Lesson Transcript


Becky: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Becky and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Becky: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about….
Peter: How to Time Yourself to 100% Language Mastery
Becky: You’ll Learn...
Peter: One, Why You Should Time Yourself.
Becky: Two, How Peter Applied This to His Language Learning.
Peter: And Three, How You Can Apply it AND My Challenge for You!
Becky: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Becky: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to break your language learning routine...
Becky: ...why you should break it...
Peter: ...and how to make progress while learning with something light and fun.
Becky: So last time, Peter, you broke your learning routine because...
Peter: I got fed up with it. I needed to change things up.
Becky: What were you doing exactly?
Peter: Well, I had a goal to master 60 audio dialogs by the end of the month. I was drilling the audio....
Becky; Ah yes.
Peter: Long story short, it was hard work. It was like a language learning gym and I was lifting heavy dumbbells, because I was listening to the same audio tracks again and again.
Becky: Yeah, I can see how you would get tired. And you missed your goal.
Peter: Exactly. I promised to do 60 audio dialogs. I reached 30. But this time, I reached my goal.
Becky: Oh, the other half?
Peter: Done.
Becky: Wow! By the way listeners, this is also a good lesson in what to do if you miss your goal.
Peter: Instead of calling it a failure, keep going with what you can manage. 30 was doable for me. And hitting the next 30 was just a matter of time.
Becky: So don’t call it quits or even worse, punish yourself by doubling up on your work!
Peter: Well said, Becky. And after listening to all of lessons, remember my goal for the year?
Becky: To take a Chinese proficiency test!
Peter: Right. So, I ALSO did a practice test this past month. Not the whole thing, just the listening part.
Becky: Really? How did that go? Did your hard work pay off?
Peter: Not quite, but here’s the interesting part: You know that tests are timed right?
Becky: Right. You get about an hour or 40 minutes per section.
Peter: So, I set a timer for 1 hour and went to work. Meaning taking the practice test. Now I didn’t pass but it got me thinking — what if I timed myself while I learned?
Becky: And listeners, what if YOU timed your study sessions... say 10 minutes.
Peter: How much do you think you can truly learn within those 10 minutes?
Becky: Do you know?
Peter: And do you know how much output —
Becky: ...as in, reading, speaking, or writing in your target language...
Peter: ...could you produce within that period of time? So that’s the topic of today’s Inner Circle:
Becky: How to Time Yourself to Language Mastery.
Peter: And let’s jump into that first part.
Becky: One- Why You Should Time Yourself.
Peter: Let’s start with an example. Picture a child trying to read a book. Let’s say, a simple 10 page picture book with simple sentences, 10 simple sentences like “The sky is blue” or “The grass is green.”
Becky: Okay. Sounds easy enough.
Peter: Now, for a brand new reader, this can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Becky: Yeah, it’s a tough start. When I would read with my little sister, it would around that long.
Peter: The reason is, there are two processes at work here, Becky. First, the child is decoding the words and letters ...
Becky: ...meaning, trying to sound them out.
Peter: Second, there’s the comprehension part....
Becky: ...or understanding what they’ve read.
Peter: And just because you can sound out the words doesn’t mean you understand them.
Becky: Oh, I know that one. I’ve read plenty of Japanese that I don’t actually understand.
Peter: Same here. I’ve had the same exact problem with Chinese. You spend so much time getting the right tone, or in Japanese - getting the right pronunciation but you cannot do the comprehension at the same time. But the point is - if the child spent 10 minutes reading, he might not understand anything at all.
Becky: ...and how much did he really learn in 10 minutes?
Peter: Exactly. So listeners, take this concept and let’s apply it to our lessons.
Becky: Our audio and video lessons can be up to 10 or 15 minutes in length...
Peter: ...and when you watch or listen for 10 minutes, do you really study for 10 minutes?
Becky: You might say yes because you put in the time and got the gist of the lesson.
Peter: But did you understand every word and grammar point? Or just bits and pieces?
Becky: And what if you need to look up words and research grammar rules?
Peter: Now you’re going over 10 minutes. So by timing yourself..
Becky: ...doing timed assignments or tests...
Peter: You get an accurate understanding of one, how much do you really understand.
Becky: And two, how much time it takes to ACTUALLY understand the whole thing.
Peter: And because we’re pretty flexible with our learning and skip over details....
Becky: ...maybe you’ll find that you’re not getting 100% out of that lesson and need to spend more time.
Peter: Or the flipside; you might notice that you understood it all, it’s easy...
Becky:...and that you should go for bigger challenges.
Peter: So timing yourself gives you a true depiction of how much you understand. It puts you to the test, much like a timed test would.
Becky: Peter, what about you? Have you timed yourself?
Peter: Let’s talk about that in the second part.
Becky: Part 2- How Peter Applied This to His Language Learning.
Peter: Becky, I have. Taking a timed practice exam inspired me to find out how much I would get out of a lesson... IF I timed myself.
Becky: How’d it go?
Peter: I started with ChineseClass101 Audio lessons.
Becky: ....That’s about...10 minutes right?
Peter: Exactly. But inside those 10 minutes, even though everything was explained, there were still a few things that I didn’t quite get. And, not to mention, the reading component because I was listening along.
Becky: And you were taking Beginner level lessons?
Peter: Actually, it was an Intermediate lesson.
Becky: Okay, I see.
Peter: So if you take the whole lesson, which is about 10 minutes, and then try to understand all the parts of the dialog - meaning the vocabulary and the grammar and wanting to be able to read it...
Becky: How long did it take you to honestly get it all down, Peter?
Peter: To be honest, Becky, it was about double the time. 20 minutes.
Becky: Wow! Okay, so what did you do in that extra time?
Peter: So, after everything was explained and I had a good idea, I went and I looked at the vocabulary words that I didn’t understand. Then, I went to the PDF and I re-read the grammar points just so that I could understand them completely. Then, I shadowed the conversation, meaning I repeated after the conversation. Playing the line by line - I’d play a line and I repeated it.
Becky: Peter, but what I find incredible here is... you’re getting the most out of each lesson, even IF you spend a little more time. I think a lot of people just listen once and move along. Kind of leaving money on the table.
Peter: Not sure about money on the table but they are leaving some holes in the comprehensive? Comprehension.... Of that chunk of language that they’re learning. So, I think you should take that time to understand every single piece of it, including the reading component.
Becky: So, did you try timing yourself with reading?
Peter: I did, Becky. It was 3 times longer. So, the conversation took 30 seconds to read. Actually no, it was 7 times longer because in the case of Chinese because you have to understand each of the characters so I had to go back and forth between the romanization and the Chinese version to understand the words that I didn’t know. And, remember the decoding part, just to understand how to pronounce them was one step and then understanding the meaning, I had to cross-reference with the vocabulary.
Becky: I see.
Peter: So, uh yeah, non-romanized languages take a lot longer when it comes to...
Becky: Reading.
Peter: Yeah.
Becky: Yeah, I think it’s important to give yourself a break too. Allow yourself more time.
Peter: No breaks.
Becky: Well you KNOW it’s going to take longer for that so...
Peter: Good point, good point!
Becky: And I think what gets measured gets managed.
Peter: ...that’s a great expression. Another thing I did was... I’d come back to the audio dialogs a day later...
Becky: To see how much you understood a day later? I think that would be a good way to test yourself.
Peter: It really was. It’s easy to remember things that you just learned...
Becky: ....but will you remember them later on, Peter?
Peter: The good news is - reviewing the 30 second dialog the next day took me just one minute.
Becky: Meaning you spent that additional time looking up words to make sure you got it all.
Peter: Exactly. Or a grammar point. Usually there were one or two bits that would not quite stick. But it took me a lot less time than when I first went through it.
Becky: Okay, so here’s the question- what have you learned by timing yourself? What do you know now?
Peter: Okay, very good question, Becky. So based on these numbers — I know
One- I’m not getting 100% value out of a lesson just by taking it or just by listening to it.
Two- My listening is improving, but I’m not quite there yet because a 10 minute lesson, when I listen to the whole lesson, takes me about double the time to master. And again, conversation, a simple conversation, if i listen to it out of the blue, takes about 10 to 20 minutes to fully understand everything that goes into it. The listening, the reading and etc... vocabulary, grammar...
Three- I need to spend more time on these lessons to get the most out of them.
And... Four- Reviewing a lesson dialog a day later is a good way to see how much I truly remember, so I’ll apply that to my routine.
Becky: Okay, so what about the listeners here? What can they do?
Peter: Let’s get into the third part.
Becky: Three- Peter’s Challenge to You.
Peter: So listeners, do you know how much you truly learn within a 10 minute lesson or by listening to a dialog?
Becky: There’s only one way to find out...
Peter: And that’s to time yourself. So here’s a challenge for you. Start a timer, and take a lesson.
Becky: When the lesson ends, ask yourself -
Peter: Were there any words and grammar points that you didn’t get?
Becky: If there are, then you’re not taking full advantage of the lesson.
Peter: Don’t stop the timer and start filling in the gaps. Open the PDF or go to the site. Look up the words that you missed.
Becky: And once you can fully understand everything in the lesson, then you can stop it.
Peter: Grammar, vocabulary, etc. Try to understand every component. By doing this, you put your language to test. First, you see how much you actually know at the end of timed session...
Becky: Second, you know how much extra time you need to master the lesson.
Peter: And listeners, having to spend extra time is not a bad thing. Don’t take it as a failure.
Becky: Yeah, use it as a chance to fill in the missing gaps in your target language.
Peter: The second challenge is, I want you to come back and review the dialog from the lesson the next day
Becky: ...so that you can see how long it takes you.
Peter: ...start the timer and see how long it takes you to understand the conversation completely and to be able to read the conversation. If you remember our example with the child learning to read with that 10 page picture book...
Becky: ...it might’ve taken him 10 minutes to get through the book on the first try...
Peter: But with more review and experience...
Becky: ...it will take him just a minute or two to read and understand it.
Peter: ...Much like it’d take a someone that’s a year older, with more reading experience, probably a minute or less to finish it all.
Becky: So listeners, be sure to time yourself when you take a lesson...
Peter: ....come back the next day, time yourself and review it.
Becky: Alright, Peter. Let’s talk goals. You finished your 60 audio dialogs. You’re working on your listening.
Peter: Right, so now, I want to add reading into the mix.
Becky: Okay.
Peter: My next goal is to read 60 lesson dialogs.
Becky: Deadline?
Peter: July 31st.
Becky: Really? Going to spend all of July reading, Peter. But that’s great, Peter!
Peter: Two a day! And listeners, let us know - do you time yourself?
Becky: And let us know what your goals are for the month.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Becky: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Becky: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.