What’s the secret to making learning easy? How are there people in the world who learn a language fluently every year? With so many exams, deadlines and meetings to attend to throughout the education system and beyond, it’s useful to find out how the top people are doing it. To be able to emulate their methods of learning should make the process of learning that little bit easier.
Lydia Machova, a polyglot, split up the learning of a language into four key stages. The first being the biggest. That is to enjoy learning. Enjoyment in what you do is key to being a success in it. She spoke about how she found learning key terms from a textbook too boring to do but found techniques which worked for her without consciously realising. Different polyglots have different techniques they prefer to use and implement. The same concept can be used with students at school.
It can be considered unfortunate that we’re all sat in a classroom and taught through the same method to learn information we don’t always need. But it’s what you do with that information which is crucial to your success. You need to find ways to mould the content to be able to enjoy it. Some polyglots enjoyed starting random skype conversations with people in the language they enjoyed learning. I’m not suggesting you start making random friends (check with an adult first). Other polyglots will go and learn the 500 most commonly used words in the language in a very short space of time.
For school students, a very good idea is to go through the specification and do some reading on each topic before you get taught it school. Find the content being applied to everyday life. Discover some cool facts they might not necessarily teach you at school. You might be thinking you don’t have the luxury of such time. Machova’s second and third stages to learning were to have Methods and a System in place. That is, to get into a routine. Insert habits in your day where you’re learning.
Polyglots might like to listen to podcasts on the way to and from work in the language they’re learning. Enjoy watching TV in different languages. You, as a student, can do the same too. GCSEPod for GCSE is good at consolidating knowledge. Try various YouTubers for both GCSE and A Level. Always review your work. Skip on ten minutes of your hour of social media during the day to review the notes you’ve made over the week. Spaced repetition is a revision tool which is more powerful than any other passive revision technique which you may be using.
Finally, Machova’s last stage is Patience. I can advocate this one! Good grades don’t come easy but with a little bit of hard work daily, and patience, you’ll get to where you’d like to be. To be able to become fluent in a language doesn’t happen overnight. It requires you to do a little every day. Remember the whole journey will require dedication and patience. The first 50% of the journey may be easier than the next 50%. It’s usually easier to move up from a C to a B grade than it is to move up from a B to an A grade. The long haulers will get to the end of the journey. Stick through and you’ll be learning a language fluently every year.
Enjoy the learning process, implement a methodology to your daily routine and know that patience is a virtue.