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 Innovative Language... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Becky: Ever take a break from language learning, lose your progress,
Peter: ...and then, find it hard to get back into your learning routine?
Becky: Today, we’re talking two steps forward, one step back, when it comes to language.
Peter: In other words, making progress, taking a break from language, then losing your progress or some of it...
Becky: ...and how you can make a comeback.
Becky: Welcome back to the Inner Circle listeners...
Peter: We are now in September...
Becky: ...And last month, Peter, you came back from your trip to Italy.
Peter: That’s right.
Becky: And you set a goal of 30 minutes of Italian. Did you reach it?
Peter: I knew you were going to ask that first. The answer is no. I actually dropped to 20 minutes.
Becky: Really. You lost progress?!
Peter: I’m sorry, Becky. The Italy vacation ended up being a “two steps forward, one step back” type of thing.
Becky: I thought it was “one step forward, two steps back.” What do you mean?
Peter: Yeah I actually changed the idiom just a bit. I made a lot of progress hence the “two steps forward” but I lost a little bit, so thats why the “one step back”.
Becky: Oh ok, well you’re a pretty positive guy then!
Peter: Of course you have to stay positive! But, remember how I prepared and prepared for the trip?
Becky: Yeah, and you learned you could never be prepared.
Peter: Right. So up until the vacation, I was up to 25 minutes of Italian conversation.
Becky: And you dropped to 20. I would expect that being in Italy would make your Italian progress faster.
Peter: You would think so right Becky? But that break from my lessons actually set me back quite a bit!
Becky: So listeners, in this Inner Circle Lesson, we’re talking about “two steps forward, one step back”
Peter: And we’re going to cover these 3 points:
Becky: 1) Why you lose progress when you take a break from language
Peter: 2) Why it’s hard to get back into routine after the break
Becky: and 3) How you can make a comeback...
Peter: ...despite these setbacks that even top language learners face.
Becky: I’m still finding it strange that your Italian took a step back while you were actually IN Italy.
Peter: I know it sounds a bit crazy, you’re not wrong in thinking that. I thought that being in Italy would be enough too.
Becky: So, what went wrong?
Peter: Well, remember, with my Italian tutors, I’m constantly learning new grammar and words and putting them to use.
Becky: And maximizing your conversation time.
Peter: Exactly. Italy was completely different. I wasn’t thinking about maximizing my speaking time.
Becky: Right, like you said, you couldn’t be prepared.
Peter: So I was learning on the spot, making mistakes, and adjusting.
Becky: You were learning how to order food properly from local shops and... soliciting honest pizza workers.
Peter: You’re not going to let that go are you? That pizza one was an honest mistake, Becky!
Becky: I’m sorry, I couldn’t forget that one.
Peter: But, back to your point, while I did learn new phrases for ordering food and such...
Becky: ...you weren’t expanding your grammar and overall vocabulary as you would with your tutors.
Peter: You nailed it, Becky. I took a break from my old learning routines.
Becky: But how exactly did you lose progress? You’re still learning regardless, no?
Peter: Great question. So, because learning with tutors and being in Italy are different situations...
Becky: ...you’re learning in different ways?
Peter: You got it! They’re different and one routine really doesn’t translate well into the other.
Becky: Ah, I know what you mean. I jog so I think I’m pretty fit. But then I tagged along with my friend to the gym...
Peter: ...and it didn’t work out as well as you hoped?
Becky: Right! I can run, but I can’t lift heavy weights with my legs. Running isn’t the same as building muscle.
Peter: That’s a great example Becky. In fact, listeners, think of your learning routines as building muscle.
Becky: So, this brings us to our first point.
Peter: Why you lose progress you’ve made when you take a break from language.
Becky: So, with the tutors, you’re exercising conversation, and learning new grammar and vocabulary.
Peter: And that muscle was not being used at the time while I was in Italy. So, what happens when you stop exercising it?
Becky: It gets weaker.
Peter: Exactly. In Italy, I was in pick-up mode. Picking up what I needed for real life situations and using it.
Becky: Ah, I see.
Peter: For example, instead of continuing to grow my grammar and vocabulary, I’d review the phrases I’d need for the bakery shop or the pizza parlor.
Becky: And that’s a whole different muscle or learning routine.
Peter: Exactly,now, the learning routines I had with my tutors...
Becky: ...They were pretty much unused, huh?
Peter: ...yep, and like a muscle, they got weaker.
Becky: As did most everything you learned before you went on vacation.
Peter: And that’s why, it’s “two steps forward, one step back” after taking a break. I forgot quite a bit of grammar and vocabulary I learned a few months ago and used every week with my tutor.
Becky: Your tutors are probably pretty disappointed in you.
Peter: To be honest it was shocking, my tutor thought that we’d have a better conversation but, it was actually worse.
Becky: Uh no...
Peter: In addition when I got back I was quite busy and I actually missed the first 2 lessons.
Becky: You know, maybe you should’ve been maintaining your old routines.
Peter: I should have. Maintaining a routine is in fact the best solution.
Becky: I can understand Italy, but you’ve been back for a whole month. Why weren’t you maintaining your learning routines this month?
Peter: Well mum, let’s get into the second point:
Becky: Why it’s hard to get back into routine after the break.
Peter: Listeners, have you ever taken a break from language learning
Becky:... and found it hard to bounce back? Why does this happen?
Peter: Three reasons. The first one is something we just talked about.
Becky: Comparing your language learning routine to muscles?
Peter: Right. If you stop exercising a muscle...
Becky: ...it becomes weaker over time.
Peter: And you know, staying in a routine, is also, essentially working on consistency or routine muscle.
Becky: When you stop doing it, it becomes harder to come back and stick with it.
Peter: Your routine muscle gets weak. Which is why I couldn’t really get back into this month.
Becky: And the second reason?
Peter: The second reason is a personal one but I bet every listener can relate.
Becky: Oh, what is it?
Peter: I simply had no time. Life happened.
Becky: Listeners, every language learner comes across this issue.
Peter: Have you ever had to take a break simply because you had no time? Let us know in the comments.
Becky: Time is always an issue when it comes to long term goals like language learning.
Peter: Especially right after vacation. I came back. kids start school. Work has been piling up.There’s just not enough time.
Becky: All at once hey? It’s like a perfect storm that sank your Italian learning ship.
Peter: That’s a great way of putting it Becky, my battleship was sunk and because there was work piled up and new challenges.
Becky: So what do you mean?
Peter: Well remember when I first set my routine? I said location is a very important part of routine. Becky we moved, as in we moved our house.
Becky: Really? And then?
Peter: Well I used to study in my living room from 9pm in the old house.
Becky: Ah, yes, I remember you created that routine earlier this year.
Peter: So, now we live in a new place, the rooms are different, the environment is different. My computer is different.Everything is different.
Becky: And you’re not used to it?
Peter: This also broke my old routine.
Becky: Listeners, while it may sound minor, set routines are often based on time and location.
Peter: Like, if it’s 10PM and you’re home, you automatically go and brush your teeth.
Becky: Simply because it’s 10PM and it’s just one of those things you do at that time.
Peter: And when one of these changes, the whole routine can fall apart.
Becky: And the third reason?
Peter: Now the third one is that new routines get in the way of old routines.
Becky: Wait, what do you mean?
Peter: Well, now that the kids are in school, I’ve started helping them with homework.
Becky: In the evening, right?
Peter: Do you have kids too? Because yep, right, around 8PM. And this is when I’d usually review for my 9PM lessons.
Becky: So, no time to review. Okay, so clearly it’s important to maintain your routines.
Peter: And this month has been an absolute disaster. But, I’ve made a plan...
Becky: ...about how to get back and maintain your learning routine?
Peter: You got it. So, let’s get into the 3rd point.
Becky: How you can make a comeback and maintain your learning routines.
Peter: Now, coming back isn’t very easy. I had a pretty heavy learning routine.
Becky: I remember. You studied with the Innovative Language 101 App on your morning commutes.
Peter: Then I had Skype lessons with my tutor on weekday nights.
Becky: And then you added in-person tutor sessions. So that was a heavy load already.
Peter: Becky, it was and that’s why it was so hard to come back after taking a break.
Becky: Right, It’s like taking a break from anything, you lose progress...
Peter: Same thing with gym. If you come back from a break, you literally won’t be able to lift as much as you did before...
Becky: ...so you have to start off light.
Peter: That’s my plan actually with Italian.
Becky: So what’s the plan?
Peter: I’ll keep my Italian tutors. My skype tutor sessions are on Friday and my in-person sessions are on Saturdays.
Becky: So both of those are for 1 hour?
Peter: The in-person one, yes. Remember, I doubled the Skype sessions to two hours. I’ll scale that down to 1 hour on Friday nights.
Becky: Excellent.
Peter: And I’ll keep my morning commute with the Innovative Language 101 App.
Becky: How about your weekday self-study sessions? You did 1 hour for 5 days a week.
Peters: That’s what I’m going easy on. Instead of 1 hour, I’ll do 30 minutes a night.
Becky: 30 minutes seem really manageable.
Peter: So Monday through Friday, I’ll have 30 minute self study sessions plus a 1 hour skype lesson on Fridays.
Becky: And a 1 hour in-person tutor session on Saturdays right.
Peter: And the morning commutes with the app. That’s 30 minutes and an easy routine to maintain.
Becky: Great! It sounds like you’re getting back on track.
Peter: Well... not exactly.
Becky: No?
Peter: I still have to maintain these new routines... which so far has been tough. You’ll have to find out next month if I manage to turn it around.
Becky: Okay. But listeners, remember, to bounce back from a break...
Peter: You need to do two things. One: realize that you have to start small.
Becky: You can’t just go heavy after a 2 week break of not learning language.
Peter: And two: Create new, lighter learning routines that you can actually maintain. Remember, small and easy is enough to get you back into the language.
Becky: Otherwise, if you jump from taking a break to studying 2 hours a day, you’ll probably give up.
Peter: Pretty quickly, so listeners, if you’re struggling with setting and maintaining routines...
Becky: Like Peter...
Peter: Like me. Inside the Inner Circle PDF, we’ve provided you with a weekly plan to help you arrange your routine.
Becky: Look for the PDF on the blog page of this lesson.
Peter: And finally, be sure to set your monthly goal.
Becky: So you’ve been promising us 30 minutes for a while now, Peter.
Peter: I’m not going to promise it this month Becky. Since there’s a lot to catch up on... lets try for 27 minutes a little above my old goal.
Becky: 27 minutes? Listeners, let us know what your monthly goal is...
Peter: Let us know, did you ever take a break from language? Why did it happen?
Becky: Did you find it hard to get back into a routine? Be sure to leave us a comment.
Peter: So over these past two months I’ve taken “two steps forward, and then one huge step back” in my Italian progress.
Becky: And you still need to get started on your new routine and maintain it.
Peter: I know. You’ll have to wait and see how that works out in the next Inner Circle.


Becky: Okay, 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.