Things are very, very quiet on the Internet at the moment, probably due to the good/bad weather.
There’s a heatwave in Europe, with temperatures expected to hit 40 degrees Celsius in some places, though ‘only’ 36-37 where we are in Bologna.
Did you know Celsius was a Swedish scientist? Neither did I.
But anyway, this week I’m going to take it easy, while trying to stay cool.
Also because next week will be busy, what with our Summer Sale and so on. I’ll be mailing each day and we expect to sell lots of online Italian lessons and ebooks. At a great discount, of course!
But that’s July. We still have a week left of June. So, while attempting to stay cool in this first full week of summer, I thought I’d take the chance to have a bit of a re-think regarding my own language-learning.
The start of a new season is a good time for this.
Winter’s coming, so long dark evenings and more time to study! Autumn and spring – we’ll be busy at the school so it’ll be harder to squeeze in online lessons.
Well, summer means weekends at the beach, which is great. But disruptive when it comes to the usual study routine. There’s more work to do on Fridays, before going away. And lots to catch up on on Mondays, once we’re back.
E poi, the annual holiday. Sigh. As every year, we’ll be taking the kids to see their grandparents in Britain. I’ll still be working, despite being on holiday. Just less so, and less effectively.
But July and August are two whole months!
It’s a long time to be making no progress with my studies. But I need to take account of the fact that it’ll be hot, the house will be full of kids, then we’ll be away, and so on.
So here’s the plan:
1.) I’ll be continuing my weekly online lessons as far as possible (one each for Swedish and Turkish), though anticpating breaks for holidays etc. So a less frenetic pace than usual. The goal will be to ‘maintain’, rather than ‘build’. Come September, I’ll think about upping the frequency and pushing ahead.
2.) With fewer late evenings and no classes to teach at weekends, I hope to have more time for reading. This year I’ve been happy with my progress reading in Swedish and French, though unhappy that reading in Turkish is so hard. So I’ll be continuing what I’ve started (Le Monde, SVT) and trying to get more exposure to texts in Turkish. Tintin, to start with, then I’ll be looking around for other ‘easy’ materials to try and get the reading habit rooted!
3.) Not to forget listening. Again, I’ve been pleased at being able to develop the habit of listening to the radio in Swedish (most mornings) and Turkish (at weekends). I’d like to expand that to podcasts and TV, so I’m currently experimenting with smartphone apps. Time, as always, is the enemy, but if I can’t find time to listen in the summer, when work is quiet, then there’s no hope!
4.) And what about actual, formal study? Well, I bought the B1 Swedish course book and exercise book back in late 2018, but have barely opened either one. I should…
But no. I’ve made that mistake in previous years! When it’s hot, when the normal routine is disrupted, it’s not going to be easy to regularly sit down with my books. So ‘proper’ studying can wait until September.
5.) Last but not least – testing and target-setting. It’s been a while since I attempted to evaluate my progress in, say, Swedish. If I have an odd moment, I could have a go at some online level tests, and/or self-evaluate my level using sample exam material, which personally I think is a better option (online level tests tend not to be very good…)
And, having established approximately where I’m at with the languages that I’m learning, I can then set new targets for 2019-2020, that’s to say for the next school year, from September to June.
Summer 2019: maintain, consolidate, experiment a little, evaluate progress made – or not made, reflect on desirable goals for the coming year.
Sounds like a plan!
N.b. It’s always useful to look back a year, as well. Twelve months ago I hadn’t even considered taking the A2 Swedish exam (which I passed in September 2018) and was just beginning to take up Turkish again (which lead to our fantastic recent holiday in Istanbul!)
I’d estimate I’m a level better in each of those languages. ‘One level each year’ is a typical and reasonable goal for a part-time student.
But you do have to engage with the language in order to make that progress. And frankly? Most people don’t.
The typical excuses are ‘Don’t have time’ and ‘Can’t afford it’. Personally I don’t believe that anyone has no time whatsoever.
Cut out TV, spend less time on Facebook, download podcasts to listen to on your commute, read in Italian instead of your mother-tongue, there are a thousand ways to find time for language-learning.
Ditto for the money excuse. There are so many things you can do to improve your Italian that don’t cost a cent.
But if you DO decide to take online lessons or similar (and you should), the annual cost of a weekly thirty-minute lesson is less than the price of a high-end smartphone (50 half-hour lessons, £12 each with the Summer Sale discount = £600).
Bene. I’ll be back on the theme of online lessons next week, when the Summer Sale starts.
For now, though, why not resolve to take some time over the summer to experiment with a few of these FREE options for improving your Italian?
- radio apps on your smartphone or tablet
- TV apps on your smartphone or tablet
- news apps on your smartphone or tablet
- self testing (level tests, exam sample papers)
- websites, including OnlineItalianClub.com, which has masses of free materials!
- EasyItalianNews.com (if you haven’t already, subscribe here for 3 FREE bulletins each week!)
Get into the habit of doing just one or two of these things regularly (that’s the hard part…) and you will notice the difference a year from now.