When I was asked to join the italki October 2015 Language Challenge, I was a little hesitant. Not that I did not want to participate, but I felt a little intimidated – as an introverted person the idea of shooting a video pledge simply scared me.

However, the more I thought about it, the more excited I became about the whole concept of sharing my progress and inspiring other people to take the challenge with me.

How am I doing?

First of all, let me tell you that on its own, 6 hours is not that much time to make huge progress, especially when I work and also have several essays to write for university back in the Czech Republic at the same time.

Right now it is almost the end of week 1 of the challenge and so far I have only finished 2 sessions out of 6. I decided to stick to having sessions with only one teacher throughout the challenge as I seriously need to work on my sentence structure and I feel I would lose too much time explaining what my weak points in Chinese are before each and every session.

Anna, my Chinese teacher, tailored the sessions to suit my needs. During the first half an hour we usually go through a written dialogue from a textbook, reading it out loud, explaining grammar points, new words and structures. The second half an hour is focused on speaking. I summarize the dialogue using given vocabulary, answer various questions about it and then we just have   a random chat about ourselves, our plans or other current topics like Chinese holidays or food. I particularly like this part of our class because not only do I learn about the Chinese language, but Anna also explains a lot about the Chinese culture which is very helpful in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the Chinese mentality and lifestyle.

Finding the right strategy

Revising what I have learned during my italki sessions is a crucial part of learning. Honestly, at first I had not been doing very well. I was lucky enough to realize this at the very beginning though. From then I started adding all of my new vocabulary into Anki, a spaced repetition flashcard program that I highly recommend.

Also, using new structures in sentences and rewriting them over and over again turned out to be helpful. Above all, I found that the most important aspect of the revision process is reading out loud! I cannot stress enough how immensely it helps me. As for me, speaking is essentially the hardest thing to master when it comes to learning a new language.

Having adopted this strategy, I believe my progress will be more evident and I will eventually reach my goal of being able to hold a 5-minute conversation about myself with one of my Chinese colleagues.

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See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 1

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 2

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 3

 

Amy from the United States, is learning Cantonese

Amy is a Chinese Professional Teacher and this time she is going to learn Cantonese. Her goal is to be able to express herself fully. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Blair from the United States, is learning Dutch

Blair wants to improve his target language that is Dutch. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Zeeshan from the United States, is learning Spanish

Zeeshan is learning Spanish. This time he is going to a continue practice in his Spanish because he wants to achieve a really high level. His goal is to able to sustain high level conversations and more advanced topics such as global warming or alternative energies. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Diego from Chile, is learning Russian

He has already completed the June challenge and this is his second time taking the Language Challenge on italki. The previous challenge was in Czech, now he chooses Russian. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Sang from United Kingdom, is learning Korean

Sang is taking part of italki October Challenge. He has chosen Korean because he likes the culture, dramas and food. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Scott from the United States, is learning Spanish

Scott is going to continue learning Spanish. He hopes to work a little bit more on verb tenses. He wants to expand his vocabulary and just learn some of culture things. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

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See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 1

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 2

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 4

 

Helga from Russia, is learning Italian

Helga is going to learn Italian. She speaks Italian quiet well but she is so struggle with propositions, articles and talking about the past. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Kheryee from Malaysia, is learning French

Kheryee is learning French. Her goal at the end of the challenge would be to carry out two minutes of conversation in French with a stranger. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Jonathan from the United States, is learning Spanish and Italian

Jonathan is learning Spanish and Italian. He wants to improve his Spanish also because his family speak Spanish. Moreover Jonathan wants to improve his Italian because he travels frequently for work in Italy. Cheer him on by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Frank from the United States, is learning Spanish

Frank is learning Spanish. He wants to improve his listening and speaking. His goal is to have a conversation with a native speaker for five or ten minutes. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Jesee from the United States, is learning Spanish

Jesee is going to learn Spanish. His goal is just to become more natural to speak Spanish. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Mr Coffee from France, is learning Spanish

Mr Coffee is going to learn Spanish. He lives in Argentina and he would like to improve his grammar.  Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Clarissa from Australia, is learning Icelandic

Clarissa is going to learn Icelandic. Her goal is to be able to hold a basic conversation in Icelandic for five minutes at the end of the two weeks challenge period. She has never learned Icelandic before and so she is starting completely from scratch. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Ian from the United States, is learning Spanish, Cebuano and American Sign Language

Ian is learning Cebuano, one of many languages of the Philippines, because it is the native language of some of his family members. He is also brushing up on Spanish and he has started learning American Sign Language. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Jairet from the United States, is learning Portuguese

Jairet is going to learn Portuguese. His goal for the challenge is to improve his ability to speak about the past. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Maureen from United Kingdom, is learning Catalan

Maureen is Scottish and she is going to learn Portuguese. She wants to do the italki Challenge to improve her Catalan and now normally she has three lessons each week. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

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Logic Behind the italki Language Challenge (and how to ensure your success!).

October 16th, 2015 | Posted by Ivan in feature | Language Challenge - (Comments Off on Logic Behind the italki Language Challenge (and how to ensure your success!).)

The October Language Challenge is just about to start. This time, we are asking our learners to take 6 hours of language classes in the space of two weeks. As opposed to the longer, higher-commitment challenges we have conducted before. We are terming this a “sprint” to help you jump start your language learning habits.

In the same way that it’s difficult to stay with a gym membership, stick to a diet, or live up to one’s New Year’s commitments, it can be difficult to study a language after that initial excitement of learning wears off, and consistent work needs to be done.

What is the logic behind the challenge? 

The model behind the language challenges for italki is to encourage planning behavior that gives our learners a sense of traction. As an example, we looked at some innovative gyms and work-out oriented apps which charge a user more for skipping a workout (unlike traditional gyms with long-term commitments who are interested in user failure). We adopted a similar model, where the up-front cost of the challenge encourages a student to stick to their commitment. The purchases from the users who do not complete the challenge subsidize the rewards for those that do. (Of course, we would love for everyone to complete the challenge, and in the past few years the completion percentage has been climbing higher with each language challenge event).

What’s m0re, the idea of getting a prize and the sunk cost back for completing the challenge is another good motivator to put in the extra effort. Ultimately, having a reward at the end of the challenge works better to create a perspective shift in a learner: once the going gets tough, the competitive spirit and desire for the reward is a much better motivator than the feeling of “Oh well, I guess I’ve lost my ITC”.

Why is this challenge so short? 

We are always experimenting with a better motivate to improve the language-learning process. In the same way that long-term gym commitments actually work to discourage the user, a longer challenge may seem difficult and daunting.

This “sprint” format is designed to encourage forward planning in the short-term, and get our learners to try the optimal model for using italki (users who schedule on average 3 hours with a teacher per week tend to stick to the learning process longer, and get better faster). 2 hours per week is not quite enough, and 4 can be overwhelming and discouraging in and of itself.

By making this a simple 6 hours/2 weeks challenge, we are hoping to let our challengers see the benefit of the optimal model, and give them the opportunity to feel how quickly they can improve using this format.

What’s the secret to successfully finishing the challenge?

The most important piece of finishing the challenge is following a plan. That means the best way to schedule your sessions is all at once, in one go, to create a roadmap of your classes for yourself.

In this “sprint” format challenge, it is a lot easier to plan out all the classes and make teaching requests ahead of time. If you want to avoid the crunch-time rush or stress of finding teachers, plan all 6 of your lessons distributed evenly over the duration of the challenge.

First of all, you will have a lot more control over when and with whom you will be having your sessions.

Secondly, making a commitment to a teacher will help you prioritize language learning, and give you the best possible chance to derive the greatest learning benefit from the sessions.

 

There are still a few days left to register, and enrollment into the language challenge is open after the start date. Don’t wait, get your language learning momentum rolling here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 3.32.31 PM

 

 

References:

http://mashable.com/2014/01/23/fitmob-startup-gym/

http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/01/24/gym_pact_bases_fees_on_members_ability_to_stick_to_their_workout_schedule/

 

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See Who’s Taking October Language Challenge

If you are taking October Language challenge we’re giving away 50 free ITC if you make a video challenge pledge. Life Hacks research has shown that if you put yourself up to something by doing it in public, you follow through because others are watching.  So use peer pressure to your advantage!  So help out your fellow language learners participating in the challenge!  Leave them words of encouragement on their notebook entries!  And don’t forget to sign up for yourself, and get the summer of to a great start!

Click the links below to see:

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 1

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 3

October Language Challenge Video Pledges 4

 

Tamara from the United States, is learning Spanish

Helga is learning Spanish. She is doing her October Language Challenge to get herself back on consistence schedule with her language learning goals. Cheer her on by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Alex Gureev from Russia, is learning English

Alex is learning This is his October Language Challenge public pledge video. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Noelia from Spain, is learning English

Noelia is a professional teacher of Spanish and Catalan. She is participating our October Language Challenge in order to improve her English level. Let’s support her by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Pierre Bredel from Brazil, is learning English

Pierre is learning English. This is his fifth italki Language Challenge. He wants to speak better English. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Jessica from the United States, is learning Italian

Jessica is learning Italian. Even though she is a beginner right now her goal is to be able to have 30 minutes conversation with her instructor by the end of the language challenge. Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Ric from the United States, is learning Spanish

Ric is learning Spanish. He would like to improve the grammar and the accent but the main goal for him is to be able to speak faster. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Dave from Philippines, is learning Mandarin Chinese

Rick is learning Mandarin Chinese. His goal is to be able to speak fluently with a Chinese person for five minutes. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

Ania from Germany, is learning Arabic

Ania is going to learn Arabic and she is also a professional German teacher on italki. She thought it might be good know a little bit of Arabic in order to teach refugees German in Germany in a better way Give her some support by leaving a quick message in her notebook.

 

Ryan from United Kingdom, is learning Spanish

Ryan is learning Spanish. His main goal is pass his Spanish exam in November and also simply improve his general fluency.

 

Chris Cook from Canada, is learning Spanish

Chris is learning Spanish. He wants to use this challenge to get back in practice in his Spanish regularly. Give him some support by leaving a quick message in his notebook.

 

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