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

girl-408066_1280This 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.

多分人気な言語の方が便利アドバイスでしょう。特に希有な言語のチューターが少ないです。日本語は大人気な言語ですから、チューターが多いです。各レッスンはいつも違いますので、色々なチューターのレッスンを取ってみた方がいいです。あなた達の一番チューターを見つけましょう。おすすめチューターはAnnieさん、Haruさん、Gosxiさん、康一さん、桃の木01さん、Tomalikoさん、Yukiさん, Tatsuさん、Masaさん、と華子です

読書の練習したいなら、Norikoさんは僕のおすすめです。

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).

What Next?

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!

皆さんの進行はどうですか?もう勝ちましたか?まだ続きませんか?まあまあですか?是非、コメントして下さいね。また来週ね。

Multiple Challenge Winner LindsaydoesLanguages is taking her 3rd consecutive challenge and is now learning Japanese (from scratch I might add!). Her updates are always fun and entertaining but more importantly very motivating and inspiring! She’s done 3 straight back-to-back italki Language Challenges. You should be able to just finish one! She also writes a pretty cool language learning blog. Reposted with permission.

ITALKI OCTOBER LANGUAGE CHALLENGE PLEDGE: JAPANESE

Following on from Wednesday’s post announcing my new Language Quest to learn some Japanese, I’ve been busy making my italki Pledge video for the October Language Challenge. I filmed the video yesterday after one lesson, but I had another this morning and already feel like I could say more!

That’s one reason I’ve decided to use Instagram more to track my progress with Japanese. I can upload quick daily videos from wherever I am. Also it’s surprising how much you can say in 15 seconds! Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep track and give me some advice if you speak Japanese yourself.

That’s one reason I’ve decided to use Instagram more to track my progress with Japanese. I can upload quick daily videos from wherever I am. Also it’s surprising how much you can say in 15 seconds! Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep track and give me some advice if you speak Japanese yourself.

Here’s her latest Instagram Post

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Woohoo! Finally back to updating on the Japanese progress! I learnt this sentence in my first lesson this morning since getting back from the Polyglot Conference. Hopefully I got it right! #japanese #languagelearning #vlog

[This blog post originally appeared as a blog post on Koko the Polyglot’s website.  Reposted with permission.]

It will be a week from tomorrow since the iTalki Language Challenge began (and if you still want to participate, remember you have until the 31st to sign up!)  After taking 4 sessions (2 don’t count because I started them before the challenge began.), I can already notice a difference in my ability to speak Japanese!

Now I’ve been learning Japanese (seriously) on my own since 2008 but one of the things I struggled with the most was actually speaking the language.  It seemed like when I was always hitting a plateau, especially when it came to speaking. I was going through a labyrinth trying to experiment with different language methods until I could finally find something that would be sufficient to work with.

So what has this challenge taught me so far?

Consistency Is Absolutely Vital

(X marks the spot!)

One of things that held me back from making progress in Japanese was not dedicating enough time to improve BOTH my active (speaking and writing) and passive (reading and listening) learning skills.  In the past, I would either focus on active only or passive only not realising that you would need both to truly make a breakthrough in the target language. (more…)

Our friend and supporter, Benny the Irish Polyglot, has recently taken up learning Japanese. Here’s a fun little video that he put together which also features our italki Japanese teacher Yuri. (more…)

Check out the following music video created by our italki member Brian Kwong and his friends from the +1 Challenge (who are all italki members).  This happy little video also features many of our italki Japanese Teachers including Noriko, Mayumi, Hanoko, Hiroshi, and Yuri who are singing, dancing, and doing all sorts of goofy things while signing a fun little Japanese tune.

It just goes to show you that…

Learning Language is more fun with friends! : )

The other great thing about this video is that it shows what can be done when like-minded people are able to connect with one another to make language learning fun!  This is exactly the reason why we built italki – to make human connections between language learners and language teachers.  We wanted to say thanks again to Brian and his friends from the +1 Challenge and our Japanese teachers who helped create this fun little video.

You just need to watch it for yourself.  It will definitely put a smile on your face.

(more…)