How to Avoid Time wasters while learning a foreign language.... (or anything!)

None of us like to waste time - we fast forward through commercials, and hit SKIP as soon as we can on YouTube videos. If you'd rather hear me rant about this topic via video, you can find me on Seriously Suzanne.

Wasting time is SUPER easy to do when learning ANYthing, not just a new language. What are the main time wasters to avoid?

1) BREAK IT DOWN: Do not waste time looking at the WHOLE project. Before you sit down to learn or teach anything, break the lesson down into 20 minute slots, tasks, or bits of information. For Spanish, that means take any vocabulary list and break it down to just five or six words. No more. Once you've made those flashcards, study THOSE five or six, then stand up, turn around, and tackle the next five. DO NOT try and memorize the entire list at once. It'll just end up in short term memory.

2) NOISE: Avoid the noise. If you are in a physically loud place, it's unlikely that much learning will happen. Don't waste time by trying to learn in that

environment. Do anything else, wait for the noise to pass, or find a way to be quiet before jumping into a less. If you are in a mentally loud place (lots of worries, heart ache, wounding, concern for others, or a big project or change on the horizon) then get THAT part sorted before attempting to teach or learn. We can compartmentalize to an extent, but again, the learning will likely just go into short term memory... NOT TRULY learning.

3) DO IT AGAIN: Meaning, don't skip the repeats. We often see a word we've seen before, or a story or a song, and we don't want to "waste time" by repeating it. DO IT AGAIN. Don't skip the review. Review the word does MANY things. It build confidence, helps to deepen the memory and makes our recall that much faster.  This improves the strength in the memory and the actual synapse, creating quick wit, better communication skills, and even more interpersonal comprehension. DO the repeats. Don't worry about the boredom. Boredom is not the enemy. In this area, trying to "save time" will actually create more work in the long run.

4) SKIP the HARD WORDS... Meaning, there are words you may never use in English. If you have NEVER discussed asthma with your children, perhaps cross it off their Spanish vocabulary list. I recently saw a video of an online class (not mine) teaching a young child, maybe 6 years old, the difference between the words allergies and asthma in Spanish. The teacher was fluent and engaging, and the child was repeating dutifully. One of my own students wandered by and said: what's asthma? I get that it's different than allergies. But what is it, anyway? My young student could understand the video, and heard el asma y la alergia, but didn't know what that actually was in her first language!

So... that likely means the other 8 year old, in the video, would not be likely to use that term in her day to day life... making it a virtual waste of time. - It's not COMPLETELY a waste of time - listening and repeating has its value no matter what the word is. But spend time on the most common words, not the far reaching. Make it USEFUL.

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