Monday, October 24, 2016

IWTYAL 142: Master Your Memory Part 2

The second part of a video series by Olly Richards focusing on techniques to help foreign language learners improve their ability to remember vocabulary.

I had to watch this one because I want to learn more words! I like to watch videos to see what has worked for other people.

I enjoyed this video because Olly Richards reminds me why I don't like flash cards. Using flash cards hasn't really helped me in the past. As he explains, it is because I wasn't making the associations needed to make the repetition of vocabulary useful. Even when I was spending hours adding photos to my Anki cards, I got tired of using all my time creating the flash cards cards.

Basically, my main "system" for learning vocabulary is what Olly Richards describes in this video as mass input. I have taken control of where I get my mass input because I'm a paid subscriber at LingQ. On their site I read and listen to podcasts, or I also import information from other sources.

I don't start to "study" vocabulary until I realize that I'm having problems memorizing a word. How do I know I'm having a problem? At LingQ, their is a system makes it very easy to identify strong or weak words.

Incidentally, I have lived for several months in a country where I was surrounded by my target language. Before I left the English speaking world, I had stopped my membership at LingQ because I knew I wouldn't have reliable Internet. Once I got to the other country, I missed being able to control the repetition so much that half-way through my trip, I enrolled again at LingQ.

Here are some ideas I've used to work with problem words...

I don't like flash cards. I don't even use them at LingQ (often). Instead, I write problem words and sample sentences in my language notebook. I get my repetition because if I'm still having trouble with a word, I write more sample sentences in my language notebook.

The closest I've come to using the concept of flash cards is that I write words on sticky notes and place them near every day items in my home. I typically add short sentences and phrases to the sticky notes. Every time I am doing my laundry, I practice reading and saying "throw it in the washing machine" in my target language.

And now for episode 3...