Friday, February 11, 2011

العربية- الأسبوع ٦

This has been a decent week for my Arabic studies.  I began a new approach this week which was developed by Moses McCormick.  I modified this a little bit, which is probably slightly to my detriment, but I skipped over the first couple of phases of the method and went straight to the textbook work.  Moses has put out a number of videos on youtube highlighting his skills as well as his method.  I have noticed a lot of progress this week, which I am not sure whether to attribute this to the FLR method of Moses or, more likely to the amount of time put in, which I will discuss in my methodology minute this week.

I have been continuing to have wonderful progress vocally.  I had a realization this week that I had not been practicing as effectively as I could be.  So, I have modified my approach to practicing so that I can be more intensive in my work, which should compound my achievements.

Methodology Minute - The Power of Patience and Perseverance 

I had a few interesting things happen this week which solidify for me the concepts of patience and perseverance.  First, while I was working through my Anki deck this week, I had a day where all of a sudden I simply knew all of my cards.  Additionally, I was watching some Arabic TV the other day and suddenly I was able to pick out words here and there that I knew, I had come out of the fog.  Thirdly, I have noticed that I have started to think and play around with the Arabic that I have learned thus far, enabling me to actually greet people and have some very basic conversation.  My theory is that all of this corresponds directly with the amount of time I have put in up to this point.  In the next couple of days, I will cross the forty hour mark in my studies. I believe that this is an important number in which things start to solidify in the brain and become more concrete.  I have had similar things happen vocally, where I try to approach a specific pitch, or a specific phrase multiple times and then suddenly the phrase or pitch falls into place.  I believe that there are specific numbers of hours, or minutes, which mark points of achievement in almost all aspects of skill acquisition.

There are many linguists who maintain that the key to learning is to put time in every day, no matter how much.  I would venture to apply this to all areas of skill acquisition.  Learning compounds over time and in areas such as language acquisition the time spent is more important than the method used.  In areas where technique is important, it is only with time that the technique becomes ingrained.  It should be the goal of anyone who is learning a skill to spend at a minimum fifteen minutes a day working on their skill.  As I said above, I believe that there are specific times associated with milestones; so the more time put in daily, the quicker these milestones will occur.

The second half of this minute I need to spend on perseverance.  For the last few weeks I had been struggling and frustrated with my lack of progress in Arabic.  Similarly during my six months without a voice lesson, I was continually frustrated by what seemed like a lack of progress.  However, by pushing through these times, I am now making large strides in both fields and have a renewed vigor in my studies.  All things in life work in cycles.  There is a business cycle, a geological cycle, and a motivation cycle.  Many people get hung up when they reach the valleys of their motivational cycles and never progress past their initial motivational peak.  However, if one can push through the valleys of frustration there are greater rewards in your next peak than what you found initially.

Steven Kaufmann of lingq has been making a series of videos on the 7 steps of a successful language learner on youtube and I felt that it would be of value to post a couple of them here which pertain to this methodology minute for perusal:

This first video of the series focuses on the topic of spending the time to learn.  Continual work will lead to mastery.

The fifth video in the series advises the learner to be patient; contrary to our instant gratification culture, anything of quality takes time and effort.

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