4 Handy Tips for Making the Most of your Language Course
Language courses are a fantastic way to improve your language skills, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the most out of your course and achieving your language goals.
- Make mistakes!
It might sound strange, but making mistakes is actually one of the best ways to get better at a language. Every mistake you make is an opportunity for improvement, and if you don’t make mistakes you will never learn.
Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Here is what he said about making mistakes:
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And this is why I succeed.” (Michael Jordan)
The next time you notice a mistake you are making, or the more you seem to keep forgetting the same word, think of it as an opportunity to learn. By making the mistake again, you’re more likely to be able to improve.
- Make notes
Language classes can be very draining, and you may feel completely worn out by the end of a lesson. This can make it easy to forget about what you learnt.
Making notes is a great way to counter this. You can take notes on anything you like: new words, grammar points, useful phrases, a mistake you made, or something interesting you talked about.
Taking notes in class will help you review at home, and will make you more likely to retain all the things you learnt, or keep track of things which you enjoyed talking about.
- Review at home
Making notes is important, but if you don’t use them afterwards, what’s the point? Try to fit some review time into your routine and you’ll soon notice a big improvement in your language skills.
For tips for reviewing vocabulary, see the following blog post: (link to the vocab piece)
It can also be fun to do more creative reviewing. For example, if you wrote something interesting that you talked about, why not write a short paragraph about it? Or a story?
Another way to review can be by talking about the topics you discussed in class with your friends in your target language. This can help improve your speaking on a topic you are already familiar with.
- Don’t expect to understand and remember everything
Although making notes and reviewing are extremely helpful, it’s also important that you are realistic with your learning. You will never remember every single word that came up in a class, or understand 100% of a language lesson. If you did, you wouldn’t need to come to the class in the first place!
The same goes for reading, listening and speaking in your target language. It will be hard to enjoy a book if you reach for the dictionary every five seconds to check a word. It will slow down a conversation if you get out google translate every time you need help understanding your partner.
Relax, focus on the parts that you can understand, and enjoy the experience of learning a new language. Over time you will notice your level improving and the feeling of satisfaction will be incredible.