Language learning is a long-term process. But, it doesn't have to be all work and no play; when you feel like you are making progress, it's an exciting and rewarding process! Here are 4 tips for developing and maintaining good study habits:
1) Set Concrete Goals:
For example, "I want to be better at Portuguese" is a difficult goal to reach because while it is a good idea, it is also very ambiguous. A better, more concrete version of the same goal might be: "After this month, I want to be able to introduce myself all in Russian" or "After 3 months, I want to have a 15-minute conversation about the World Cup in Portuguese."
Pick something interesting to you. Especially if you share these goals with your teacher, you'll soon be on the right track.
Here's some more information about how to set good goals.
2) Set a Concrete Schedule:
Think about your goal and decide ahead of time how many sessions and how much time you think you need to accomplish it. Decide what small steps you can take, one at a time, to help you on your way. You can also ask your teacher for advice about making a plan. If you schedule sessions with a teacher or with a language partner, you will be more likely to follow through, because someone else is expecting you to be there!
Good study habits have to be practiced. It's hard to take time away from your other activities, but if you don't try, then you might never find the time to accomplish your goals. Help yourself by setting a schedule with specific times. Don't just say "I will study German three times a week." Instead, check your schedule and say "I will study German with my teacher on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5pm to 6pm." It doesn't matter if you have an hour for a lesson, or just 15 minutes to practice. Set aside specific, regular time for your language learning.
3) Tell Your Friends:
Once you have determined your goal, share it with your friends and your social networks! Update them with your progress. You can also write about your experiences on your italki notebook and get support (and corrections!) from the italki community.
Did you have a good class? Not only is letting others know about it a good way to share the excitement, but it give others the chance to support and encourage you as well!
4) Celebrate Your Successes!
Take time to congratulate yourself on your small accomplishments along the way. Is your pronunciation improving? Did your teacher compliment you? Did you have a really good study session? Do you know more words now than before?
Especially if you keep a record or make notebook entries of the things you learn during your sessions, it will be easier to look back and see how far you've come. Ask yourself how you were able to do that, and try to adjust your schedule or your habits so you can do it more often!
Be proud of yourself! It takes a lot of dedication and determination to study a language!
We hope these tips will encourage and inspire you. We're sure that you can find teachers and resources in the italki community to speed you along your way. Don't put off your goals - talk with your italki teacher and make a plan today!