A common struggle in the language learning process for many people is just being able to keep language accountability. I'm definitely no exception.
When I started learning foreign languages back in high school, I had no idea what I was doing and didn't really know how to learn a foreign language effectively. Since I was so busy with other classes, I thought that I could get all my language learning time done in the classroom, study hall periods, and when I was at home doing my homework. However when I went to university, I realized that I had more free time, which meant more opportunities to develop my language abilities further. Because I learned Latin in high school, I thought I didn't need any classes for Romance languages so I decided to learn Spanish on my own. I first worked on Spanish in the way I learned languages in the classroom, with textbooks and working on the assignments, because I had no idea what I was doing yet. However I decided I needed to have a regular schedule to keep accountability with my Spanish, so I created a schedule to listen to the Notes in Spanish podcast every day and work on a little of my basic textbook and to practice my Spanish in my Spanish conversation group once a week. By keeping this form of accountability, was able to keep track of my progress in my language learning and started keeping a notebook for my Spanish and writing whatever I could down. I then applied this to Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, and other languages. However, I didn't plan when and what time of the day I would make these notes, so my scheduling was irregular for a long time. In 2014 I came across Chris Broholm's Actual Fluency podcast and saw that he was keeping a regular schedule of accountability for his website, podcast, and language learning goals and I watched Steve Kaufmann's (the founder of LingQ) entire 90 Day Korean challenge as he documented on video every day of the learning process. I also participated at the beginning of this year in January and February in Lindsay Dow's (founder of Lindsay does Languages) Instagram Language Challenge (which you can find under the hashtag #IGLC on Instagram), but although I kept my language learning at a consistent schedule especially this year and last, I still manage to not hold myself accountable enough for my writing, blogging, vlogging, and Instagram photos because I tend to focus on quite a lot of different projects and it's hard to focus on all of them at once, so I need to figure out a way to find balance in all those areas.
I read last week an inspiring post from Kerstin Hammes about the topic of goal setting and language notebooks in which she wrote about "The Miraculous Benefits of Keeping a Language Notebook". My thoughts about this article from my language learning experience: I LOVED IT!!!! It was really enlightening how she said that you can use your notebook as YOUR space, as YOUR creative exercises. Another takeaway was to have scribbles, highlighters, and different kinds of pen, which in all my language note-taking years hadn't considered. It just has really inspired me to keep being productive and to get productive again with my language learning. I'm going to write about my language learning process for each of the languages I'm learning in a notebook for each language. Through reading Kerstin's blog post, I'm very inspired to keep a language journal again.
So what do you do to keep accountability in a foreign language? Do you keep a language learning journal? Do you record or document your language learning in another way?
Until next time,
Enhance Your Voyage! Learn A Language!