First of all, I should tell you I’ve learned French (I studied and worked in Paris for a year) and English (in addition to my native Italian) and I’ve been applying all the following for years… therefore, I’m happy to share my ‘tricks’ with all the eager learners in the world and especially with those who attend my classes!
Secondly, you should probably know that I’m quite aware about learning as I have a masters degree in Educational Science and I’ve been specializing in language learning since before I started teaching Italian 6 years ago in Ireland… and I have one big, devouring passion: teaching. On top of that, I’m raising my son… multilingual. Kevin is 4 and he’s now fluent in Italian and English, his French is coming along fine through games, songs and Sam le pompier (fireman Sam) and he started learning Irish in pre-school. Since Kevin came along, I’ve extended my interest to multilingualism.
This is the first of our learning tips… ‘How to get the most out of our lesson(s)’
Attending Italian classes once a week is useful, but it won’t help anyone learn Italian as effectively if they walk out of the class and forget about it until the next lesson. Those students will find themselves lost very soon, overwhelmed by what seems sterile information and dreading their next lesson. Learning Italian doesn’t happen effectively, just by being exposed to the native Italian teacher once a week… we don’t learn through osmosis (too beautiful to be true!).
So, we attend our lesson and we understand what we are learning, it doesn’t matter if it is about grammar or a new expression or an idiomatic structure, we understand it. That’s great, but remember that the neural pattern we’ve just created in our brain is very light. Our working memory can’t manage too many things at the same time. The best thing we can do is to revise as soon as possible in order to carve this very light pattern into our long term memory… to make it permanent: through repetitions, drilling, writing and conversation practice.
Every day, we should do a little bit of revision and use our newly learned language. If we don’t have time we should listen to something in the target language… maybe a song that we know, so that we can exercise our ears to recognise the words… maybe a few minutes of the news. Let’s revise again before class, so that we will already be tuned in to the Italian language when we walk in and we’ll find ourselves familiar with it and happy to be there. The new topics of the lesson will immediately find their place in your ‘Italian mental map’ and you will be rewarded by your learning experience and you’ll learn even more (this is how dopamine works!)!
That’s all for now… Buono studio until the next one! Ps: let’s keep our language awareness on at all time… why did I use buono instead of buon?
Part 2 will be out soon.