#Clear the List March 2017
I am quite in shock that it is March already. January went so fast that I completely forgot to write a #clear the list post for February! So I will quickly explain how my language goals have been progressing.
The first half of 2017 I am focusing on Spanish. We are spending the School Summer holidays travelling across Spain from South to North. I want to get up to at least a B1 conversational level to feel confident in talking to native speakers. I am a false-beginner in Spanish; having learnt Spanish for a year 25 years ago. I have a basic understanding of the grammar and somewhere in the back of my head is a vocabulary list just waiting to come out. Overall I am pleased with my progress. I have realised how the public accountability of taking part in a challenge really helps my motivation.
January’s goal was to reactivate this basic vocabulary by working through a beginners course on Memrise. I never realised how competitive I am until someone joined the course and kept beating me to the top of the weekly list. Every night before going to bed I checked in on Memrise. To my horror, I found I had been knocked off first place by someone who had been studying later in the day than me. I had to study another hundred words to get back to the top of the leaderboard before I could sleep. Memrise is quite addictive if you can find the right course that works for your needs. Luckily I have found a Spanish course that seems well organised with audio throughout with vocabulary grouped logically by topic.
February went by in a bit of a blur. I was determined to carry on with Memrise and stay near the top of the leaderboard in the intermediate Spanish course I moved onto. February was the Italki Challenge Month so I started the month having five italki lessons a week. I scheduled italki lessons for one hour a day, first thing in the morning Monday to Friday. This initially seemed to be a good idea, but after a few weeks of daily lessons, I felt that I was not having enough time to prepare for the lessons, do the homework, or make any notes after the sessions of the new vocabulary or of grammar constructions I needed to work on. School half term mid-February disrupted my study schedule and allowed me time to reflect. I have now reduced the lessons down to two or three a week, which seems to be a more sustainable amount.
The Power of Accountability
Throughout February my Spanish study time was held accountable by being in two different language challenges, plus my desire to stay at the top of my Memrise leaderboard. I had joined the February Challenge in Fluent Spanish Academy. I had to put my X on the spreadsheet to show that I had completed my set study time. The italki challenge was making me keep up my daily lessons. It’s amazing how having to make an X on a spreadsheet publically makes you more likely to do the studying. Why am I so weak willed without the support of a study group?
This month the Fluent Spanish Academy challenge is all about past tense. The FSA March Challenge is to complete an exercise every day working out if a verb from one of Olly Richards Intermediate Spanish Short Stories should be in the preterite or imperfect tense. I am doing ok with this challenge at the moment – but hey it’s only day 3. But just knowing I have to put my X on the sheet for all to see means I will do it. My public pledge to do this certainly helps with motivation.
So my goals for March are:
Fluent Spanish Academy – March Challenge – conquer theses two past tenses with the daily task.
Memrise – stay in the top two of my Intermediate Spanish course. I love Mondays when I can power up to the top as the week restarts!
Fluent Spanish Academy – do two lessons a week using the dialogues provided and then aim to use some of the phrases I am learning in my own speaking in my italki lessons.
Italki – two or three lessons a week.
French has disappeared from my list for the moment. I am still reading web posts in French when they pop up on my newsfeed but I have decided to focus completely on Spanish until the end of July. Then in the Autumn my French can come out of hibernation and I will actively work to get it back up to B2 and to improve my French speaking skills.