Wow! That went quickly, didn’t it? I feel like January has vanished in the blink of an eye and I am already back to tell you about my language goals for another month. I always knew it would be hard coming back from Christmas and trying to get on track with writing and language learning, but January has really knocked me for six. My routine quickly went out the window and I was so busy I barely managed to keep Italian on the horizon, never mind writing. Although it wasn’t the most productive start there is always a silver lining. I have started working on a new approach to my planning and learning which seems to be working better. After a little more testing (so I know it works) I will let you all know what I am doing. Hopefully it can help you guys too!
January was tough. Really tough! At points I felt like I had already failed in my goal to pass the C1 exam and I would never be able to reach an advanced level. That was until my ever suffering fiancèe reminded my that it had only been 2 or 3 days since I had studied so I just needed to get a grip of myself. Sometimes you just need that little reality check though when you find yourself in a tornado of exaggeration, right?
But let’s focus on the positives. I got back into the swing of things on Instagram and posting a lot more regularly. Tick. I also used Clozemaster everyday to practice the basics of Italian which was great. Tick. I even had a 30 day streak until the last day when I fell asleep early and haven’t had chance to practice. Almost tick… I even paid for the pro membership because the Cloze listening part was really helpful for me. You are played an audio clip and then have to input the missing words. It meant I could focus only on the sound for the first time and then revise with the written and reading to cover all my bases. I learnt some very useful phrases this way.
I also managed to record a few videos on Instagram at the beginning of the month which I was very pleased with. I find recording videos in this way is a great way to memorise new phrases as I have to repeat them to myself over and over to make it so I can speak for a minute with stuttering or sounding like a fool. Or a fool without hesitation at least… I am still hoping to be able to record more videos to practice my speaking on a daily basis and was also considering using Instagram live to practice some more spontaneous conversations and discussions. Fancy joining an Instagram chat?
Overall I managed to squeeze in around 30 hours of study in January which I think is ok but I really need to find a way of increasing that a little more if I am going to pass C1 in December. Considering nearly half of that was in the first week I need to find a more consistent approach.
Before I explain my goals I wanted to share my early Valentine’s present from my thoughtful fiancèe. She knows just how busy and stressed I have been this month and so decided to surprise me with a very special gift. We had been discussing my trackers recently and I told her about an idea I had for a heart shaped tracker for February so it links to events in the month, but unfortunately I hadn’t had time to pursue it. Lucky for me she took the initiative and designed a complete tracker for me which is absolutely amazing! She’s a much more talented artist than me so I think this tracker is easily my best one yet. What do you guys think?
Onto the goals. Due to my current workload I have adjusted my plan slightly. This month I am going to reduce my daily goals to three in the aim to be able to focus my attention better and be slightly more realistic. However, so there is still some level of difficulty, I have allowed space for six bonus goals which I will complete throughout the month. They just need to be something beyond my normal studies to count as completed.
I recently found an Italian tutor that I have been trying to have lessons with once a week. As well as all the other helpful tips she has given me, she strongly advised me to increase the amount of reading I am doing. I know how important reading is to developing understanding and vocabulary but I have really struggled recently to fit any in… as you can tell from the dozen books I got at Christmas that are collecting dust. So this month I am going to spend a little time each day reading some books. For Christmas I got some Italian stories for intermediate learners so I want to work my way through this in February. Another perfect gift from the fiancèe. I’m a lucky guy… I know.
Last month I decided to try out the #languagediarychallenge from Katie at Joy of Languages and it went better than I expected. Not only did I manage to do writing almost every day last month and learn new words and phrases, I also won the prize of an italki voucher I can use to improve my Italian even more. Bonus! (Thanks Katie). Needless to say I am going to repeat this again in February but aim for everyday. I also wrote some scripts for videos to record about my progress but didn’t find the time to record them so I am going to be making a concerted effort to record a few extra videos this month to improve my writing and speaking at the same time.
One of my weakest points is my listening skill and so I want to put added focus on this now. So this month I am going back to basics and choosing an easier goal. I just want to watch some TV or film each to keep my ears tuned to the sweet sounds of Italian. Earlier in the week I found a series called Gomorrah on Now TV which is completely in Italian so I am going to give that a go and see how I get on. I have no idea what it is about so it will be a good challenge.
And that is how I plan on tackling Italian this month. What language plans do you have? Any advice for an insanely busy language learner? Let me know in the comments below.
Ciao for now!