children stupid. Later, they said they were incapable of learning. This author has interacted with and taught

dyslexic teens. It's possible. Helen Keller had no experience of sight, sound, or speech, and yet she learned. Conclusion: There is more than one way to learn; never believe you cannot. 75. Challenge yourself. People are often more intelligent than they realize. In a world that compartmentalizes and categorizes everything, not everyone is sure where they fit in. And genius can be found in many walks of life. If you honestly suspect that there's more to you than has been "allowed" to be let out, try an IQ test such as the one offered by MENSA. It's unlike the standardized IQ tests given in many schools. You know the kind the ones which traumatize many young students into thinking they are stupid, simply because the tests don't really assess all student's knowledge and learning ability. And the ability to learn is far, far more important than what you already know. 76. Party before an exam. Well, don't go that far. The key is to relax. The worse thing to do is cram the night before an exam. If you don't already know a subject by then, cramming isn't going to help. If you have studied, simply review the topic, then go do something pleasant (no more studying). Doing so tells your brain that you are prepared and that you will be able to recall anything that you have already learned. On the other hand, if you didn't spend the semester learning the ideas you need, you might as well go party anyways because cramming at the last minute isn't going to help much at that point. 77. Don't worry; learn happy. Have a real passion for learning and want to share that? Join a group such as the Joyful Jubilant Learning community [via LifeHack].

Sources For This Article


This is only a partial list of sources, focusing only on Web sites. Many of the ideas presented above come from long years of experience, with information gleaned from dozens of books and tapes on learning and, more recently, Web sites. The Web sites below either present original articles related to the ideas above, or summaries of ideas with links to other Web sites. In the latter case, such Web sites have likely been linked above. Book sources have either been long forgotten or mentioned above.

Headrush. Lifehack. 43Folders. Active learning for the college classroom. Steve Pavlina.

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More Interesting, efficient, and effective ways to study.

As the semester comes to a close, many of us are looking ahead to the dreaded final exams. We have to remember everything from the classes we slept through, read books we never even bought, and somehow convince our bodies that sleep just isnt that important.Or, we could study less, even have a little fun, and still do well on exams, just by tweaking how we study. As Ive mentioned before, most people dont study effectively by sitting and reading notes over and over, until theyre fried in our brains. The human brain doesnt work that way. Its a more complex, disordered, and fun-loving being. Memories of things you do and did, and enjoyed, are always more prevalent to your brain than to that 80-page study guide you wrote for your exam. That said, its relatively easy to tweak your study habits ever so slightly, and make studying more interesting, efficient and effective. There are a ton of ways out there, but Ill give you seven that have worked for me. (These arent all more fun than a barrel of monkeys, but theyre all more interesting than sitting and reading notes over and over.) 1. Repetitive Repetition Take everything youve done in the semester. Notes, homework, papers, etc. Now fit all of that onto one page, front and back. Fill it with the information you really need to know. This will inform how you study, as well as help you look past the pointless details and really get to the heart of the information. This shouldnt be the only studying to do, but its a great place to start, and a way to focus yourself. 2. Play Teacher Find someone who knows nothing about what youre studying for. Then teach them about it. In figuring out how to make someone else understand the material, youll do wonders for your own mastery. Itll stick in your brain better, as well as give you a clearer view of the subject. Run through all the critical course material at warp speed, and youll be amazed how much you learn from hearing yourself talk. 3. Draw I wrote a bit about this in a previous post, but it merits repeating: most peoples brains do not work in a linear fashion. This doesnt work with all subject, but will with many. Draw pictures, or mind maps, or diagrams, or graphs of the material. The repetition associated with putting it together, as well as the visual act, will help you memorize and understand material in a whole new way. It engages the other side of your brain, which is critical to really remembering material. What you draw doesnt matter- just let the artist come out. BLABLA 4. Headphone Osmosis For anyone with an iPod, there are a vast number of resources out there to help you learn, from Sparknotes to videos to podcasts. For a huge list of things you can do with

your iPod to help you learn and study, check out 100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better. 5. Reward Thyself Give yourself something for studying, that isnt just more work to do. When you sit down, decide that if you study hard for 40 minutes, youre going to eat some ice cream. Or, if you study hard for 2 hours, you can go to bed. This helps focus you on the task at hand, keep you from being distracted, and also lets you have some fun in your life. If all you do is study, burnout happens incredibly fast. Balance it with friends, fun, and rest, by rewarding yourself for a job well done. 6. Bingo! Many classes offer key terms for tests, or terms you need to be able to define on the exam. My favorite way to study these is with a group. Make a bingo board for yourself out of the key terms, whatever size you want. Then, have someone read definitions out loud, and you find the term on your bingo sheet when you know who or what it is. Play for money, prizes, bragging rights, whatever- its a fun game, gets you engaged in really knowing the terms, and helps you remember for the test. Prep time on this ones a little long, but its worth it. 7. Fight Pick a friend, and a topic for a class (this one may not work with, say, math). Pick sides, and have a debate with each other. This is great for essays, papers, and any kind of test requiring you to elaborate on one or a few points. Debating, even a side you know is wrong, is an incredible useful skill, and does wonders for your ability to reason through information on a test. If you can argue both sides, you can argue one side much more effectively. Studying works the same way for most people: it consists of reading, reading, reading, and reading. It shouldnt. With these tips, and many more that you can come up with, you can make studying both more fun and more worthwhile. How do you study? Do you have any unconventional methods? Share them with us in the comments. Share and Enjoy: ====================================================================== =======

Effective Way to Learn English


by Siew Ning (Selangor, Puchong, Malaysia) I need your help, Diana! My English is very poor and I need some way to improve my english it. After I found finding this website, I realized that the motivation you mention in here is the same as what my lecturer teacher or instructor has told me before. It doesn't work for me.

So what is the an effective way to learn English? I have taken 2 times of Toefl twice and I just scored only 44 out of 120. I tried to find out what my mistakes were, and I found out i knew that my reading and listening part is weak. However, the speaking part and writing part also are not good as well either. I will be taking the test for a third time but what should I do to improve my English before then? I know that my vocabulary was limited, so when I need to express my ideas, I have no idea how to complete my essay because I dont know the words. My friend has told me before, to read the newspaper everyday and speak out loud when I'm reading. If have I find a difficult word, i need to I should write down the whole sentence from the newspaper and find the meaning of the words. Is it doesn't work Does this work? Maybe i'm I didn't put a lot of effort into improving my English. I have searched in many websites for learning English, i have go going through the website and i have done doing all the exercises but it seems like it does not work for me. I think that watching English movies is more effective to for me. First, I watch with English subtitles and then without subtitles. I use a dictionary when they speak out the say words I dont understand. After that, I found find that i have forget I forget the meaning of the words. The reason is i I knew the meaning but I didnt use it in my essay. So what should I do? My friend asked me to write a daily diary everyday, but I didn't do it. I have no idea how to start it? I need your advice and what is the motivation I should have to improve my English. I appreciate for your willingness to help.

Hi Ning, Several parts of your message trouble me. You said that, The motivation on websites "...doesn't work for me." "Maybe I didn't put a lot of effort into improving my English." "I need your advice and what is the motivation I should have to improve my English."

These quotes frustrate me because it shows me why you are not learning English like you want to. Wanting to learn a language and actually learning it are two different things. I know you want to learn English, but from your message you don't seem willing to do things to better your English.

You did mention that you didn't know where to start and I will try to help you with that, but you need to realize that right now you are stuck in the "want" stage of learning and you need to get into the "doing" stage.

Write down all the reasons you can think of. Your reasons could include travelling, your job, meeting new people etc. Write down your reasons. Now you can see your motivation for learning English. The reasons that you are learning English are your motivation. You are trying methods and activities that don't interest you. Someone tells you to read the newspaper because that works for them. You try doing this but, for you, it's boring. If an activity is boring, it will not help you learn English for very long. Soon you will stop doing it. You need to find something that is interesting for you...like watching movies. You like watching movies...so do that. After each movie you could write a review of that movie to practice your writing and the words that you learnt from that movie. You write very well...about how your English is bad... This is probably because you frequently write about how poor your English is. Imagine if you wrote more about your life, or interesting new things...you would strengthen your writing in all areas. Facts Listen more to improve your listening Write more to improve your writing Read more to improve your reading Speak more to improve your speaking.

So now you have to choose activities that inspire you, that you enjoy and that you will do daily. That is your responsibility. You have to improve your English and do it in the best way possible for you. There is no ONE answer.

You could listen to podcasts on an mp3 player while you go to work or walk or clean your house. You could read articles about topics that interest you but are in English. I like to read about weight loss, travel and actors in Spanish.
Basically what I am telling you is this; 1) You need to find your motivation, the reasons why you are learning English. 2) You need to choose ways to study and use your English that are interesting and fun for YOU. 3) You need to stop wanting to learn English and DO it.

I know you are looking for answers and quick fixes but you really have to find them for yourself. I can give you ideas but I can't force you to use them. I hope this helps you. Please let us know how you are progressing in the future. =================================================== ============================================ Consider giving a donation to help improve the website. You choose how much to give. Just click the "donate" button below

Extra Help! In order to review and learn from your mistakes I invite you to correct your story and post it again as a comment below. This is a simple, easy and fast way to learn from your mistakes. Take 5 minutes and do it. You will notice a difference!

Comments for Effective Way to Learn English


Average Rating Click here to add your own comments
Oct 15, 2011 cant write english properly.

Rating

by: Anonymous In English if I write a essay I find a lots of grammatical mistakes.i cant avoid it even if I learn about that. I cant write English essay very quickly I need a lots of time to complete it, but still I make some mistakes in that and because of this I lose a lot of marks.

May 30, 2011 help me how to improve my skills Rating learning english by: kakuzu hello..I'm one of the person that very interested in learning English..i tried to remember new words every day..unfortunately..its no working for me..sometimes i want give up..then i also try to learn by watching movies with subtitles.but..i forget quickly..so what should i do??try to watch it 2-3 times in a day or what..one more thing..my vocabulary is poor..when ever i do my essay in test..i take long time to remember or arrange my words..i also have problem with my grammar..please help me as soon as possible.. Dec 30, 2009 Rating hi by: nada as i can see we have many things in common .because me too i am facing a lot of troubles in learning english ,such as unable to remember vocabulary especialy when i speak or write i feel like if my mind had been swept so far i have been uncapable to fix it though i have tried many ways but i usually end up with failure nothing work out.

I accustomed to hear others saying that when you love something the most and really intersted in it no doubt you will achieve it soon or later you will what matter is one's belief yeah i do absolutly agree with that in my case i think that i have the ediquate motivation yet still part missing from my puzzle it is how can i put into practice. being shy is one of the obstacles which keeps me away from my goals so that others rude ramarks depress me all the time otherwise i perfer to don't talk in public beside number of snags hope that i will benefit from this website to improve my english despite things are difficult i want give up on my faith Oct 02, 2009 Rating Help me Improve my english by: Anonymous my requirement is that I want to speak english fluently and I have been working on it for 2 months, I am trying to put my most effort on to it. I learn hard and am trying to remember words as much as I can, but when it comes to speaking those words are not coming out automatically. I don't know the reason and the second problem is when someone asks a question I can't answer...it takes some time
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What is Language ? We are tool-using social animals. The most powerful tool known is the one we use to build every other tool: language - spoken or written. But tools can be used with little or no skill to turn out mundane artifacts and garbage. By honing your skills with language you - yes, you - can craft

masterpieces. A study of linguistics can help you acquire such skills, but be warned: the pursuit of linguistic knowledge is highly addictive. ... consider the consequences of adopting, as an understanding of education, the ability to tell rubbish from Reason. Nothing more. Nothing but the power, and the propensity, to discover that a statement is worthless, or a term without meaning, or a proposition absurd. That would also be the power to make statements that are not worthless, and propositions that make demonstrable sense. The Gift of Fire, Richard Mitchell - (The Underground Grammarian) Linguistics is the scientific investigation of language, a means for discovering the mechanisms of language by asking well-formulated questions and seeking answers. The first question to be answered about language is quite a simple one: what is language? A Language is a coding system and a means by which information may be transmitted or shared between two or more communicators for purposes of command, instruction or play. Not every coding system is a fully-featured language like human speech, yet it will have some of the features of all languages. A coding system may be artificial or natural. Computer languages are artificial languages modelled partly on human language. The 'helix of life' - DNA - has many of the hallmarks of a language in the way that it carries codes for the production of the chemicals of life. It even has components which may be called 'words', and it has stop codes which correspond to our written punctuation. In every transmission system there is at least one element of language. An ordinary lighthouse can be thought of in terms of language: it is part of the maritime signalling system and it conveys at least one message. The simplest message is "keep clear!", but other information can be transmitted. Where the height of the light is given on charts it allows a navigator to determine the ship's distance from the coast by use of the dipping range or a sextant. Colour, flashing, or occulting applied to the light can be used to identify the lighthouse by name and by geographical location. Any means by which a signal is communicated, where the signal can be received and acted on as a command, instruction, or element of play qualifies as use of language. A visual, chemical, auditory or mechanical event does not alone count as an instance of language. If the wind causes a tree to tap on your window, it isn't language. But if you see a large plant tapping on your window where there is no breeze - and you have no garden - you may need to read up about triffids. Until about the start of the 20th century, language study was mainly concerned with grammar. Since that time, linguistics has grown many branches, and overlaps with many other disciplines. Grammar still remains a core area of study, with its components of word sounds - phonology, written word 'shapes' - morphology, letter and word sequences - syntax and the meanings behind the words - semantics. Linguistics has had to expand its horizons because there is more to language use than just the spoken or written word. To take part fully in a conversation we need to take advantage of every clue offered as to a speaker's intended meaning. We need to understand the speaker's body language, the speaker's beliefs about what words mean and the speaker's agenda. Absent any of these and a listener may well 'get hold of the wrong end of the stick', which is a really bad idea.

Semiotics: the study of signs. Spoken language is merely the most common form of human language, other forms are possible. An established sign language is a true communal language independant of spoken language - it has its morphemes, words and syntax, and these are not just gestural equivalents of spoken words. But even hearing people supplement spoken language with body movements. Some gestures are conscious and some are subconscious, but alongside the gestures that we all recognise is body language. In order to fully understand someone in conversation, we must understand the gestures and body language of the community. By way of example, in England, an upwards and backwards jerk of the head with a click of the tongue in response to a question is considered rude, and may mean: "What did you say?" or "What a stupid question!". In Iran, it is a socially normal and acceptable gesture, and simply means "no." Hermeneutics: old world knowledge. Hermeneutics deals with the relationship of parts of a text with the whole of a text. We cannot understand the parts, except within the context of the whole text, but we cannot understand the whole text and thus derive its context without knowledge of the parts. By applying various insights we can break out of this hermeneutic circle. For example, in order to find out what Shakespeare meant by a specific word or phrase we can look at contemporary documents to see how the term was used by others in Shakespeare's day. Pragmatics: real world knowledge. Pragmatics deals with common knowledge. Or rather, it deals with language users who have realworld knowledge, wants and needs. When we write or talk, we rarely feel the need to explain all or indeed any of the physical, chemical or biological processes implied by our words. If a child says: "I fell from a tree and hurt my leg." , it is a plausible statement. It is plausible to the hearer because we humans tend to share our experiences, either by word of mouth or by attempted defiance of gravity. Evolution teaches us that learning by word of mouth tends to be more survivable. Unless we are inhumanly antisocial, we take the child's statement of injury as a request for assistance, an expression of a need. There is nothing in the grammar of English that identifies the statement as a request, but we pragmatic humans still manage to understand the intent behind the words. Philosophy: the pursuit of knowledge. A study of philosophy is not essential to a study of linguistics. However, if not pursued to excess it can give insights into how the mind works. Human language may be viewed as a means by which an idea in one mind can be transmitted with minimal distortion into another mind. Philosophy - especially in its historical shifts - is a useful tool for helping to understand how the mind works. Please note: mind, not brain. Psychology: language as behaviour.

The function of the brain as regards language acquisition and use is a major area in its own right: cognitive science. But that must remain a subject for another article. For general linguistic purposes it is enough to learn something about the psychology of how language interfaces with emotion. Rather than make this article overlong by talking about emotions, I shall attempt, by way of demonstrating my point, to stir some up: A Drop In The Ocean A breeze on the ocean, a star in the sky, a sea in slow motion, a shadowing sky. A silence, so moving, a too swifting hour, an all too brief kiss, a single red flower. Two hands, gently parting, two people, one sigh, a too empty harbour, a glistening eye. A drop in the ocean, a ship on the deep, a stifled emotion, a man does not weep.