About Language Acquisition
We talk about a lot of different things here on the blog, and I don't want you to get lost in the terms. Here are some basics so you can pop right into the conversation.
Get Familiar With the Terms
Task Based Learning
A type of curriculum that uses specific tasks to teach you language. Instead of memorizing vocabulary, learning grammar structure, and doing practice exercises, learners are given vocabulary needed for a task and asked to complete a finished project using what they know, resources available to them, their strengths, other students or native speakers around them, etc.
Learner Centered Learning
Most language learning material starts at a basic level and gradually teaches you more advanced stuff. The problem with that is, what is basic? I guess it depends on what you want to use the language for. If you're learning it to open a business in the country where its spoken, you'll use an entirely different vocabulary than if you're learning it with your family at home, just to celebrate your heritage and do something good for the brain. Learner-Centered Language Education decides what to learn in what order based entirely on the personal wants and goals of the learner.
Autonomous learning is a superpower; one that TraveLingo strives to train you to use. We all have the ability, but not all of us have been given the tools to hone and sharpen it. Basically it describes a learner who knows what they want to learn, knows which resources they have, is able to create a learning plan, whether concrete or imagined, change course according to needs, be creative in finding ways to apply the knowledge learned, and in other words take charge of their learning experience. Someone who knows how to effectively learn can do anything they set their mind to! And you don't have to have an above average IQ to do it.
This is a term invented by yours truly. If you are studying the language of a country in which you do not live, psuedoimmersion is the act of bringing that language into your daily life as much as possible, creating a fake immersive environment that's personal to you. You're welcome!
Other Things You Should Know
Habits are extremely powerful in shaping our lives. A lot of the decisions we make every day are ran by our habits. Learning is no different. Here on this blog, you will find habits that you can learn, train yourself to adopt and subsequently kick up your language learning success significantly. For more help with this, buy the 30 Day Habit Journal that I teamed up with Worthy Tweaks to create. It's designed specifically for language learners, you'll love it.
Half of our success when it comes to learning a new language will depend on our attitude towards it. It's hard to believe, but sometimes our own pre-existing views toward the culture or the learning situation can hold our own selves back from success. For example: Your boyfriend is Puerto Rican and always speaks Spanish when his friends or family members come over. You are trying to learn Spanish but you don't know very much yet, and this always makes you feel left out, especially when they make jokes or seem like they're having a good time. Your attitude keeps you from jumping in and trying out what you know, which has you actually learn the language for yourself and successfully participate in a social interaction, even if it ends in an embarrassing moment. Most of successful language learning is not a matter of having a knack for it, but our attitude and our courage to try something and fail at it.
Here's something about the way our brain works. It's designed to find patterns and solve puzzles. We like to make meaning out of things: events, phrases, other people's actions, life in general. The more you understand this and use it as a tool, the more successful you will be in your studies. How do you do this? Well, digest language that's slightly above your level. Try things you don't know how to do. Go into new material with the intention of noticing patterns and trying to guess what they mean. This is especially handy for grammar. Using this fuzzy thinking - making the meanings up for yourself instead of being taught them, having memorized them, and trying to reproduce them correctly - will make all the difference.