How to learn a language effectively
First of all, if you are interested in learning a language find yourself a class. Even Bill Gates tried to do it alone and didn’t manage. A tutor will help you strengthen your motivation to carry on with your learning. But it is proven that a class complemented with self-study works best and makes learning quicker.
Here are some ideas on how to study outside of the class.
A student recently told me that he wouldn’t do his homework. OK, but if you go to the gym and your instructor teaches you how to use one of the machines, would you say that that’s enough to get fit? You understand how to use it but only if you practice you’ll achieve your goal. My advice is to do your homework. This is usually design to practise more at home what has been done in class. Do homework does not have to take two hours a day, in fact it is better to do 10/15 minutes a day for two or three days than to do it all in one go.
People are busy and sometimes it is difficult to find the time to study.
But why not finding opportunities in those empty little slots of time for example when waiting for the bus. Prepare a few little cards, on each one write some new vocabulary that you want to learn. Put them in your pocket and when you are waiting for the train or bus take one out, look at the English version and think what the word would be in the language you are trying to learn. Turn the card - where you will have written the foreign equivalent - and see if you are right. If yes, put it in the other pocket, continue till all cards have gone from one pocket to the other.
There is another interesting technique that is driven by your desire to learn but also the interest that you have in the text selected.
Find yourself a blog/website/magazine/etc that is of interest to your and is written in your chosen foreign language. This is fine even if you are a beginner, just choose a short one to start. Don’t be afraid! Your aim is to understand the very general idea of the piece. Once you have read the first time, read again and this time underline all of the words that you think you understand – even if you are not sure – and even if you think there are none: you will be surprised. Then take a break. When you are ready, read again and do the same exercise. The more you read, the more words you will underline, and before you know it the general meaning of the article will no longer be a mystery.