https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Motivation, Emotion and Keeping a Journal

Spaced repetition is an idea that gets a lot of play here on DuoLingo and it can be helpful but there are other (perhaps faster and easier) ways to retain info. Full disclosure: I am ok with losing some of the vocabulary I 'learn' here. The word for sailboat for example is pretty random for my circumstances. The high frequency words are much less optional because my priority is to create an active vocabulary of meaningful words.

One thing scientists have discovered about cognition is the importance of positive emotion during the learning process. When a person feels bored, the mind decides the info isn't important and so it tends to get trashed quickly. But when a person feels like what they are doing is important or funny or meaningful, the brain is much more likely to hold onto the info. This means that rote learning is really ineffective for most people, even when the repetition is spaced out. Now, if it works for you, that's great: congrats! But in my experience it feels like a waste of time. So I have been playing with using different methods to retain vocabulary.

One thing that seems to be working for me is daily practice using the language. I keep a daily (well that's the aspiration) journal. In it I write using my target language and I write about things I care about. I try to write a page or more a day. I am so thrilled that I can express myself at all. (Thanks Duo!) Every so often I will run across a word that I know Duo has introduced me to and if I don't remember it and need to look it up my mind seems to pick up on its importance. Because that very rarely happens twice with the same word.

Writing is a slow process compared to speech so I get plenty of time to really think through how to express an idea and what words are available. Over time, my thoughts have become more complex and the words come more easily. (Again, thanks Duo!) My first attempts looked very much like something a kinder-kid would write. And that was just fine!

So if you are feeling a bit discouraged and overwhelmed and need a boost, consider trying this technique out. I've found it really motivational. I'd love to hear about your experience if you do try it.

May 20, 2019

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Moira582602

I have been keeping a daily diary of what I do in the language I'm learning for sometime now. I get a native speaker to go over it with me so that I'm not compounding mistakes. It is a great idea to actually use your language in a real situation. I also have a notebook where I keep a note (in colour - 'cause I'm dyslexic) of vocabulary - by subject & verbs etc. I means that the language is going in. I also watch some simple TV in my la gauge on-line. That helps too.

May 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Oh! I really like the colour coding idea. Thanks.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/x22Amy

Great Idea! Most posts here are complaints about being unmotivated and discouraged, so I'm glad you are able to find a way around that on your own! I love to write and think I will start doing that as well. The best way to stay motivated is to have fun and do what you love! Thanks for the idea :)

May 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Sure. If you have any ideas I hope you will share too. I do want to stay positive.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Songve

Excellent discussion. I intend to try this out.

May 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Hope it helps! When I first started doing it my 'compositions' were pretty silly but it has been motivational to see how much they are improving over time. It is a way to visually see progress.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Little_Tatws

This is a great idea! I can't stand to sit and write page after page, but I do love bullet journaling. I think I'll start doing that in whatever target language I want and maybe can write quick sentences that sum up my day.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Now THAT is a brilliant idea. And what I like about it is the idea that the words you would use would definitely be ones important to your life.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pepsicola27

WOW awesome idea thank you :)

May 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

=)

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CristinaSc920634

Thanks for being the best post I found! Have some lingots!

May 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

hahaha Thanks!

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PhxBob

Super! Thank you.

May 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Thanks for the reply!

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zephyrhyena

i write in a notebook the words i learn, their proper translations/other translations, and how to pronounce it if i've had trouble with it, and it's a lot easier to go back and practice than on duolingo, because i can just make up sentences or even entire conversations in my head, so duolingo should just be more introductory to a language than your permanent language learning means

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

I use my notebook in the same way. It's REALLY helpful.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FafaliTsis

I agree, that's also based on psychology. I should start to have a language diary.

July 25, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lotus_Fae

Wow thank you for sharing this! I am an inspiring writer and also a tarot card reader. I used a journal to heighten my intuition and by practicing while using the cards. I didn't think to use it for my language learning. I'll definitely give it a try!

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

What a super idea! I can see how the images could really inspire descriptive language use. And also how a person could use multiple tenses. I am going to try this on those days when I feel like I don't have much to say. What tarot deck do you use?

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Afina-

I think the idea is great! So far I sometimes write short and basic whats app messages in romanian but it makes me happy if my message is not only understood but correct (and corrected) as well. Will definitely try it out more, not long stories at the begining but the grocery list, little notes, more short messages and emails, etc. I don't like writing a journal or diary but there are so many other things one can write. Labeling your stuff might also help ^^ For me it's also very helpful to write (the vocabs) by hand, with a real pen on actual paper :D

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

The grocery list! What a great idea. I'm going to do that from now on. Thanks.

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FafaliTsis

I think that this is a excellebt ifea so learners can have a journal to understand a new language

May 21, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iFail

One thing scientists have discovered about cognition is the importance of positive emotion during the learning process. When a person feels bored, the mind decides the info isn't important and so it tends to get trashed quickly. But when a person feels like what they are doing is important or funny or meaningful, the brain is much more likely to hold onto the info. This means that rote learning is really ineffective for most people, even when the repetition is spaced out. Now, if it works for you, that's great: congrats! But in my experience it feels like a waste of time. So I have been playing with using different methods to retain vocabulary.

Try to tell that to traditional education, what traditional education seems to be best at is ignoring the endless stack of evidence of how terribly ineffective and unhealthy it is. Because tradition, those who came before "totally had a good reason to do it that way" *rolls eyes*.

May 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Yes, so true. That is what sets some of the alternative systems like the Montessori schools apart from the rest. Learning something new should be a joyful experience. Think of when a child takes its first step and how everyone celebrates. That is what a learning experience should look and feel like.

May 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaisyRose2

I have a limited knowledge of the language I'm learning still, (Spanish) but last night I decided to write down in my food diary what I ate in Spanish! I actually struggled, and it took me about 10-15 mins to write a few sentences, but I think it'll help me pick it up quicker. :)

May 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Right on! And when you get faster you can look back to see how far you've come.

May 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanFarber1

Danke

May 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ajon-joli

Thanks for the reply. =)

May 22, 2019
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