To Improve Comprehension DON'T Try to Understand
Experienced language learners accept uncertainty, except that they don't
fully understand and yet they keep going.
Hi there Steve Kaufmann here today, and today I wanna talk about comprehension.
To understand more don't try to understand too much and I'll explain,
but first of all, if you enjoy my, uh, videos, please subscribe, click
on the bell for notifications.
And if you follow me on a podcast, please leave a review.
I do appreciate it.
I mean, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, comprehension to me is the
most important goal in language learning.
If we understand well, we will eventually speak well, eventually,
as we have more opportunity to speak.
If we don't understand very well, we can't have meaningful conversations, we can't
enjoy movies, we can't enjoy books, we can't do all of the things that are going
to improve our skills in the language.
Of course, we all wanna speak well, but we need to speak a lot in order to speak
well, but that comprehension is so key.
And I know a lot of people struggle with comprehension.
So, um, I want to give you a hint, a tip about comprehension, and that
is don't try too hard to understand.
In other words, accept the fact that as you are progressing in the
language, there are a lot of times when you are not going to understand,
and you still have to keep going.
And don't try to nail down what it is you're studying, say a lesson.
Accept The fact that it's 60%, 40% comprehension and move on to the next.
Uh, and I, I often mention Manfred Spitzer, the German neuroscientist,
who said the brain needs repetition, but the brain needs novelty.
And I was talking to my brother who I gave an iPad to and who's working on
LingQ and he, he says, I always forget, I study this sentence and I keep on
forgetting and I thought to myself, yeah, you're not supposed to try to totally
understand and remember that sentence.
You're supposed to just allow the language to kinda enter your brain
and let the brain get used to it.
And so my brother said, it's a bit like mowing a lawn.
If the grass is high, then you have to set the lawn mower at a higher
level in order to have an easier first pass through mowing the lawn.
The second time through, you can set the blades a little lower.
If you try to force yourself to push that lawnmower into very high grass,
uh, you're not gonna get there.
It's gonna be very hard work and you won't, you won't be able to,
to get the job done depending on how long the grass is.
Now, in theory, if you have to mow the lawn twice, you would think
it's gonna take you twice as long.
But if in fact there's just too much resistance and you can't mold the lawn,
you're not gonna get the job done.
So it's far easier and I've had this experience and I'll show you the picture
of my lawn and my lawn mower and how I adjust it and it's much easier for me,
particularly, we've had a lot of rain I haven't been able to mold the lawn.
And so when I go in there, I have a first pass at a higher level, and then
I have a second pass at a lower level.
Every pass I pick up a little bit more.
It's the same with the content that I learn from, listen to, read.
First time I go through, I don't fully understand it.
I may listen a second time.
I may move on to other lessons and then I come back and even on something
as basic as the mini stories, I always pick up something the
second, third, fourth time through.
So every time I mow that lawn, even...
I'm, I'm flowing through it, I'm pushing the mower through it easily, but I'm
getting a few more blades of grass.
in that way, we will gradually enable our brains to get used to the language.
Don't force yourself to try to understand.
If you can't understand, move on to new material, bringing in new words,
bringing in new context, some of which again, which you will understand
some of which you won't understand.
And I think it's very important that we have that sort of an attitude I've
said in other videos, uh, experienced language learners accept uncertainty,
accept that they don't fully understand and yet they keep going.
Push yourself forward.
And then you can come back again for a second pass with the lawn mower.
But I think very often the, the attempt to nail things down to fully
understand is a major obstacle to comprehension, whether it be listening
comprehension or reading comprehension, and the two do reinforce each other
as does the study of vocabulary.
The goal of course is to understand everything or as much as possible, but
before we get to that perfectly mown lawn, uh, we have to make quite a few passes.
And so we should be easy on ourselves and not be too demanding, you know,
not expect perfect comprehension.
And if we keep moving forward, we will eventually have better
comprehension understand more.
And if we have good comprehension, we will eventually have good speaking skills.
So thank you for listening.
And I have spoken before about comprehension.
So I'm gonna leave a couple of videos here that I did earlier on the same subject.
Bye for now.