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: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about...
Peter: How to Speak More with Can-Do Checklists.
Chigusa: And you’ll learn..
Peter: One - The Power of Specificity &Can-Do Checklists, Two - How I Hit My Monthly Goal, And Three - How You Can Apply This Tactic
Chigusa: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned about learning in pairs...
Chigusa: …in other words, combining 2 skills - like reading and writing…
Peter: ...or speaking and listening… so that you learn more in less time.
Chigusa: Yes, and you get to practice 2 skills, instead of JUST listening...
Peter: ...or JUST reading grammar rules and hoping that’s enough to make the language stick.
Chigusa: And also, Peter, you set a goal of 15 minutes…for this November.
Peter: I did. And I hit it. 15 minutes of Hebrew conversation. Timed and tested.
Chigusa: Wow. 15 minutes is a long time.
Peter: You know, it sounds like it, Chigusa… but remember, I started off speaking NO Hebrew in January.
Chigusa: Yeah, I remember you hit 1 minute by the end of February and 3 minutes by March.
Peter: Exactly. So, it’s been a slow, steady climb… with some slips down the mountain.
Chigusa: Now, how did you hit this goal?
Peter: So, I’m still sticking with most of my routines, I’m still learning in pairs… But to be able to speak more of a language, I always found it helpful to prepare for topics ahead of time.
Chigusa: I think we talked about preparation in prior episodes.
Peter: Exactly. So, to get those extra few minutes of conversation in, I used something called… The Can-Do Check-List…. Which is kind of like preparation.
Chigusa: Oh, that sounds new. What is that?
Peter: Well, that’s the topic of today’s Inner Circle.
Chigusa: How to Speak More with Can Do Checklists
Peter: And let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part 1: The Power of Specificity &Can-Do Checklists...
Peter: So before we get into it... Chigusa, if you want to speak more about anything, even in English... let’s say we were talking about coffee...
Chigusa: Okay…
Peter: ....the length of that conversation would depend on how much we know about the topic, or something like that, right?
Chigusa: Yeah, if I don’t know much about coffee… that conversation wouldn’t last long.
Peter: Exactly. But if we both know how to make espresso, and all the ways we do it, that could go on for hours. So, the same thing goes for language learning. The more words and phrases you know around a certain topic, the more you can speak.
Chigusa: So, if you want to speak more… you should start with a specific topic.
Peter: Exactly. It makes it so much easier. Think about the stuff you know well. You can talk for a long time about it. So you know what to focus on.
Chigusa: It’s like a top-down approach.
Peter: Exactly. Once you have a topic, for example, weather, you can work your way down. You learn the relevant words, phrases, and questions for that topic, for example. “what’s the weather like?” “it’s nice weather,” “it’s sunny,” “it’s stormy,” “it’s hailing.” You can see how the complexity gets deeper and deeper.
Chigusa: Yeah.. If you know a few phrases.. that might be a minute long conversation. If you know more phrases and questions for it, you can stretch that to 3 or 4 minutes.
Peter: Kind of imagine a meteorological conference. They can talk about these small details: high pressure, low-pressure systems. Again, but exactly, Chigusa. That's what you should aim towards. So, our team came up with something called the Can-Do Checklist.
Chigusa: Oh, is this new?
Peter: It is. It’s a checklist of common topics that you should be able to talk about in your target language.
Chigusa: What kind of topics?
Peter: Topics like...your Family, Work, Weather, Talking About Yourself, and where you’re from.
Chigusa: So, common everyday topics.
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: But here’s a question, Peter. What’s the difference between… just learning words, phrases, and grammar rules in general… and learning specific words and phrases for specific topics?
Peter: That’s a good question. I think the nuance is subtle. Being super specific helps with any goal. Let’s just take an example. Say “I want to lose weight” or “I want to save money” versus “I want to lose 5 pounds or 2 kilos” or “I want to save $500 dollars.” You’re more likely to lose 5 pounds or save $500… but because you have something specific to look for and measure.
Chigusa: Yeah, you have a specific number in mind.
Peter: So, with language, you can go try and learn the 2000 most common words. But that will take a long time.
Chigusa: Yeah, and you won’t speak anytime soon either.
Peter: By being specific with what you want, you’re much more likely to get what you want. For example, you’ll be able to talk about your family; you’ll be able to ask someone about their family. And with that, you end up speaking more and more in your target language.
Chigusa: That’s a great point.
Peter: So, the checklist provides these topics. And I used to speak more and reach my goal.
Chigusa: What was your process like?
Peter: Okay, let’s get into the second part.
Chigusa: Part 2. How Peter Hit His Monthly Goal
Peter: So, listeners, by the way, we’ll include a sample of my checklist in the PDF of this Inner Circle. So, the process was quite simple. So, first, I started with a topic.
Chigusa: Which one did you choose?
Peter: So, I started with my family. Recently, I did an analysis of the words I say, and it’s actually the names of my family members that I think have the highest frequency that I say each day. My kids' names. Because I have 3 boys and the family is such a central part of my life, so many of the conversations I have are family-centric, so I need to be able to talk about my family. Their age. What sports they’re into. What we do together. What they like to eat. Based on that topic and based on that, I took the corresponding lessons on HebrewPod101 around the topics - family, hobbies.
Chigusa: Hmm, makes sense.
Peter: Then, what I’d do is..., I'd write the lines I’d want to use in a conversation. First in English, and then I’d translate them. It’s almost a journal in a way. Write down what we did and translate that. So, once I had a list of things to say, I messaged that to my Premium PLUS teacher. Again, I did the translation, then I messaged her the text. She responded with corrections. Then, I read those lines out loud, recording myself, and then sent that to her. Then, she’d correct my speaking and pronunciation. And of course, I’d practice these lines throughout the week so that I’m comfortable saying them and prepared for my live lesson.
Chigusa: I see… So if you think of more things to say for that topic…
Peter: ...You could easily stretch that conversation out and speak for longer. So think about it, Chigusa, in a natural conversation you’re speaking for quite some time on a topic, say about my family, if I’m talking for a long time about my family. What do you think is natural to do when I’m done talking?
Chigusa: Ask the other person questions about that person’s family.
Peter: There you go. So if I’m speaking now for a minute, and then I ask… and when it’s natural, you can always tell it’s natural by the speed of how your teacher’s talking, and if you catch them the right way, they’ll start to speak in natural, native speed… and that’s a big milestone for language, but they’re excited, they actually feel like it’s a natural conversation. So they’ll be speaking and for... My teacher went on for about 2 minutes or so, double my time, which I took as a compliment because it felt like maybe to her… a more natural conversation.
So, it comes down to these 2 things here. First: You need to prepare and practice ahead of time. Practice makes perfect. And second: you need to be specific about what you want to talk about.
Chigusa: That’s really true. I think a lot of language learners just follow a textbook or an app… without trying to get some specific result out of it.
Peter: And for those people, you can have really good results if you’re very self-disciplined, and I don’t know about everyone else, but for me, I need to have that kind of lighthouse, that goal to strive towards, and you know, when I do, I’m much more engaged, I learn faster. If you’re trying to accomplish a specific task…
Chigusa: ...like being able to introduce yourself
Peter: Or...being able to talk about the weather.
Chigusa: Okay, now what can our listeners take away from this?
Peter: Let’s jump into the 3rd part.
Chigusa: Part 3: How You Can Apply This Tactic
Peter: Listeners, first things first. Everybody is different. We have different interests, different hobbies. We have a lot in common, so there are common and general themes, such as "I like food," but Chigusa, what’s your favorite food?
Chigusa: Steamed… bread.
Peter: I think for you, you might want to start with the expression, “I like food” in a language, but then you might need “steamed bread” as a higher frequency word than milk because that’s your individual preference. So… I think that’s why when you set about a goal of speaking about a specific topic, you will then identify the words and vocabulary that are important to you. And this will help you speak longer. And then I will ask more questions. Steamed bread. It’s such an unusual answer, and the conversation will flow much more naturally.
So, remember, the more specific you are with what you want...
Chigusa: ...the more likely you’ll get it, because you know exactly what you’re looking for.
Peter: This is why we tell you to set small, measurable - meaning specific, monthly goals.
Chigusa: Yes, you always want to have a specific goal that you’re working on.
Peter: In the case of being able to speak more….
Chigusa: ...you can also focus on mastering specific topics…
Peter: And go from the top-down….
Chigusa: Pick a topic and then master all the lines, phrases, questions, and words you’d need around that topic.
Peter: So here’s what you can do.
Chigusa: One: Use Peter’s Can-Do Task List. You’ll find this inside the PDF.
Peter: Pick one topic, for example, talking about your family. And take lessons based on that topic. You’ll learn practical conversations that you can use in real life.
Chigusa: Two: Take 5 or 10 minutes and write out other lines that you’d want to use in that conversation…
Peter: ...or questions that someone may ask you, and get them translated with the help of our Premium PLUS teacher.
Chigusa: Three: You can also come up with your own topics that are interesting to you.
Peter: Then, repeat step 2: Come up with all the lines that could come up in that conversation.
Chigusa: The goal here is to be able to talk more about a specific topic…
Peter: ...and as a result, speak more of your target language.
Chigusa: Alright, let’s get back to goals. You hit 15 minutes, Peter. Can you hit 20 minutes by the end of the year?
Peter: We’re going to find out. That is the goal for the year.
Chigusa: Sounds good. So, 20 minutes? Deadline?
Peter: December 31st.
Chigusa: Okay. And listeners, let us know what your small, measurable monthly goal is.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com, and stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye. Everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening!