This blog post reposted with permission. Originally appeared here on Kokothepolyglot’s blog site.
I Finished The Italki October Language Challenge Early!
-15 October, 2014 By Koko Polyglot
Well this is an unexpected but pleasant surprise! Not only am I happy to announce that I’ve already completed the italki October Language Challenge early but I also got in one extra lesson as well. How cool is that? I guess the third time really was the charm. Since I have a lot going on this month, I had to book as many sessions in a short amount of time. Which meant there were times I had 3 lessons in one day! That was intense but I have to say my spoken Japanese has made quite a bit of improvement.
Book All Your Sessions Ahead Of Time
This is probably one of the best tips LindsayDoesLanguages recommends and this time it worked out really well for me! I made sure that I booked all if not most prior to the sessions themselves. Especially since I joined the language later than I did the last two. But unlike the last two, I was able to make sure every lesson was booked accordingly. Which meant taking up to three sessions in one day while tutoring students as well! By booking in advance you can work your schedule around the sessions instead of trying to fit them in when you can.
I think my biggest mistake in the previous challenges was that I did not book enough sessions in advance. Had I done that I would have been able to take all sessions and even have time to reschedule ones that conflicted with the tutor’s schedule.
Use A Variety Of Tutors
This might be better advice for some languages rather than others. Especially if there aren’t many tutors for your target language. Luckily, Japanese is popular enough that I was able to use a wide variety of tutors to work with. Each Community Tutor and Professional Teacher have their unique method of teaching that you could benefit from the variety while finding out which tutors are best for you. Find tutors who cater to your specific needs and go from there. I recommend the following tutors for Japanese: Annie, Haru, Gosxi, Koichi, momonoki01, Tomaliko, Yuki, Tatsu, Masa, and Teacher 華子 (Hanako).
If you’re looking for reading practice during your session I would recommend Noriko just for that.
Focus On What You Want To Accomplish
Setting goals for what you would like to achieve in your target language is important. My main goal for Japanese was to express myself more fluidly when I spoke. I felt like I was about to complete that goal because it was my primary focus. While I did get reading in, I didn’t get a chance to read the Nightmare Before Christmas in Japanese yet. So maybe I’ll get a chance to read at least the first two chapters before the end of the month. I’ll will keep you updated on how that goes and what unique words I’ve learned along the way.
I always try to do something to keep me motivated during these challenges and doing a multitude of things can help you improve both input (reading and listening) as well as output (speaking and writing).
I’m going to be focusing on Japanese for quite some time but moving on to my next language adventure. I will keep you updated when it is needed to be revealed. In the meantime, I will be attempting to read the Nightmare Before Christmas completely in Japanese. My goal for that was to read at least two chapters. This will be my make priority for Japanese next week. I will also be doing my SRS repetitions on Memrise and LingQ as well as watch interesting content in Japanese.
How are you doing in the italki October Language Challenge? Have you completed the challenge already? Still have a ways to go? Almost done? I would love to hear about your progress!