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: Are You Putting in Enough Hours into Your Language?
Chigusa: You'll Learn...
Peter: One: How to Know if You’re on Track with Your Language
Chigusa: And Two: 5 Ways to Find More Time &Learn the Language Faster.
Peter: All so you can master your language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to boost your motivation...and bounce back after missing a goal.
Chigusa: And Peter, you also promised 12 minutes of Russian conversation for August, right?
Peter: I did.
Chigusa: And? How did it go?
Peter: Fail. Well, I reached 10 minutes, Chigusa. So, I hit last month’s goal that I failed to reach… but not quite 12 minutes.
Chigusa: So, you missed the 12-minute goal. What happened?
Peter: Well, I think Chigusa, you know, once you miss one goal - in our heads it’s “well I'll just do double the work” - but you know it’s always so hard to fully bounce back. So, it takes a little more time than we think it does to get the train back on the track.
Chigusa: So, you’re at 10 now... and it’s the end of August... And you wanted to have 30 minutes of Russian conversation by the end of the year.
Peter: Yes, let's see, in the past I’ve changed the goal but this time, I want to stick with it and I think the reason I do is… well the topic of this inner circle and it has to do with time.
Chigusa: Right, so then what will you do? What do you do if you’re not on pace to hit a goal you wanted?
Peter: Again, I can do one of two things: lower my expectations or you can extend your deadline. But I'm going to go for case number 3, and that is, I’m going to put in more time over the next few months… but Chigusa, again, it’s been a very busy year, as has many… as it always is ..and pandemic right now so it’s a little tough.
Chigusa: Yeah… But you still need to step it up Peter.
Peter: You’re right. I need to step it up. I’m not on track with my goals… and I’m not on track with the pace of a normal language learner.
Chigusa: What’s the pace of a normal language learner?
Peter: And that’s the topic of today’s Inner Circle. I’ll explain it in just a bit.
Chigusa: Are You Putting in Enough Hours into Your Language?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part 1. How to Know if You’re on Track with Your Language
Peter: So, when you start with a language goal — or any goal — in your early stages, you’re mostly focused on sticking with it. But eventually, you reach a point… where you want to start reaching some external milestones. Whether it’s passing a test or a competition or getting a certificate.
Chigusa: Like if you’re learning to drive, you’d want to get a license.
Peter: Or with martial arts, there are belts, right? So, with any goal, you want to start reaching these external milestones where someone else judges your abilities. Where you can’t just assess yourself.
Chigusa: Yeah, I think it’s a natural thing to do.
Peter: Exactly. In my case, with languages, I set my own goals. And these are, you could say, arbitrary goals. But, it's also good to compare yourself to the pace of a normal language learner… like someone studying a language at university.
Chigusa: But Peter, here’s a question - why compare yourself to someone learning in university?
Peter: That's a great question. Chigusa, imagine a normal language learner. What comes to mind?
Chigusa: ….Hmmm, I’d imagine it’s someone learning on their own at home.
Peter: And that could very well be the case. But it’s kind of hard to know how much time and effort self-learners are putting into language, right? Noone really tracks them.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: But with a university language program... you have the numbers to compare yourself against… because everything is measured there. So if you take 1 year of classes… or 2 semesters, that ends up being around what… 2 or 300 hours of both... In-class and outside-of-class time put in.
Chigusa: Right, a 3-credit class is about 45 hours total of in-class time for a semester, so… 90 hours for 2 semesters…
Peter: Exactly. And you’re recommended to study about 2-3 hours for every hour you put in… so 90 times 2 is 180, add that to the 90 and you get 270.
Chigusa: Are you close to that number, Peter?
Peter: Chigusa, I’m not even close! In fact, I did not do the recommended 2 hours for every hour when I was in university.
Chigusa: What’s your routine like nowadays?
Peter: So, this is really the main point of today’s lesson and where you should start to think for yourself. Nowadays, I do 1 class a week, plus 1 hour outside of that, so it’s 2 hours… and if I stick with that for a year, that’s about 100 hours.
Chigusa: So, you’re comparing yourself against university hours because it gives you a benchmark to measure against, right?
Peter: That’s right. That’s just one example of an external benchmark. You can compare yourself against the CEFR…
Chigusa: CEFR - The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
Peter: ...which many language schools and universities use to assess your language. So level A1 is absolute beginner and C2… is proficient, like a native.
Chigusa: Right, and it takes a certain number of hours to reach A1, then A2. I think with French, you need 200 hours to reach A2. And it’s probably more for Japanese or Russian.
Peter: So, the CEFR is another benchmark you can use to see how you stack up.
Chigusa: Or you can aim for something like the proficiency test.
Peter: But, listeners, the biggest lesson here is… language learning is a function of time. I’ll say this again, language learning, much like most things, is a function of time. So, how much time should you put in? What should you aim for?
Chigusa: This is where the CEFR scale or required hours for university classes come in.
Peter: You can use those as benchmarks.
Chigusa: So, you can see how many hours you need to put in….
Peter ...or see how far off you are.
Chigusa: Peter, at your rate… you’ll put in 100 hours for the year… so I think you need to put in more time! Do you have any plans for that?
Peter: And now we can go back to the beginning of why I said I’d like to try and reach my original goal. 2 hours in a week is not easy to find. And you can see 2 hours in a week is not enough. So where am I going to find that extra time? So I have to sit back down and go through one of the basic steps of finding more time inside a routine. Now, we help make your study time more effective by putting a lot of time into the production of language learning materials, into the academics behind the content that goes out, but still you have to put in the time. So I will start this month bumping myself up to 3 hours and that’s a massive amount of time. That’s another hour in the week that I haven't been able to find this year, so it’s going to be very challenging.
Chigusa: Wishing you good luck, Peter. Now, what about for our listeners - what can they get out of this?
Peter: Let’s get into part 2:
Chigusa: Part 2: 5 Ways to Find More Time &Learn the Language Faster.
Peter: So, listeners, once you determine that number of hours you want to compare yourself against...
Chigusa: ...whether it’s the number of hours you’d need in university classes…
Peter: ...or the hours recommended by the CEFR….
Chigusa… once you know the numbers… and how much you’re putting in…
Peter: Then, it becomes a matter of “How do I put in more time into language learning?”
Chigusa: ...or how can you speed up your learning progress… and learn in less time.
Peter: Listeners, if you’re wondering how many hours it takes to reach various levels within your target language…
Chigusa: Then you should know that it varies from language to language.
Peter: So, your first step would be to google CEFR levels and your target language.. And look up the approximate hours.
Chigusa: Now, how can you speed up your learning progress?
Peter: First thing you can do is… learn with a teacher — whether it’s with our group classes, or our Premium Plus plan…
Chigusa: ...or your own tutor from elsewhere.
Peter: The reason is… having that human connection boosts your motivation, allows you to get more feedback...
Chigusa: ...and improve faster.
Peter: And that’s why I always get an in-person tutor when I approach any language.
Chigusa: Number two: Learn with proven learning tactics…
Peter: Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time and miss out on progress.
Chigusa: Peter, what do you mean by proven learning tactics?
Peter: For example, if you read a textbook alone, it’s not as good as reading a textbook and testing yourself.
Chigusa: I see.
Peter: Exactly. But testing yourself helps you remember better because you’re using something called active recall… a learning tactic that has been studied and shown to work.
Chigusa: Hmm, interesting,
Peter: We also just talked about feedback which is super important for learning. Then, there’s spaced repetition… which we offer with our flashcards.
Chigusa: And spaced repetition is where you review words or a grammar point over a spaced period of time.
Peter: So, you’ll see it on day 1, then on day 2, then day 5, day 9, and so on.
Chigusa: And with every repetition, your memory becomes stronger.
Peter: Then, there’s the 80/20 principle, where you focus on 20% that will give you 80% of the results. With language, instead of learning all the words in the language, you should start with the 100 most commonly used words, then the 200 most common words…
Chigusa: ...which you can do with our word lists. We offer the 2000 most common words inside the vocabulary section of our site…
Peter: ...and you can learn them with our flashcards.
Chigusa: Another example is shadowing…. Where you repeat the conversation as you hear it - to improve your speaking.
Peter: That’s a great example, Chigusa. And listeners, you can do that with our audio and video lessons.
Chigusa: Okay, number three: Add more time to your routine.
Peter: So, how can you find more time? The trick is… to start with small study sessions and stick with them.
Chigusa: Eventually, you’ll start seeing results, you’ll start feeling more motivated…
Peter: ...and you’ll naturally want to put in more time.
Chigusa: Another simple thing you can do is… take our lessons while you’re out on the go. You can turn commute-time into language time. Or listen to a lesson while at the supermarket.
Peter: Also, investing into a program… classes...or a teacher… makes you want to find more time… so that your investment does not go to waste.
Chigusa: Number four: Adjust for a longer time frame.
Peter: The other way to add more time is to extend your deadline…
Chigusa: In other words, if you have a goal to speak 3 minutes of conversation in a month… but you could only manage 2 minutes...
Peter:...then, keep at it. You’ll reach it in 2 months. It’s just as good. It just took you a bit longer.
Chigusa: Peter, I think this tactic is good for people who just don’t have that much time in the day...but still want to stick with their goals.
Peter: Exactly. You're making the progress, and it’s a tactic I apply to my own goals because sometimes I just can't find that time when unpredictable things come up.
Chigusa: Speaking of goals, Peter, what's your next goal?
Peter: 15 minutes.
Chigusa: Great! Deadline?
Peter: September 30th.
Chigusa: Sounds good. 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.