September seemed to go by super fast. At the start, i had just started using a spreadsheet to track my progress, and i remember thinking that it looked pretty empty. I wondered if i would be consistent in my filling of the spaces.
After a month of doing it, i must say that i love the process. Every day has 4 categories (tv, listening, reading, and anki). Whenever i do ANY work on one of those categories, i colour the box blue and put in the amount. If i exceed the day’s goal for that category, then i change the colour again up to green. If i don’t do anything, that box gets a zero and is coloured bright yellow. This gives me a sense of filling up the month, and i can look back and easily see how i’m doing in each category. I’ve been highly motivated to try to fill up each box with at least a little bit of work so that it doesn’t get coloured yellow.
I also included some of my motivational phrases so i can see them every day, and i included an expression of my overall goals. I have percentages for every week, and every month. I also have some 2-month amounts in there so that i can try to make up for any slack that i had in the previous month. The weekly percentages encourage me to work ahead and get more of the whole month’s goal done in that week.
I want to start October with a new push for intensity, getting a lot more done each day and removing some of the distractions (like surfing the web) that have distracted me. I want to exceed my anki goal for this month, as well as my reading goal. I’m really enjoying reading a lot lately, but i have to make more time for it instead of just doing it in little pieces. I need to fit more TV in, but I’ll probably get some of that in later this month when i start back on night shifts at work.
Looking ahead, I’m really curious what my skills will be like by the end of my 6-month self-study period, at the end of january. Lately i’m feeling a lot of urges to add another language in, such as Italian or Swedish, but i know that this is just the part of me that likes new shiny things. I need to find more new shiny *German* things instead, and i also need to remember that Swedish will be much easier to learn if i have a high level of German on which to base it.
I’ve thought of using Italian as a reward for myself, upon completion of 6 months of German. Or maybe a redo of Spanish, since i haven’t revisited Spanish for many years, and I’d like to make some progress there. If i did this, I’d have to figure out how much German study i could combine with the other language. Maybe keep my German reading goal throughout that period, but also add in some intensive Spanish study. That’s all just dreaming about the future though, and the primary goal right now is to get significantly good at German first. I’ve done enough bouncing around in the past that i don’t need to do any more of it now (and hopefully writing this will help me convince myself of that 😉
Oh, and before i forget, i want to link an interesting article i just read. It was an article about the collected experience of the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI), and what they had learned over the past 50 years of teaching languages to diplomats. The article is called Lessons learned from fifty years of theory and practice in government language teaching. Enjoy!