Lesson Transcript

Hey everyone, welcome to the Monthly Review!
The monthly show on language learning.
Where you discover new learning strategies, motivational tips, study tools, and resources.
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Okay, today’s topic is:
The Power of Specificity and Knowing What You Want
If you don’t know exactly what you want from the language you’re learning… then chances are, you might fail. Sounds harsh but it’s true. In fact, not being specific with what you want is the #1 mistake beginner language learners make. And that’s why today, you’ll discover:
How being specific transforms you into a better language learner
How to change your learning approach and speed up your progress
How to apply these tactics with our learning system, and much more
But first, if you’re looking for new, free language resources and downloads… Here are this month’s new lessons and resources. Be sure to download these now before we take them down in a few days.
First — The “having a party” PDF cheat sheet.
With this cheat sheet, you'll learn words and phrases like "would you like a drink?" "guest," "dessert," and more.
And Second — the Summer Season Writing Workbook
With this printable PDF, you'll learn all the must-know summer words and phrases. And, you'll be able to practice writing the phrases out as well.
To get your free resources, click the link in the description below right now. They’re yours to keep forever.
And here are this month’s updates for our language learning system.
Learning Pathways now include..
…a journey widget, which shows your overall language learning progress
… the next item widget … which shows you the next lesson to take
…and your overall grade for the pathway
Just access one of your learning pathways on your dashboard to see these changes for yourself.
And there’s also the brand new Help Center…
…to help answer and resolve any issues that you might have. Just click on Help Center and FAQ down in the footer menu of the site.
The Power of Specificity and Knowing What You Want
Part one: The Power of Specificity
Think back for a second…
Was there something you really wanted to buy when you were a kid? That you had to save up for? Maybe a game or a toy?
Chances are, you eventually got it…
…And the main reason you were able to get it… is because you knew exactly how much you needed to save, and it was a matter of time until you saved up for it.
So, what does this have to do with learning a language?
Well, because you had a specific price to aim for… you were being specific about what you wanted…
… this kind of specificity is a powerful way to reach almost any goal.
…including learning a language.
How exactly?
For example, think about the kind of New Year's Resolutions that people set every January. Resolutions like “I want to learn a language” or “I want to become fluent.” These goals tend to be very vague and unrealistic, right? And these same people quit 1 week into January.
But it's much easier… and faster… to reach more specific goals.
Goals like… speak for 3 minutes in your target language…. or learn 100 words in a month.
Why? That’s because you define the progress; you know exactly what you are looking for. 3 minutes, 100 words.
Kind of like the price of that one thing you really wanted as a child.
So, having that specific number in mind is crucial… and you’ll always think about it; you’ll always know how far off you are and when you’ll hit it… whereas “becoming fluent someday”... well, what does that even mean? And how would you even know you reached it? It’s hard to be obsessed with a goal when there’s no specific point to aim for.
So, without a specific number, you’ll never know what you’re aiming for.
And this brings us to the second point…
Part 2. The Power of Knowing What You Want
Do you know what you want from the language?
Think about that for a second.
You might be tempted to say, “Yes, I just want to speak and understand everything,” but you’re still being vague, which is the #1 sign of not knowing what you want.
And the truth is, most beginners don't know what they want from the language either, aside from some vague goals. They’ll get a textbook, download an app, and watch YouTube videos…just passively take things in…
…but their progress will be slow. They’re not looking for anything specific… so nothing really sticks except for a few words.
But let's say you wanted to know how to introduce yourself in that target language… so you know what you want…
…and then it's just a matter of mastering all the phrases for introductions. You will learn it fairly fast.
Same thing if you want to be able to talk about your family…
Same thing if you want to master a specific grammar point that you still don’t quite get.
And once you’ve mastered this specific piece, you can go on to the next one… and you end up mastering more and more of your target language… all because you’re being specific and know what you want.
Now, all of this sounds simple, but it's not a beginner tactic.
It's something that comes to you with time and experience.
As mentioned, most beginners don't know what they want and rely on their apps and textbooks to guide them instead. That's just how we all learn as beginners. We don't know enough to start asking questions.
But there are ways you can start being specific and intentional about your approach.
Again, one of the best ways to make progress in your target language… Is to define what that progress is… and be super specific about it.
For example, learning 100 words in a month, speaking 3 minutes in your target language, or mastering a specific grammar point so you can use it freely in conversation.
And the reason for that is… because you have a specific goal or number, and you know exactly what to look for… whether it's reaching 100 words or 3 minutes.
And without a specific number, you’ll never know what you’re aiming for.
So, if you want to get a bit more specific with your learning, here are a few things you can do.
Part 3 How to Apply These Tactics
One: Set small measurable monthly goals.
For example, learn 100 words in 1 month. Finish 30 lessons inside of our learning pathway in 1 month. Send 1 message a day to your Premium PLUS teacher.
All of these are specific.
Two: Ask questions and note down specific points you don’t quite get.
The fact is… you’ll always come across words or grammar patterns that you don’t quite get.
So, note them down and ask questions whenever possible.
This will help you come up with specific items you’d want to tackle or master within the language.
You can always ask us in the comments section of the lessons or your Premium PLUS teacher if you’re a Premium PLUS member.
Three: Similar to number 2, if you’re learning with an actual teacher, always prepare a question to ask, even if you can’t think of a good one.
This puts you in the habit of being proactive and looking for specific points you want to learn, clarify, or practice.
Otherwise, it’s like coming to class, taking notes, and leaving… and then forgetting it all later.
Four: Take time to think… what you’d like to accomplish specifically with the language.
For example, if you’re learning for a specific reason, like travel… then you give yourself specific goals like… learn how to ask about prices or ask for directions…
It doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, the smaller and more specific it is, the better.
And this 4th point is something you’ll need to do often… stopping to think about what you want to be able to do with the language… coming up with these specific goals for yourself…
This is what separates experienced learners from the beginners.
And Five: Look for lessons that cover the topics you want to talk about inside our lesson library.
For example, our survival phrases lessons cover travel, and by the way, this entire course is free for all users.
Our top 25 questions lessons cover the most common questions for conversations.
And the 400 Activities lessons teach you to talk about your daily routines.
So, back to you. Do you know what you want out of the language now? Leave us a comment.
So, thank you for watching this episode of Monthly Review
How to Integrate Self-Study &Learning with a Teacher and Learn Faster
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See you next time! Bye!