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: The Power of Having a Plan &A Progress Tracking Cheat Sheet
Chigusa: You'll Learn...
Peter: One: The Power of Having a Plan
Chigusa: And Two: How to Set Your Learning Plan in Motion
Peter: 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 the 7 skills you need for language mastery...
Chigusa: ...and how to master them with our program. And Peter, you also promised us... 8 minutes of Russian conversation, right?
Peter: That’s right. I promised to go from 7 to 8 minutes… which is actually not that much Chigusa,...
Chigusa: Yeah...
Peter: But nowadays, I'm not doing speaking, so I'm actually trying to practice all 7 skills.
Chigusa: So, how'd you do?
Peter: I did. I reached 8 minutes.
Chigusa: Great! Did you do anything different this time around? I feel like practicing all 7… can be a bit much.
Peter: Actually, I did do something different… I've been using something called the Progress Tracking Cheat Sheet. It's a simple weekly progress report, but… it's the strategy behind it that makes all the difference.
Chigusa: Oh, I wonder what the strategy is.
Peter: That's the topic of this Inner Circle.
Chigusa: The Power of Having a Plan &A Progress Tracking Cheat Sheet
Peter: So, as you know… now that I'm focusing on all aspects of the language - speaking, reading, writing and so on… there's a bit more for me to do.
Chigusa: Yeah, it sounds like you have more to do. I was worried you wouldn't hit your goal.
Peter: Yes, it’s again, adjusting your routine to fit your schedule that’s the key component. But, let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part One: The Power of Having a Plan
Peter: Chigusa, first, here's a question for you. When you want to learn a language… What's your plan?
Chigusa: Not sure if I have a plan. I guess download an app… or find a book?
Peter: That's a great answer.
Chigusa: Really? Because it's kind of hard to know… what the right answer is.
Peter: Again, you're right. I think beginners and experienced learners alike… struggle here. Language learning is a big journey - there's a lot to do - so… it's hard to say what the right answer is… what’s right for one, may not be right for another so, outside of maybe starting with the alphabet.
Chigusa: Yeah, it's hard to know.
Peter: The reason I ask is… think about any big or long-term project, for example... learning to play a musical instrument, writing a book, starting a business, making a song… Chigusa, have you done any of these?
Chigusa: Yeah, I used to take piano lessons.
Peter: And when you try to accomplish a goal like that for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming and maybe even stressful, right?
Chigusa: Yeah, it seems complicated. It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around it.
Peter: Now, take someone who's already done that. They made a song, they learned an instrument, they wrote a book, or in our case, we’ve learned a language or 2.
Chigusa: For them… it's probably easier because they've done it a few times, right?
Peter: Exactly. Because they've done it, they know what to do, and they have a plan in their heads. What to do first, what to do second, and so on. So, having that plan is powerful… because it takes all the guesswork out of the equation, so you can actually work on and focus on your goal…. Instead of worrying about how to reach your goal.
Chigusa: What about you, Peter? Do you have a plan in place?
Peter: Actually, Chigusa, the first few times I tried to tackle a goal, I didn’t really have a plan. In fact, when I first started learning Japanese... and for many years… I didn’t have a clear plan.
Chigusa: Really? I always thought you did!
Peter: You'd be surprised. I was hoping the textbooks would take care of the rest, or the teachers would take care of everything - leading me from zero to hero - sort of way. But now after going through the cycle a few times and learning that everybody needs to come up with a plan for themselves because it’s kind of a personal journey, right? What works for one may not work for another. So, I do have a process in place - and setting goals, setting routines, and doing a schedule assessment - what we talk about in the earlier Inner circle episodes - these things actually work across all goals.
Chigusa: Ah, yes. But, what about this past month? How did you stick with learning… and tackling all 7 skills?
Peter: It's actually not too different from a workout plan….
Chigusa: Like, on Monday, you do one thing. Tuesday, you do another thing?
Peter: Exactly. In my case, on Mondays, I focused on speaking and listening. On Wednesdays, I did reading and writing. Saturday is for vocabulary and grammar.
Chigusa: And culture?
Peter: Well, I do that when I'm listening to RussianPod101 lessons, or reading through the lesson notes. So, on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Chigusa: Ah, I see.
Peter: And I'd put in about 30 minutes to an hour, give or take. But my absolute minimum… is 15 minutes per study session.
Chigusa: And that's your rule. 15 minutes at least.
Peter: Exactly. Whenever I'm learning Russian, it has to be at least 15 minutes. Nothing below that.
Chigusa: Okay, so you came up with a plan. How does the cheat sheet come in?
Peter: So, our team designed a cheat sheet, and it has 2 goals. The first one, you get all the ways to practice each skill. So, if you take a look at speaking, you can see tips like... shadow the conversation, use the voice recorder… and now you know what to do. Again, think of the gym. And if it’s kind of like if you’re working out your arms, it's like having a list of exercises for your arms.
Chigusa: And the second goal?
Peter: The second goal is the weekly plan… which keeps me on track. Inside the cheat sheet, there's a 7-day planner for the week…, and I'll print it out every, well not every week, but at least twice a month and write in it to plan for the next week. So, for example, on Monday, I'll listen to 1 RussianPod101 lesson, then listen to the dialogue 3 times, and shadow the conversation 5 times. Then I'll check off the list once done.
Chigusa: So the cheat sheet helps you set a plan… and stick with it.
Peter: Exactly. So, at the surface level, it seems hard… Reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, vocabulary, culture...
Chigusa: Yes, it does!
Peter: But… once you stick with it for a week, it’s easy to do. And it's all thanks to the plan. Once you see the plan and the specific things you do… it's easier to get them done.
Chigusa: And if you don't have a plan to stick with, then…
Peter: Well, you're reducing your chances of success.
Chigusa: So, what about our listeners, how can they take advantage of this?
Peter: Let's jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Set Your Learning Plan in Motion
Peter: So listeners, remember, having a plan - the specific steps on what to do - takes the guesswork out of language learning...
Chigusa: ...and it's what separates learners who improve and reach their goals... from learners who make no progress.
Peter: In fact, having an imperfect plan is better than no plan…
Chigusa: Because, at the very least, you start taking action and start making progress. And if you have no plan…
Peter: ...then you have nothing to stick to, and you won't hit your goals.
Chigusa: So, how can you apply this to your language learning?
Peter: If you don't have a plan already… Here's the first thing you can do.
Chigusa: Number one: Follow our recommended learning pathway.
Peter; This is the simplest approach. Our recommended pathway lays out all the steps for you - all the lessons you need to take and the assessments to do…
Chigusa: ..and the pathway will take you from Absolute Beginner all the way up to Advanced.
Peter: Just follow the pathway. Do the lessons, do the assessments, and that's it.
Chigusa: Just do 1 or 2 lessons a day and stick with it.
Peter: If you're not ready to mix up your learning routine and want something easy, start here.
Chigusa: Number two: Use our progress tracking cheat sheet.
Peter: You'll find this in the back of the Inner CIrcle's accompanying PDF.
Chigusa: On the cheat sheet, you'll see all the ways to practice each of the 7 language skills.
Peter: ...as well as a weekly planner… where you can write your weekly plan out. If you've been sticking with our recommended pathway…. but want to start practicing other skills, you can use this approach.
Chigusa: You can take Peter's approach and do 2 skills a day for a few days of the week.
Peter: In my case, I did speaking and listening on Mondays, reading, and writing on Wednesdays, and vocabulary and grammar on Saturdays. Culture on Mondays and Wednesdays along with the RussianPod101 audio lessons.
Chigusa: So print out the cheat sheet every week, write out your plan for the week, and stick with it.
Peter: The third thing you can do is… if you're a Premium PLUS user...
Chigusa: Your teacher will create a custom learning plan for you...
Peter: ...based on your weaknesses and assessment test results.
Chigusa: Now, Peter, what if our listeners have their own routine and plan?
Peter: Well, that's great. Stick with that. Usually, the plans that you set yourself are a lot easier to follow because you've tailored them to your schedule and learning style. Listeners, if you do have one, share it with us. What's your weekly learning routine? What are the specific steps for the week? Send us an email at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter, let's talk goals. What's your plan for next month?
Peter: 10 minutes of conversation.
Chigusa: Great. Deadline?
Peter: The deadline is July 31st.
Chigusa: Okay. Listeners, how about you?
Peter: What's your small, measurable monthly goal? And what's the deadline?
Chigusa: Let us know.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: 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: Thank you for listening, and we'll see you next time.