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 7 Skills You'll Need for Language Mastery
Chigusa: You'll Learn...
Peter: One: How I Hit My Speaking Goal… and Spoke Better Russian This Month.
Chigusa: And Two: How You Practice the 7 Skills with Our Program
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 how to speak more of your target language...
Chigusa: ...with something called… a language learning profile.
Peter: ...Which is simply your personal information. Your name. Age. Where you're from. Your job. Your interests….
Chigusa: ...and based on your personal information, you learn the words and phrases so you can talk about yourself... in your language.
Peter: And I used that to hit my goal last time.
Chigusa: What about this time, Peter? I think you promised the same goal - 7 minutes of conversation in Russian.
Peter: I did. But I wanted to have a more quality conversation this time around, Chigusa. Usually, when I try to hit a goal - I'll bring up old topics to extend the conversation… just to hit that time goal, but that doesn't make for a good, natural conversation…
Chigusa: No, I don't think it does….
Peter: ...Which is something I want to have in any language I learn.
Chigusa: I see. So, how did you do this time?
Peter: Chigusa, I hit my goal. And I did much better in the conversation… well, at least according to my teacher.
Chigusa: That's great! Did you do anything different this time? It sounds like you had to change your approach to have a better conversation.
Peter: You're right. I needed to have a more comprehensive approach… So this past month, I did an experiment. Instead of focusing just on speaking, I focused on the 7 language skills.
Chigusa: The 7 language skills?
Peter: And that's the topic of this Inner Circle.
Chigusa: The 7 Skills You'll Need for Language Mastery
Peter: So, let's jump into the first part of this Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Part 1: How Peter Hit His Speaking Goal… and Spoke Better Russian This Month.
Chigusa: So, Peter, what are the 7 skills? I'm guessing speaking, listening, reading…?
Peter: Very good. Speaking, reading, writing, listening, vocabulary, grammar, and… culture.
Chigusa: But you usually focus on speaking. Why do all 7?
Peter: That's a great question, Chigusa. I think all of us - as learners - want to speak and understand the language. So we focus usually on speaking.
Chigusa: Yeah.
Peter: And there are learners who like to start with reading. But, what happens is… you get good at maybe one thing if you overfocus on it. So, for example, like reading...
Chigusa: ...yeah, but you can't speak well.
Peter: Exactly. Or, you focus on speaking, but you skip out on reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar… so you never really become truly fluent...and you can't talk above a certain level. Or, you can speak highly on things you know about, but not other areas. So….
Chigusa: Yeah, so you end up being unbalanced.
Peter: Exactly. In my case, I want to have a more quality conversation in Russian. And to do that, I can't focus on just speaking alone. I need to bring the other skills in.
Chigusa: Peter, I think all skills complement and improve each other anyway. If you learn grammar or practice writing, it will also improve speaking in some ways.
Peter: Exactly. If you're practicing listening, there can be speaking involved. You can still pick up words and reinforce grammar points as you listen. You can use those same words and grammar rules during speaking practice. Listening is involved in speaking too. And if you're reading out loud, that helps with speaking. So they all complement each other. Each skill complements the other skills.
Chigusa: And with culture?
Peter: So, with culture, you need to have things to talk about with native speakers. And in certain languages, you'll need to talk in a certain way to people who are older or are more senior to you. So there's a lot of grammar tied into language.
Chigusa: Right, so, listeners, you should focus on the 7 skills of language learning to... One: avoid being imbalanced.
Peter: Two: It'll help you learn faster. Mixing up skills like this is called interleaving. It's a learning tactic where you use different forms of practice...
Chigusa: For example, if you're learning words, you can read them, then say them, write them out, study them with flashcards… and doing so will help you remember better.
Peter: And three: all of these skills feed into each other and improve your overall language.
Chigusa: Yeah, only focusing on one skill like speaking…
Peter: You might get good with the phrases you've practiced, but that's - you're going to hit some limits. You can talk about where you're from and that you're learning the language… but you can't have an in-depth conversation with a native speaker. Or, if you can, it tends to be the areas that you focus on. If you try to go outside those areas that you know well, they'll notice that you've hit a limit. This happened to me in my early days of learning Japanese, Chigusa.
Chigusa; Really? What happened?
Peter: I got really good at giving directions to taxi drivers in Japanese… so they thought I was fluent, and then, they'd try to have a conversation with me…
Chigusa: And you had no idea what they were saying.
Peter: Exactly. I just nodded along. I couldn't understand what they were saying. I could give directions… but that's it. In a lot of ways, that was very disappointing. And that motivated me to become more well-rounded in Japanese. And I'm applying that approach to Russian.
Chigusa: How did you do it this past month?
Peter: Every day, I'd focus on a different skill. Monday was listening, next day speaking, then reading, writing, and so on.
Chigusa: So, 7 days a week, and 1 skill per day.
Peter: Exactly. But remember, even though I'm focusing on one skill a day, I'm still using other skills. For example, on Monday, I'd listen to RussianPod101 audio lessons on the Level 1 pathway. So the main focus of this is listening comprehension. And as I'm listening, I can't help but shadow the conversation…
Chigusa: So you're practicing speaking.
Peter: Again, exactly. For those of you not familiar with shadowing, I'm speaking along as I'm listening to the Russian conversation - trying my best. And all of a sudden, I take that listening exercise, and I'm turning it into speaking. I'm picking up words and grammar that I note down in my notebook. So, while it's mostly listening… other skills are coming in anyway.
Chigusa: Now, how did you practice speaking?
Peter: Speaking would be Tuesday. And here, I go back to the lessons I listened to, and I'll shadow the dialog 5 or 6 times. Then, I'll record that and send it to my teacher for feedback. So, that's the speaking practice. For writing, I just copy out the dialogue from the lessons. Then I'll send a picture of my writing to my Premium PLUS teacher so she'll check my writing and… the first ones... not so pretty. But it gets better and better. Then for the grammar day, I'd write out example sentences - and then you can see I'm involving writing here.
Chigusa: I see. Yeah, so even though you're focusing on 1 skill a day, you still end up using others.
Peter: Exactly. With reading, I'm using our extensive reading or guided reading books. Again, here, I'm picking up words and grammar. Vocabulary and grammar. And I can then reinforce those vocabulary words on my vocab day with the flashcards.
Chigusa: So, Peter, how do you think this approach helped you hit your speaking goal this time?
Peter: For me personally, the reading was probably the most helpful. And the reason is...when you're reading a book, inside of the book, they're using vocabulary usually clustered around a topic. So, if you're talking about forest animals, Chigusa, think of a forest animal...
Chigusa: Rabbit
Peter: Fast! Nice. But see how quickly you can come up with that? So inside we have rabbit, wolf, bear, then we're talking about these terms all clustered around a forest, so I wove that into the conversation I was having and when we think of a fairy tale that kind of ties to the forest, and we're thinking about a wolf, what would you think of?
Chigusa: Little red riding hood.
Peter: Yeah, okay! Nice. I was thinking of "Peter and the Wolf." But you see now how we're having this natural conversation. And then I was able to tie these words to the conversation, and even though I didn't know the words for fairy tale inside of Russian, I was able to say, "Oh, I read this book, and it had a wolf, and it had a Peter," and the teacher said, "We call that Peter and the Wolf in Russian." And this natural conversation developed. Culture also … When we finished that topic, we moved on to a culture point about a Russian holiday, and we spent several - about a minute talking about that. And again, once you get a native speaker speaking, they kind of forget that they're teaching, and I didn't understand many words, but it gave me a chance to do some listening and jot down some words. "Hey, can we stop there? I didn't understand what you said about these words." But the conversation becomes a little more natural.
Chigusa: Sometimes, when I talk to non-native Japanese speakers, I totally forget that they're non-native because they're so good, and I totally forget to slow down.
Peter: And then you're speaking really, really fast, and you know, I think this stuff really helps. And as I was mentioning before, I think by studying these 7 skills, I was able to stay on topic and express myself in more ways, ask more questions… rather than changing the topics so I could prolong the conversations with old topics we already went over that are not as interesting. Makes it feel more like a classroom than a true conversation. Also, the grammar stuck a little bit better. I had some grammar goals because I studied some things, so I wanted to try and use that - apply that inside of the lessons - so I was able to express myself better. For example, we were talking about the weather...and if you know the basics, you could only kind of say "the weather is good" or "the weather is bad."
Chigusa: Yeah, that's a basic A is B sentence format
Peter: Exactly. But you don't just want to have basic, surface-level conversations, right?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So, if you know some more sentence structures, you can say things like "Today's weather is better than yesterday" or "What's the weather like in your country in this season?" And these types of things help make it feel more like a natural conversation two native speakers would have rather than an actual lesson. So, writing out examples is another way to help, and it really helped reinforce this. So, I felt by studying these 7 skills. They were all able to reinforce certain skills that I needed for applying it when we were speaking.
Chigusa: So, it all helps with speaking.
Peter: And yeah, All skills feed into each other and improve one another. You know, but if you're only focusing on one thing…..
Chigusa: Yea, then your language skills won't really grow.
Peter: You'll be good at one thing but bad at other things… or not as good at other things. Like that taxi example. You can remember the phrases and give directions in perfect Japanese, so the cab driver thinks you're fluent, tries to make a conversation... and the conversation never takes off because you don't understand. And it's such a strange thing. That window. Human senses are so perceptive that your ability to answer quickly with the right thing or say the right thing can change someone's opinion so quickly, right?
Chigusa: Right. So, Peter, what about our listeners? How can they take advantage?
Peter: Let's jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How You Practice the 7 Skills with Our Program
Peter: So listeners, if you want to take your language to the next level…
Chigusa: You'll need to incorporate all 7 skills in your study routine.
Peter: Speaking, reading, writing, listening, vocab, grammar, and… culture.
Chigusa: Why do this?
Peter: One) to avoid becoming imbalanced — or good at one skill and bad at the rest.
Chigusa: Two) this is a learning tactic called interleaving - where you mix up what you learn… or the skills you practice…
Peter: ...and doing so increases your retention.
Chigusa: And three) because they all feed into each other and improve your language overall.
Peter: So, here's how you can practice each skill with our learning program, and one of the most unique things about our program is that you can actually practice all 7 skills with it.
Chigusa: First, for speaking, shadow the conversations in our lesson dialogs
Peter: And if that's too hard, read the dialogues out loud… and go slowly, at your own pace.
Chigusa: Use our voice recording tool to practice saying each line of the conversation
Peter: And you can send recordings of yourself to your Premium Plus teacher
Chigusa: For listening, simply take our lessons, and listen to the conversations.
Peter: You can also download the dialog tracks and review the conversations...without the translations.
Chigusa: And take our listening comprehension lessons
Peter: For reading, listen to the audio and follow along with the lesson notes or transcripts so that you don't miss a single word
Chigusa: Take our reading comprehension video lessons
Peter: Or, you can use our extensive reading books.
Chigusa: For writing, write out the lesson dialogues.
Peter: And write out the words, phrases, and grammar rules that you come across.
Chigusa: You can also try and create your own sample sentences…
Peter: And you can send them to your Premium PLUS teacher for corrections.
Chigusa: For grammar, you'll come across grammar rules in our lessons…
Peter: Write the rules down, try and create your own sentences…
Chigusa: And keep taking the lessons and keep on reading. You'll come across these rules over and over again.
Peter: For vocabulary, use our spaced repetition flashcards to master the words
Chigusa: And of course, write them down in a notebook, say them out loud….
Peter: And save them in the Word Bank so you can come back to them to review later.
Chigusa: And for culture, take our lessons…
Peter: You'll pick up culture tips along the way. Check out our Culture Class lesson series as well.
Chigusa: You can do one skill a day like Peter did…
Peter: Or, you can also try all in one study lesson. Listen to the lesson. Repeat what you hear for speaking. Write out the dialogue. Review the vocabulary with the slideshow. Practice the grammar rules. And note down the cultural tips.
Chigusa: Or, focus on two skills a day. Pair up listening and speaking.
Peter: The next day, do reading and writing. And then vocabulary and grammar.
Chigusa: And then culture.
Peter: And again, Chigusa, I think one of the very unique selling propositions or unique things about our system is the fact that you can study all 7 of these skills with our program. So, we'll be talking more about this in the coming lessons, but this ability to actually have a balanced study approach is very, very powerful.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter, let's get back to goals. What's your goal for next month?
Peter: Let's see. I think I will try for 8 minutes. I know it's a small jump: 8 minutes of speaking. I know it's a small jump, but I think I'm going to go for higher quality conversations - again utilizing the 7 skill approach. And last time, I was doing 1 skill a day - focusing on that one skill a day. And I think what I'll do this time is what we mentioned before - is try to practice more of the skills each day, maybe by listening to a lesson, speaking, and then writing it out. So, every day, I'll be honest, was tough. So my schedule was a bit disrupted. So I think I'll try everything every other day and see how I progress with that. And we'll shoot for just a minimum of one more minute.
Chigusa: Great. Deadline?
Peter: The deadline is June 30th.
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: Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.