Monday, 10 October 2016

Don’t Let your Foreign Language Skills Get Rusty - Get Organised

Your office, early morning:

‘I have been trying to call them but looks like they don’t speak the language. It’s urgent. Can you help?’

You blink, gulp nervously and ask yourself, ‘Can I?’

If you build in practising your foreign language into your daily routine, it does not get rusty and you do not ask. You just get up and go for it when an opportunity to use this language comes up. Even if your throat is a bit dry, butterflies in your stomach.

Habit

The best way to keep your foreign language skills in shape is to build the language practice into your daily or at least weekly routine. You won’t skip brushing your teeth in the morning ‘cos it would just feel wrong, wouldn’t it? Make language practice a habit too.

Sustainability

The more time you spend practising the better of course but you don’t have to practise for hours each time, especially if you actually don’t have all this time. It might work at first but you will inevitably give it up as other priorities will take over or you will just get tired of making too much effort. So, making it bite-sized is more sustainable. After all, slow progress is better than none.

Quality over Quantity

It’s better to allocate half an hour to your language practice at a time than a whole afternoon. Limited time frame will make you more focused and resistant to distractions. And you can always have more than one thirty minutes slots at a time if you can afford it / feel like it.

Planning

To make the most of the limited time you have for language practice, you need to plan it carefully and make sure you practise all four language skills even if not in equal measure. Allocating proper time slots for tasks will help you avoid situations when you have started an hour’s task for which you have just fifteen minutes available. Consider timing and tools when planning too.

Timing

Timing is part of planning your language practice. Friday night after a busy week at the office is probably not the best time for doing an assessment for an online course you are registered for. Do some easy reading instead or just watch a funny movie. While commuting to work in the morning by train, you are probably too sleepy to digest anything in the form of letters, so why not listening to a podcast instead? And podcasts are god sent if you drive.

Tools

Tools are another part of planning. With smartphones and other portable devices it’s actually really easy now to have a tool you need always at hand. And with apps and mobile-friendly websites you can log on anywhere, anytime. But still you need to make sure the device is charged, the proper software is installed and you haven’t forgotten your earphones to listen to podcasts for example.

PA

Getting organised by building habits, taking it in bite sizes to keep focused and make it sustainable, planning your practice to time it right and have proper tools at hand, all of it is at the core of Memoriser - your personal vocabulary learning assistant.

Once you have sent the vocBlocks with the vocabulary you would like to practise to Memoriser, it will start sending you email notifications prompting you to practise regularly, helping you to build this language learning habit.

Memoriser sessions are bite sized, just a couple of minutes per session. And you can run more than one session at a time if you are stuck in traffic for a while or happen to wait for your doctor’s appointment longer than usual. So, it's easier to allocate more or less time depending on the circumstances.

Memoriser sends you email notifications daily but if you are planning to practise, say, every other day at 1 pm during your lunchtime, you can make changes in the settings to time the emails precisely to match your practice time.

As vocBlocks is a mobile friendly website, you will have this vocabulary practice tool always at hand. Just make sure your portable device is charged, you have connection and can go online. Happy organising!

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