Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome to the Inner Circle.
Peter: This is for those of you who took the 2020 Challenge.
Chigusa: And this is the monthly, no-holds-barred newsletter giving you tried and tested learning methods...
Peter: ...to help you reach your language goals this year.
Chigusa: Now, I don’t know how many of you were around, but last year, Peter, you took on the challenge of learning...?
Peter: I was learning Korean. The years before, I did French, Chinese, German before that. And I took Spanish and Italian some years ago.
Chigusa: Wow, so you’ve done a lot. Now, which languages do you have a high command of?
Peter: Well, that would be Chinese, because of my wife, and Japanese as I’ve studied for many years and....
Chigusa: And because you live in Japan.
Peter: Exactly. It’s been over 15 years now.
Chigusa: Hmm. By the way, listeners, if you’re a Premium or Premium PLUS member,
Peter: You can access previous Inner Circle lessons in the Lesson Library...
Chigusa: ...and see how Peter took on those languages.
Peter: Just choose “Bonus” from the Level drop-down in the Lesson Library.
Chigusa: Now, Peter, what’s your plan for 2020?
Peter: Chigusa, this year, I am taking on...Hebrew.
Chigusa: Hebrew, that’s a unique choice. Why Hebrew?
Peter: Chigusa, this is an excellent question...Why? Because knowing your “why” or your reason is crucial to language learning success.
Chigusa: Yes it is!
Peter: So, we’ll discuss that in today’s Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Starting Off on the Right Foot with Language Learning.
Peter: So, Chigusa, in the past years’ Inner Circle episodes, we talked about different ways to start. Some years, it was about setting a goal.
Chigusa: Yeah, and some years, it was about focusing on your “why” or just jumping into speaking.
Peter: And don’t get me wrong. All starts were good starts. It’s good to start with a goal. Or it’s good with your why. But, based on years of experience, there are 5 things a learner needs to address... if they want to start off on the right foot.
Chigusa: Hmm, what are they?
Peter: So, if you have....
One: Your Reason for Learning
Two: Your Goal &Reward
Three: Assessment
Four: Match Your Routine with Your Medium
And Five: Anchor Points
Peter: If you get these squared away in your first month, you have a comprehensive plan that will help you succeed with any goal. Not just languages.
Chigusa: So, is this what you did this past month?
Peter: Exactly. And listeners, we will walk you through each point. It’s actually all pretty simple.
Chigusa: Okay, the first one - your reason why. Why did you choose Hebrew?
Peter: So, I’m learning Hebrew because 2 of my really close friends are Israeli.
Chigusa: Oh, wow!
Peter: ...and at some point, I’d like to travel to Israel.
Chigusa: I think those are great reasons to start. But, why is thinking about your “why” so important?
Peter: Chigusa, think about saving money. Now, if you’re just saving money, you may or may not succeed. Think about when you were a kid. What was the first thing you really wanted to buy yourself?
Chigusa: Hmm, that’s a long time ago. Let me remember: the first thing I wanted to buy...was... maybe a Beauty and the Beast album... CD....
Peter: And how much was that soundtrack?
Chigusa: 2000 yen?
Peter: So, when you started saving for that CD, you knew exactly how much you wanted to get. And because you knew how much you wanted to get....
Chigusa: I was able to save really fast...
Peter: That’s the thing - if you know why you’re doing something, it’s easy to tie a goal to that. Now, there are all kinds of reasons to learn...
Chigusa: Yes, there’s travel. Family. Friends. Love.
Peter: Or if you’re living in a country that speaks it - which, by the way, was my reason for mastering Japanese. But, knowing your reason clarifies your mission and gives you motivation from the start.
Chigusa: Yes, that makes sense. But some reasons are stronger than others, right?
Peter: Exactly, living in a country that speaks the language is a powerful reason.
Chigusa: And, what if your reason for learning is something like, “I just want to watch tv in that language?” It’s not exactly something you NEED to survive... is that a bad reason?
Peter: Chigusa, strong reasons help with motivation but I’ve seen people with strong reasons fail, and people with weak reasons succeed. It’s all up to the individual. But, the point is, you need to know why you’re doing this. For me, it’s my best friends. I want to be able to interact with some people who may not be able to speak English. And I want to visit Israel one day.
Chigusa: And that’s enough for you to take the first step.
Peter: Exactly. It’s all about the first step. In later Inner Circles, we’ll talk about maintaining and boosting motivation, but you need that initial motivation.
Chigusa: Got it! So, the second point... Goals &Rewards.
Peters: So, listeners, once you’ve clarified your reason, it’s time to set your goals.
Chigusa: We’ve done plenty of Inner Circle lessons on goal setting, so you can check those out...
Peter: ...but, long story short, your goal can’t just be “I want to be fluent one day”...
Chigusa: ...which tells you nothing about how you’ll achieve it, or when you’ll reach fluency.
Peter: Your goal needs to be small, measurable, realistic, and have a deadline.
Chigusa: So, what’s your goal Peter?
Peter: Chigusa, I like to set monthly and yearly goals. By the end of February, I want to have a 1 minute conversation in Hebrew and read 1 basic Hebrew book that we have on our site. And again, the book is just a few words on each page. By the end of the year, I want to build that up to 30 minutes of conversation.
Chigusa: So instead of saying “I want to be fluent one day”... which you can’t measure or know when you’ll reach it...
Peter: ...By aiming for 1 minute, I can measure that with a timer. I have a deadline. And unlike “i want to be fluent,” it’s realistic. 1 minute should be attainable.
Chigusa: Yeah, 1 minute of conversation is what. A greeting? Asking someone how they are, and what they did this weekend?
Peter: Well, thank you for making me feel really good about my goal. I think what Chigusa is trying to illustrate is, it’s attainable. It’s very, very realistic.
Chigusa: Now, what about rewards?
Peter: Now that I set my goals, I need to tie rewards to my goals. If I hit my 1minute goal, my reward is - I’m going to an Israeli restaurant.
Chigusa: And what about your yearly goal?
Peter: Now, if I hit 30 minutes, I think my reward will be... to travel to Israel.
Chigusa: Travel is good! And my next question is, why are you thinking about rewards? Shouldn’t you be hard at work first...and worry about rewards later?
Peter: Because Chigusa, rewards are powerful motivators. You said it. You SHOULD be working hard. But hard work often is not fun. And you need something to push you through. When you come home after a long day of work on a rainy day, soaking wet, maybe the last thing you want to do is open a book and start studying. It’s so much easier to turn on Netflix or something. But having that reward reminds you, if I achieve this, then I get that. Learning Hebrew because my friends speak it is one thing. But defining “what’s in it for me, what do I get” boosts my motivation. I have that thing to look forward to, and get me through some of the times I may not feel like putting in the work.
Chigusa: That’s a great point. Yeah, reaching goals is one thing, but getting something in return is powerful too.
Peter: It is. Well said, Chigusa.
Chigusa: Okay, the 4th point is - Matching Your Routine to the Study Medium.
Peter: And by routine, I mean, your daily routine. For example, you really have to understand your limits. And most people... it’s interesting the way our imaginations work. And I’ll speak for myself. I tend to think that I can do a lot more than I actually can. I’ll give you a good case in point. Sometimes I’ll write down my daily lists for the day. Have you ever made a task sheet, Chigusa?
Chigusa: Several times yes.
Peter: And were you good at finishing everything on that task sheet?
Chigusa: No.
Peter: Same here. Okay, first, I’m going to organize all the photos on my phone. Then I’m going to clear my inbox. Oh, then I’m going to the bank. Oh, I’m going to write a letter to a family member. I’m going to call my mom. And I only do a fraction of it. It’s really, really hard to know your limitations. So, when you take on something like learning a language, Chigusa, do you think learning a language is easy per-se?
Chigusa: No.
Peter: I would agree with that - no. And not knowing your limitations is one of the biggest reasons for failure. So, what we want you to do is lay out - understand your routine - and then adapt learning to your routine. So, for example, you may take the train in the morning. You could go to a cafe for your lunch everyday. Or at night you could go home or be at the gym.
Chigusa: So the goal is to find how to best fit learning into your day?
Peter: Exactly. If you’re taking the train in the morning, it might be really hard to focus with a book.
Chigusa: Yeah, you can’t take out a textbook. You can’t really write.
Peter: But you can listen to audio lessons or watch video lessons. And if you’re at home, maybe you can focus a bit more, so you can try using our flashcards or doing some shadowing with the conversation tool on our webpage.
Chigusa: Now, how are you matching your routine, Peter?
Peter: So, what I did was I sat down and made a list of my weekly routine. And to be honest, when I first started learning a language, I used to carve out blocks of time to study. Chigusa, how do you think that worked out?
Chigusa: Hmm, terrible.
Peter: Yeah, I think we spoke about this in a previous lesson. You know, everyone is busy and things pop up. One thing people do that’s really hard when they plan, is they don't allow for emergencies. I always have like 15% of my week allotted for things that I’m not expecting. Or kids call, or sickness or things like this. So, actually carving out new time is really, really hard to do. Especially with 3 kids and work and everything else. So what I did was, I made a list of my routine and I found areas where I can match the medium - meaning the type of learning - to my existing routine. And that has worked out so well.
So for example, on my commute - I take the train in the morning, My train commute’s 30 minutes. I’ll listen to an audio lesson, and I do that twice a week. Again, when I first started, everyday I’m going to listen. That’s really hard to do. Some super disciplined people can do it but it’s super challenging. Now, at home, when I come home and eat dinner, one of my sons will study with me. So I’ll listen to our Alexa lessons once a week. And it’s kind of fun, we sit at dinner time, and guess what happens when I’m studying with my one son. What do you think the other sons do?
Chigusa: They come and learn too?
Peter: Exactly. Once you start doing something, everyone wants to do it. So we sit around and we listen to our Innovative Language Daily Dose lesson on the Alexa device. And again, it’s not heavy studying but still, we’re doing it once a week. Every Tuesday and Friday, I’ll use the flashcards at lunch. So...
Chigusa: So, you’ll do audio lessons while commuting...
Peter: Alexa at home.
Chigusa: And flashcards at lunch.
Peter: And, Chigusa, I ALSO signed up for live group classes.
Chigusa: Really? That’s new. What made you join a class?
Peter: This brings us to the 4th point, Anchor Points. Listeners, we will talk about anchor points in more depth... later this season, but Anchor Points are the connections you make to a language...
Chigusa: ...that boost your motivation...
Peter: ...and keep you attached or anchored to your goal. So, you don’t slip away.
Chigusa: So, what’s an example of an anchor point?
Peter: For example, if you have friends or relatives that speak the language.
Chigusa: And if you’re around them, and you’re exposed to the language... you’re more likely to learn?
Peter: Exactly. Also, investing in a textbook or learning program. Because you paid, you’re more committed.
Chigusa: ...yes, you don’t want your money to go to waste.
Peter: In my case, it’s the language classes. I enrolled. I paid big money. I’m expected to be there....
Chigusa: ...So you have to attend. You're anchored in.
Peter: Exactly. And my reward - to travel to Israel - that’s an anchor point too.
Chigusa: Yeah, if you bought the ticket and you’ll be going, then you have more motivation to learn.
Peter: And Chigusa, with the class, it’s good for motivation because there are other people, and I can see where I stand.
Chigusa: Peter, you just want to be the best one in class, don’t you?
Peter: You got me, I do, Chigusa. But it’s good to know where you are. You’re motivated by the people better than you...
Chigusa: ...and you don’t want to be the worst person in the class either.
Peter: I do not. There’s something motivating about class participation - where you have to speak out loud. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself, so that’s more motivation to stick with Hebrew and stick with my routine....
Chigusa: Now, speaking of your Hebrew, how is your Hebrew right now, Peter?
Peter: Well, I did an assessment test at the start of the class and, Chigusa, I know nothing. Blank slate.
Chigusa: Oh, wow.
Peter: And listeners, the 5th point is, you need assessment. So, Chigusa, I’ll be doing another one in 3 months to see how far I’ve progressed.
Chigusa: That’s another thing for you to look forward to, Peter.
Peter: Exactly. So, listeners, every single one of these points is designed to help you succeed and stay committed to your language goal.
Peter: Listeners, check the PDF Lesson Notes for this Inner circle.
Chigusa: Print it out, and there, you’ll be able to write down your reasons, your goals, rewards and set your routines.
Peter: And my goal is to reach 1 minute of Hebrew conversation and read 1 Absolute Beginner Level extensive reading book.
Chigusa: Deadline?
Peter: By the end of February.
Chigusa: Sounds good, Peter. And listeners, let us know what your small, measurable monthly goal is.
Peter: Email us at inner.circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson for this month!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.