How can you stop yourself from suffering from Boredom? If you are stuck at home due to COVID-19, or any other reason, it is really important to maintain as much routine as you can. By keeping a routine, it can help you maintain some sense of normality. Here are a couple of ideas:
1) Create new routines: routine structures our day and restores a sense of purpose.
2) Go with the flow: even though you are feeling a sense of loss of freedom, try and relax and enjoy the space you have to "think" and live.
3) Watch Netflix: Its OK to have a binge every now and then.
4) Find alternative ways to connect with others.
5) Use the time to learn something new!
OK, so you've started your language journey and your brain is not cooperating.... Here are a few ideas for you to try.
Take deep breaths. When it comes to oxygen, your brain is the greediest part of your body. That's why people can become brain dead very easily if they've been in an accident that deprives them briefly of an adequate supply of blood. Before you start learning, take three deep breaths and focus on filling your brain with oxygen.
Eat a balanced diet. Your brain, like everything else in your body, cannot work without energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from the adequate, steady supply of energy - in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain, so eat food that will release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day.
Get a good nights sleep. You can't function or learn if you're overtired.
Aim for a middle level of mental arousal. You don't want to be so excited that you can't concentrate and are zinging all over the place. Alternatively you don't want to be half asleep. before you start learning, take a few minutes to focus on your goal. Imagine that you are already speaking your new language. Where are you and what are you doing?
Do you have other ideas that work for you? I'd love to hear what they are ...............
HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
If you are finding that you are not remembering your online lesson or new vocabulary, you might find that by changing how you learn, changes your results. We’ve spoken about getting into the right state of mind, relaxing and visualising before you start your learning session. Today I want to talk about what happens during your learning session.
So what if we create lots of beginnings and ends in your learning session to create a different outcome?
Rather than do one block of 1 or 2 hours at one time in a week (students usually do this before their tutorial!!), try 6 blocks of 15-20 minutes during your week. Put it in your diary for 3 weeks and create a new habit. Then let me know what difference you’ve noticed. I think you will be amazed at the results, Jo
Think about when you can’t stop singing a jingle or a popular song. Words are connected to sound and the whole song often has an emotional tie – this is using all 3 parts of your brain effectively.
The left brain is logical and deals with numbers and words. It sees individual details on at a time and deals with order, facts and logical thinking.
The right brain is visual and sees the whole picture at once. It uses symbols, images, melodies, patterns and imagistic and intuitive thinking.
The limbic system plays an important part of our long term memory. It decides if information is relevant and useful to you, based on its emotional appeal. When what you are learning appeals positively to your emotions, through colours, pictures, games, challenges or musical accompaniment, you learn better and remember more easily.
By deliberately using all three parts of our brain, we remember much more easily…
Whole brain thinking (using both left and right hand side of brain) is important in moving from ‘traditional’ learning approach to accelerated learning.
Accelerated learning techniques can help the learner reach a comfortable, relaxed, yet alert alpha state of mind – receptive and open to new material and new ways of learning. You can accelerate any learning that you want to do – you need to learn how!!
Learning enhancement methods used in accelerated learning include music,relaxation/breathing, visualisations, affirmations, colours and mind maps, activities.
Today’s blog focuses on Music….
There is nothing new in using music to bring about an altered state of mind. Baroque composers used music in creating a relaxed state to take the mind ‘off’ day to day concerns and transform the listener into a harmonious state of well-being. In the process these composers created an ideal form, harmony and frequency in their music that produced the alpha state of calm, relaxed alertness (ready to learn and remember).
Throughout time, people have recognized and intentionally used the powerful effects of sound. In the 20th century the western scientific community has conducted research to validate and expand our analytical knowledge of music. This research supports what we know from personal experience: Music greatly affects and enhances our learning and living!
The use of music and rhythm can directly stimulate the limbic system within the brain. Stimulating the emotions greatly enhances our long term memory capacity. The use of colours, smells, rhyme and tone can also stimulate the limbic system.
Music stabilizes mental, physical and emotional rhythms to attain a state of deep concentration and focus in which large amounts of content information can be processed and learned. Try listening to some Baroque music, such as that composed by Bach, Handel or Telemann, that is 50 to 80 beats per minute to create an atmosphere of focus when you are doing your lesson. This is highly effective when you want to learn vocabulary, memorize facts or reading in your new language – you will find it highly effective.
But as Jeffry Hodges points out in Learn Faster Now… “If you don’t use the correct type of music with the very specific slow rhythm and 4/4 beat, the desired physiological and mental changes will not occur and learning will not be as effective”.
Have a try and let me know how it works for you.. Michele
Speakers of more than one language have the capacity to “place different emphasis in actions and their consequences, influencing the way they think about the world” according to a new study. The study also finds that bilinguals may get the best of both worldviews, as their thinking can be flexible. This can be really beneficial in the work environment.
It’s interesting when you do some research into the benefits of acquiring a second or third language. When a person is able to “think” in a new language they have the advantage of being more aware of certain features of the world. Some scientific examples in the past included that “Russian speakers are faster to distinguish shades of blue than English speakers; Japanese speakers tend to group objects by material rather than shape and Koreans focus on how tightly objects fit together”.
Current scientific examples now reflect that a second language can play an important unconscious role in framing perception, of which the authors conclude that. “By having another language, you have an alternative vision of the world,” Panos Athanasopoulos says. “You can listen to music from only one speaker, or you can listen in stereo … It’s the same with language.”
In a quote from Charlemagne "To have another language is to possess a second soul", and in Benjamin Lee Whorf who said "all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar". Becoming multilingual at an early age teaches children that there is more than one way of conveying something, and accordingly, more than one way to evaluate and solve a problem.
Vocational Language Learning Centre (VLLC) focuses on teaching language through picture-sound association so that when you are conversing you don’t “translate” from one language to another and you are able to “Think” in your new language from day one. It makes the experience of learning quicker than traditional models and also interesting as you are using different parts of your brain. Do you want to find out more about the VLLC learning model? Contact us today and have a chat with one of the course coordinators….
Are you self-sabotaging your language journey? If you are - you could talk to me – I have done this a few times….If you can’t talk to me, keep reading - you may get a few tips …. Many adults, as learners, are great at self-sabotage. We get in our own way of learning and don’t give ourselves the opportunity to learn properly.
People seldom mean to sabotage themselves. It's not generally a conscious decision to spoil things - and that's the problem. We can be left with the feeling: "Why did I do that?" Sometimes it might be a fear of failure; sometimes it might be changing bad habits… but self-sabotage always has some conscious justification (or what seems like an excuse) to explain the situation. I learned a lesson years ago that if I felt the need to justify, perhaps I was the one who was wrong!!
See if you can recognize any of these:
I want to learn my language but I’m soooo busy – I can never find the time to do my lessons properly. If this sounds familiar - a key for me was to stop making this my excuse; I got my diary out and diarised time for my language. Set aside certain time (or times) each week that you consistently use for your language. You may go slower in your language journey than you want, but by consistently ‘drip feeding’ your language, you will get the end result you want.
I’ve been learning for ages but still can’t speak …We often self-sabotage because of perfectionism - if it isn't perfect, then what's the point? My tip here is to focus on what you can say and say that really well – then extend ..
We all expect instant results and when we don't reach our goals right away, it's easy to become discouraged and use it as an excuse to give up. But this is a language journey – so enjoy the process not just the end result.
I’ve got no one to practice with……in this era of technology this is not valid – go onto the internet and check out the language chat rooms or put a note on a university board/community centre asking for a language buddy. You’ll be surprised how many people would love the chance to swap languages over a coffee/beer.
I can’t remember anything… my memory is not what it used to be. I hear this often with older students – actually I don’t believe our memory deteriorates with age, but perhaps we lose some flexibility with the way information is learned and retrieved, often when we are doing multiple tasks. Guess what? Our mind does not operate flexibly when we are stressed or trying to do many things at the same time. If we store information in our subconscious mind properly – through visualization and repetition – know that it is there – it just needs to be retrieved. It’s a bit like meeting someone on the street whose name we know but have forgotten – we always remember as we are walking away. The information has been there all the time…
Old patterns will continue to emerge unless we get the right and left sides of our brains working in sync—make sure you have a good visual image of yourself speaking your new language and get excited when you think about this. Focus on this visualization before you start any learning and you will be thrilled when you are experiencing it as a reality. One of the perks of my job is to see a prospective student make an enquiry about learning a language and then seeing them walk out of the Centre (in differing lengths of time) having achieved it…. It still continues to inspire me……
Joanne Ammerlaan has been helping people achieve their language goals at VLLC for over 30 years.
I recently read an article in The New Yorker about bilingualism. It was written by Maria Konnikova and relates to the correlation between speaking and learning a foreign language to prevent or postpone dementia. Below is an excerpt from her article.
One of the areas where the bilingual advantage appears to be most persistent isn’t related to a particular skill or task: it’s a general benefit that seems to help the aging brain. Adults who speak multiple languages seem to resist the effects of dementia far better than monolinguals do. When Bialystok examined the records for a group of older adults who had been referred to a clinic in Toronto with memory or other cognitive complaints, she found that, of those who eventually developed dementia, the lifelong bilinguals showed symptoms more than four years later than the monolinguals. In a follow-up study, this time with a different set of patients who had developed Alzheimer’s, she and her colleagues found that, regardless of cognitive level, prior occupation, or education, bilinguals had been diagnosed 4.3 years later than monolinguals had. Bilingualism, in other words, seems to have a protective effect on cognitive decline. That would be consistent with a story of learning: we know that keeping cognitively nimble into old age is one of the best ways to protect yourself against dementia. (Hence the rise of the crossword puzzle.) When the brain keeps learning, as it seems to do for people who retain more than one language, it has more capacity to keep functioning at a higher level.
That, in and of itself, is reason enough to learn a second, third, fourth, or fifth language—and to keep learning them as long as you’re able. The bilingual advantage may not appear in the exact guise researchers think of it today. But, on a fundamental level, bilingualism’s real benefits could be far more important.
Learning a language is a fun and easy way to not only give you an interest after retirement, but as an extra bonus, can delay the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. Contact VLLC if you would like to discuss this further.
There is no such thing as an age barrier at VLLC but there is such a thing as a language barrier. VLLC have people learning languages who are 18 to 80, and our students learn languages for a range of reasons... for travel, career, love and even food, and who doesn't love food? Retired people are learning a language for their next holidays or just to keep their mind active. Every week we see our slogan ‘Learn a new language with your eyes closed’ come true for somebody.
The versatile e-learning method developed by VLLC makes it fast and fun to learn – either online, in the comfort of your own home, or in-person at the comfortable VLLC centres in the heart of Melbourne and North Adelaide. Many students of all ages and educational backgrounds, all over Australia, are now learning a language “at their own pace and in their own place,” and still enjoy the personal tuition and interaction with their native-speaking tutors. The Vocational Language Learning Centre teaches twelve languages – Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, German, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Indonesian, Thai and English, using their interactive e-learning method. This method is similar to how a child learns their mother tongue and is based on individual learning, with no boring class structure, but personal supervision by our Student Coordinators and Tutors.
The revolutionary VLLC method has been successfully used for over 25 years. Our students quickly become part of our global family and nearly every day we receive emails from them, sent from exciting destinations all over the world, telling us how happy they are to be able to communicate with the locals and enjoy shopping, eating out and travelling – being able to speak the local language.
Check out some of our Language Journey blogs and see what some of them have been doing and why they decided to learn a language. We hope to see you soon at VLLC!
Michele Colledge, CEO for (VLLC) Vocational Language Learning Centre.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and how utilising that skill can help to keep your mind active and assist with your cognitive function.