So the “The problem with learn x in x months” thread was locked for some reason, I can’t see why. Anyway to follow on from that…
In that thread I was mentioning how some advice had adversely affected my study. Mainly creating a tough schedule without really thinking about the how. Just assuming the learning would take care of itself.
zenmonkey wrote: I'm curious - what kind of program did you buy and what deadlines did they impose that you were missing? Were these self imposed deadlines? Or you were scheduling to spend 2 hrs a day and you were not finding the time?
I didn’t buy anything (other than textbooks). My problem was self imposed deadlines. I didn’t have a target, like achieve B2 in 3 months or anything like that. Rather, I would create a schedule based on I would do one chapter from a given textbook a day. I would do that for multiple resources, so for example Day 1 would be do chapter 1 from X, 2 lessons from freewebsiteY and z number of memrise lessons. Day 2 would be the next chapter, another 2 lessons, and more memrise, and so on.
There was little to no time in there for review, no float for missed days, etc. But my biggest problem was forgetting everything. Words, grammar the lot. I didn’t have a strategy for listening. I would go back and look at a chapter or lesson from a few days ago and I would remember nothing. Basically I was trying to study the same way I would have studied maths. I thought working through a textbook would get me where I wanted to be. Moreover, I didn’t know how to make a textbook work for me like I do now.
The biggest failing, for me, of the learn X in X months mentality was tying things down to a tight schedule.
First you need to learn how to learn, fail a few times to find the methods that do or don’t work for you. I found a far better schedule was to simply aim to do X hours or minutes a day.
What sort of fails or dead ends have you had. I see a language learning world out there full of lifelong beginners and false beginners. Most people here would have moved past that phase a long time ago, but you must have stumbled along the way.
The problem is, without an aggressive schedule, a lot of people end up being lax and not putting up enough effort. What I dislike the most are people who end up studying one language for 10 years and not reaching reasonable proficiency. If it's going to take you 10 years, you're better off either not beginning the language, or finding the opportunity to do it intensively.
What I think, for now, that works, is to try hard, but also forgive yourself when you fall behind. You need to hit the target, but also acknowledge that going over-schedule, from a behavioral economics or psychology perspective, is just how people are; i.e, when they say 2 months, it turns out to be 6 months, when they say 6 months, it turns out to be 18 months.
The biggest mistake I've made is between rushing and failing to rush; i.e, if you don't pay enough attention or set aggressive enough targets, nothing gets done. Rushing, on the other hand, if you're on stimulants after a long day, are you really remembering anything or are you just going through the motions?
So what I'm doing instead is prioritizing language learning tasks; i.e, the most mentally intensive tasks get allocated to when my mind is sharp, while grinds get allocated to when I'm tired.