The best advice ever
I have just been reading an article about music education and i came across the best advice ever from an old music teach but which could apply equally as well for language students.
if you practice every day you WILL improve
'The harder you work, the luckier you get' is one of my favorite quotes. It's usually attributed to Gary Player.
Nice story on practicing makes perfect
The ceramics teacher announced that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality.
His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.
Well, grading time came and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity!
It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work — and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat around theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
I love this example. It had as surprise ending. Who would have thought quantity would win out in the end? I experience this all of the time with sewing projects. The more I repeat the same item, the better it gets...plus, learning tips and tricks to improve the end result. This is worth a Lingot. I am going to copy this story and give it to all of the grand kids. Gracias!
That's fantastic. Genius, in fact.
Actually ironic given that he was an academic. He couldn't possibly have learned that in a textbook. Thanks for that story.
Yes, that is true! That can be aplied on many levels, academics, sports, etc. :)
Second-best advice from a music teacher: start from the end. Everybody starts performing a piece of music brilliantly (because the beginning has been practiced innumerable times), but people remember the weak finish. I think Assimil uses the technique in language learning - start repeating the end of the sentence first, then add whatever comes immediately before it, and so on. Even if you're not hoping for rave reviews of your sentence performance, it builds confidence to know that you are going to be able to get to the end without losing your way.
To me this is not so much about the effect of practice as that of persistence.
Sometimes language learning is fun, rewarding, and even exciting. But let's be honest. Sometimes it isn't. If you are going to master a language, though, you have to keep going, even when it isn't fun.
It's why I really like the streak feature. I'll admit to days when I do not feel like coming here, but I do it to keep my streak alive and I usually end up learning something. :)
In Swedish, we are a little more humble, it just makes us proficient: Övning ger färdighet.
Trust Swedish to have a "lagom" version; after all, becoming a master would be a clear breach of Jantelagen ;-).
I'm quite fond of the alternative German formulation that Duolingo taught me: "Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen". This is what I tend to mutter philosophically to myself while reattaching my skis and scooping the snow out of my underwear...
Practice makes the master? (Can't remember what language that's from - does anybody know?)
Повторение мать учения. My first Russian teacher made sure we learned this. (Repetition is the mother of learning.)
Wow, this is fantastic! As I plan on going on in music as a career (I'm a violinist) this is applicable to me in many ways. :) Would you be able to give a link to the article?
I think just practicing mindlessly won't get you far, but good practice or perfect practice will... so maybe "If you practice well every day, you WILL improve"?
Who said anything about practicing mindlessly. Can you read a book about playing the piano and immediately you're dashing off a Chopin sonata? Of course not, you practice scales, chords and start with simple tunes and with practice you build up your expertise.
I was talking about just practicing is not enough, and good practicing is where you would get to places. I am actually a music student in college, and as far as I have heard, all the music teacher never tell their students to just practice, they tell them to practice well and carefully so they do not build any bad techniques.
Learning by your mistake is not always the best way to go. It might work for learning something as a hobby, but for most professional settings, even if you learn by mistakes, there might not be a next time.
There's a guy who developed a system using songs to train your ear. He breaks the language down to syllables, and you master the syllables and sing along in perfect pronunciation. That makes the connection in your neural pathways, and suddenly the melodic running together of words make sense. It improves your ability to comprehend the rapid speech of a native speaker, and hones your own pronunciation.
I have some advice of my own for Duolingo, though. I read it on one of these discussion boards, and it's the best advice I ever got.
When you get up above 50% fluency in Duo, you probably find that you spen 90% of your time translating the foreign language into to your own. And you see the same sentences over and over and over again. You find your self needing more reverse translations (your native into the new language). At some point reading to foreign senteces becomes repetitious, and too easy.
The trick at that point is to create a new profile, and get the reverse language tree. In my case, I'm a native English speaker, and was learning Spanish. I was at level 23, 52% fluent and had over 2,700 words. But progress had become slow and monotonous. And I kept making the same stupid mistakes (most of them typos).
So I created a new profile, and downloaded the learn English as a native Spanish speaker. Obviously, I already know English, and an not a native Spanish speaker, but I rifled through the tree, and my Spanish comprehension catapulted to full fluency.
Starting from the Basic the translations become more and more difficult, but in a systematic way. But more importantly (or as importantly, anyway) there is a ton of new vocabulary and sentences as well as sentence structure.
I think it's important that you've nearly mastered the first tree (like I say, 50+%). Because then it suddenly all makes sense. And believe it or not, you begin to feel like a native Spanish speaker brushing up on your English, rather than a native English Speaker struggling to be fluent in Spanish.
No doubt this approach works for any language. It's just in my case I was Californian learning Spanish. I made more progress in one week than I'd made in the previous two months. Now when I go back to the Spanish tree, it's child's play. And my fluency jumped from 52% to 59% in a couple hours. Prior to that, it had taken me a month to get from 49% to 52%.
If you feel like you've gotten about as much as you can, you are over 50% and sort of stuck, flip that tree upside down. It will blow your mind.
You'll rapidly go from starting to gain some confidence, and feeling like you can speak basic Spanish A2, to feeling as though you've got it down pat B2, in maybe 20 or 30 hours.