You’ve probably heard it many times before, “find a study method/style that works for you”. You read it then you scratch your head all confused and stuff because you don’t know what methods there are or what would work best for you. Welcome to the club! Well, while wondering through Youtube and Tumblr, I found a really helpful resource for helping you choose a method that will work the best for the way you learn.
When in school or academic institution, your language learning curriculum is planned and structured for you. You simply have to follow the lesson plan and complete the work. However, it is MUCH harder when you’re studying by yourself! The fate of your language study is entirely in your own hands, from the materials you choose to the time of day you choose to study. There is so much you have to decide by yourself! With all that responsibility and all that power, it can be overwhelming. But the best way to begin is to figure out which method that is compatible with the way you learn and think. Once you have that, you can choose materials and everything else around it.
Exercise For Finding Your Study Style
So let’s get started! To figure out your language learning style, I’m going to give you a quick exercise. I’m going to give you a random vocabulary word from a random language. You don’t need to know the language prior to this exercise (in fact, it’s better that you don’t), all you need to do is look at the vocabulary word, read it, and answer the question I give! Cool? Great! Let’s get started!
Tuntea paremmin – to feel better (Finnish)
Question: What would you do first to learn how to use this word?
A. Look for a clear written or spoken explanation of how to use the word with short examples
B. Listen to and observe the word in a normal and natural conversation so I can get a feel for its meaning and how it’s used.
Which one did you choose? Well, let’s talk about what they mean.
If you chose A, then you have a more systemic and analytical approach to language learning. You prefer things explained to you beforehand in a clear and methodical way, then you apply that knowledge by practicing that word by speaking, listening and writing. This is a very common and basic pedagogical method used by many language learning institutions, programs and apps.
If the analytical method is your preferred method, then you will find yourself greatly rewarded for having highly structured and organized language learning. You must organize EVERYTHING in your language learning process including: the time of day you study, the materials you use, how long you study vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation each day, how many days a week you study, the exercises you will do everyday to help you practice your new vocabulary, how many words per-day you will study, how many hours a day you will study, how you will practice speaking, how you will practice listening and also writing. Every day, week and month of your studying must be planned ahead, or else your language studying will suffer and may have trouble remembering what you learn.
If you chose B, you are like me and are a more intuitive learner. Yay!!! Pat yourself on the back, because your style is unorthodox and different, and now I feel less lonely because I’m not the only one! If this is your language learning style, you prefer to learn through observation and listening. You are better at using your intuition to figure out the meaning and the feeling of grammar and vocabulary rather then having everything laid out for you. You have pretty strong intuition and are able to simply observe phenomenon and determine the general meaning and usage of vocab and grammar by immersing yourself and listening. You will thrive on a tad less structure and a LOT of immersion. Your studying will be a great deal less methodical and will be based on material that will immerse you in the language first then explain the concepts. You will thrive by choosing one or two exercises per week to study (unlike the analytical style which requires different small ones everyday), like using a movie, tv show, video game or even a Youtube video to study for that week. This will especially work, if you immerse yourself completely with no English subtitles unless you really really need them.
You can say this style is experiential, but essentially this style is highly effective because you begin to feel the language rather than just know the exact and precise bullet point explanations.
If the intuitive style is definitely your style, then you should try these resources: then, these manuals are best suited for you: the Assimil Language Series, the Linguaphone Series, the Cortina Methods, Pimsleur Series, Fluent U, Yabla Language, Viki
Thank you for reading! Hope it was somewhat helpful for you! So, what style are you? Do you have anymore material suggestions?