Monthly Progress

February 2021

My February mindset has been geared towards intention and self-compassion. I started this month developing study plans for two of my target languages: French and Spanish. I wanted to try something different and see how far I can progress with more structure to my learning journey. The result summed up in one sentence – I feel like I’m making more progress on my own timetable. I’m happy that I have a plan. It’s created by myself for myself and my particular needs and wants. While creating the plan, I thought a lot about parts of the language that I often struggle with, parts of the languages that I knew well, and parts that I haven’t even touched on up until now. 

In this post, I’m going to mention a bit on self-discipline and customized study plans following my  February 2021 in review. So, stay tuned for that. 

Spanish 

I’m glad to be spending a lot of time with this language. The one that catapulted my entire language learning journey  in the fall of 2019 which feels like forever ago since we’ve been exhausted by the ongoing pandemic. This month I’ve taken a total of nine lessons and I’ve completed countless study sessions. I’m getting into the studies of the subjunctive mood which is complex but I’m just taking my sweet time learning it. The subjunctive is used so much more compared to English so it’ll be a learning curve. 

I’m also happy about watching more content in Spanish. Typically, I turn to Youtube to get my daily dose of Spanish. I’ve been using subtitles less often which is great because it gives me a chance to practice understanding a native speaker naturally. My understanding is improving for sure. Recently, I watched a CNN Español interview with Diana Trujillo who is a Colombiana working for NASA. She came to the United States when she was seventeen without the ability to speak English. She learned English to a high level and now she was part of the team that put the rover Perseverance on Mars this month.  Check out the interview when you have a moment! She also has a Tedtalk which she speaks English. Truly an inspiring human being! 

On a side note, It’s kinda funny when you realize you’ve been saying something incorrectly this entire time. Isn’t it? I had one of those moments with Spanish when I watched an educational Youtube video by Butterfly Spanish the other day. If I want to say, “I’ve been studying Spanish for one year”, the correct way to say it is “Desde hace un año estudio español.” So, like a lot of things I can’t translate the English sentence word per word. 

Plans for March: I plan to continue doing what I’m doing. Just keeping the ball rolling with this language. I would like to speak Spanish every single day whether it is speaking with another person or simply recording myself speaking. 

French and Korean

These languages are my side target languages as you know. I have been sticking to my 15 week French study plan which coincides with a book for beginners. I am falling behind but I will simply circle back around and review concepts that I didn’t fully grasp. It’s definitely fun and, even more so since I’m in no rush to learn French. Plus, I’m loving the French vlog playlist that I made for myself! 

With Korean I’m simply trying to do 10 minutes per day. It’s low on my list right now but I know that I can stick with it and eventually complete level one of the Talk to me in Korean program. I also created a playlist solely of people reading Korean children’s books. I know it sounds strange that I want to listen to picture books in Korean but I have to start somewhere with this vastly different language. I have to learn like a baby and take it from there. I’m even considering finding some of my personal children’s books and translating them into Korean in the name of fun and learning. 

Self-discipline and Customized Study Plans

Discipline: this is a skill that I have developed as an independent language learner. The freedom of not being told what to do by anyone and having to tell myself what to do in order to reach goals requires discipline. I like to practice gentle, constructive discipline.   

 I’m the one keeping myself focused, motivated, and committed. I’m the one checking my progress and holding myself accountable. I’m the one consistently evaluating my strengths and weaknesses.   

As I mentioned,  I’m practicing the art of creating weekly study plans and sticking with them the best I can.These days I make the time to prepare for language learning instead of jumping right into it. I prefer to have a general plan to follow. I’ve decided to do this because I wanted to be able to seriously grasp grammar concepts and vocabulary in a structured way. Since I’m studying multiple languages this year I also wanted to have a plan to help me manage my limited time. 

 It’s been over a year of independent study so by this time I have a greater understanding of what works for me. Below, I’ve written about my study plans for Spanish. I hope it gives you some ideas or inspiration to create your own unique plan for your target language(s). I’m currently on week #3 of my study plan for each language.

The Spanish Plan – Mastering Grammar

If you read my blog you might remember that a few months ago I said that I was going to focus on Spanish grammar. I tried to complete grammar exercises from my books but I did not have a set plan. I would just do random grammar exercises here and there. It wasn’t very effective. Admittedly, I still struggle with sentence structure and conjugating verbs. Therefore, I’ve decided that I want to master grammar concepts including sentence structure and verb conjugations. 

I have a four week plan for Spanish, meaning that every four weeks I will reflect on my progress, wins, struggles, and create a new  plan for the next four weeks. This plan is much more malleable depending on what I’m covering in my online Spanish lessons and what concepts I know I need more practice with. I’m using a variety of books from the well-known Practice Makes Perfect series designed for English speakers who want to learn Spanish. My previous Spanish school had their students buy these books so I decided to buy them for my independent studies and go through them at my own pace. I’m also using free online resources to practice conjugations such as www.spanishdict.com  and www.spanish411.net

The bulk of my plan is to study on my own, however,  I’ve also scheduled weekly online one-to-one lessons so that I can practice with a native speaker and get extra help. This week I’m practicing the present subjunctive with one teacher and simple past tense along with the imperfect with another teacher. On top of that, I aim for two lessons to practice pronunciation and maintaining simple conversations. 

I think these plans will work well for me but one can never know for sure until they try it out. So, 2021 will be a series of planning, keeping myself on track, and doing the necessary work to see results. I’ll make changes as needed. Sticking my plans in an unpredictable 2021 will definitely be challenging but with old fashion discipline and hard work I know that I can do it.  

Let me know how February went for you! I hope everyone had a wonderful month!

Con una sonrisa,

Rosa Janelle

Image by Falkenpost from Pixabay. Peabody Institute Baltimore.

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