How to Focus in on Content When Learning a Language
I think it's also useful to focus at times.
It can be a focus for five days.
It can be a focus for two weeks.
Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here and today I wanna talk about focus.
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So my last video I spoke of the importance of variety.
The brain likes new things.
I've often mentioned, you know, the brain likes repetition,
but the brain likes novelty.
And so I talked about varying the nature of your activity, varying, you know,
the kind of content you're dealing with in terms of subject matter, in terms
of difficulty level variety is good.
However, it is also important to focus at times.
Uh, so right now for the last, I would say four or five days, I've been focusing
on this tremendous content that my tutor Sahra from Iran has sent me for Persian.
It's a podcast called epitomebooks.ir.
Uh, it's in Persian, of course, and he has a five part series each one 12 to 15
minutes long about the Iranian Revolution, the Islamic Revolution ... what is it?
I can't remember what he calls it, but so for the last...
and, and what I do is this, and, and it's been very, very effective in terms of
upgrading my Iranian and, or my Persian.
And tomorrow I have a, a lesson with Sahra and we're gonna talk about
uh, the, uh, 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran based on all the reading
and listening that I've been doing.
And so, so I am focusing, but I'm not gonna focus...
it's not like you have a textbook at school and you only
ever read the one textbook.
I'm doing this for a week or two, and then I'll go on to something else.
But I just thought I would review with you for those of you who are
interested, how I go, go about doing this.
So I study in sentence mode because it is just easier for me to digest the Persian
language written in the Arabic script.
If I go one sentence at a time, unfortunately, with this podcast,
uh, it's not timestamped.
So I mean, ideal scenario is it's timestamped, so I can hear the
natural voice and see the sentence.
It is the case for a lot of the content that I get, especially
from YouTube, but with this content, it's simply not the case.
Uh, another disadvantage is that at LingQ, you know, the, the text-to-speech
service that we use doesn't have very high quality Fari or Persian
text to speech, but it is there.
It's not great.
It's, it's the worst of any of the languages for whatever reason.
So those are the disadvantages, but the advantages are that I
deal with this one sentence, which might be 8, 10, 12, 15 words long.
Uh, and then I you know, I, I click on the words that I don't know, or
the words that are still yellow, that I'm still, still trying to learn.
I review them using matching pairs, which is the best type of review
because it's more forgiving, you know, you see three different words,
Persian with the corresponding English.
You gotta match them.
If it's wrong, it goes red.
Otherwise it goes blue.
Get through them very quickly.
And then I'm testing out a new activity that we have where that
sentence then uh, is scrambled for me.
So now I have to try to put it together again in the right order, uh, which again,
allows me to focus in on this sentence.
So I'm focusing on the sentence when I read it, I'm focusing
on the words as I saved them.
And I see a list of these words that I've saved.
I can go through them in other activities, but I prefer the matching
pairs becasue it's easy and fast.
And then I try to put this sentence back together.
Now I do sometimes vary the order.
In other words, in order not to disrupt the flow, uh, I'll go through, let's say
one episode, which say 12, 13 minutes long and I won't do the reassembling of
the sentences because that takes longer.
So I will go through reading, looking up words, get through the whole
thing and then circle back later on to reassemble the sentences.
But the, the assembling the sentences really gets me into the,
the words and how they're used.
But of course, I've also been working around the house
these last couple of days.
There's been an amateur golf tournament, the Canadian amateur
golf tournament at our golf club.
So I haven't been able to, uh, play any golf.
So I have more time to either work around the house or study.
And of course, all the time working around the house, I'm listening.
So I'm listening to the same material, the Iranian or the, yeah, the revolution.
So I'm actually learning about the Islamic revolution and the different
factions and the ... or the landowners or the labor group, or the ... the
Muslim extremists, or the leftists and all the different factions in
groups and how they participated in or contributed to the revolution of 1979.
Part of the confusion I'm also getting used to the Iranian years.
I figured out it's 621 years less than our Western calendar.
So you get used to that.
So a certain amount of focus here has enabled me to pick up a number
of political terms yet, a little more familiar with the years that
the Iranians use the month is still a bit of a, uh, stretch for me.
Um, And I get this, I feel that this degree of focus and concentration
has elevated my Persian in a way, uh, that it wouldn't, it wouldn't
have been possible without this degree of concentration and focus.
Now, tomorrow I will have my lesson with my tutor and we will talk about
these events and we'll see how I do.
Um, my hope is that my tutor will say, wow, you've improved.
Maybe she won't, maybe I'll be worse.
I don't know, but I just thought I would share with you that having
talked about variety, that I think it's also useful to focus at times.
It can be a focus for five days.
It can be a focus for two weeks, uh, and to stay with one, um, content
item, but maybe vary the way you do it.
So, you know, I'm in sentence mode.
Sometimes I do the, you know, putting the sentence together after each sentence.
Sometimes I save it up to do it later on.
I listen to it.
Another thing I did was I printed them out on paper.
And so I read them on paper, which is again, introducing some variety
because if I read it on paper, I'm now unable to look up the word, uh,
rather than doing sentence by sentence I'm now doing the whole story.
So that's introducing some variety while I remain focused on
this bit of, you know, content.
I should add as well that, uh, Sahra is an outstanding tutor.
Uh, she doesn't spend a lot of time explaining the language to me.
She finds me interesting content.
She encourages me.
Uh, she has just been an unbelievable guide to Iranian culture, food
history, uh, language learning content.
And as I learn things of interest to me, I don't really notice the
fact that I'm learning the language.
Although, in fact, I am learning the language.
So I just thought I would share that with you my experience over the last
few days, which I intend to continue until I really feel that I've got a
good grasp on this, uh, particular series, uh, you know, and I'll leave a
link to it, uh, in the description box.
And, uh, I mean, it is part and parcel of this whole idea of input based learning.
So I'll leave a couple of videos as well that that touch on related subjects.
Because even though what I say sometimes seems to contradict what I said earlier,
in fact, it's all part of more or less the same message, uh, which I
try to present in different ways to see if I can stimulate people to have
more interest and more confidence, uh, in their language learning.
Thanks for listening.
Bye for now.