Month 2: Goals

So what will be my goals for the second month? The ultimate goal here is ‘manageability’. At the end of my first month, I have so many things I want to go and away and do but if I’m not careful I’ll simply overdo it, become exhausted and then just give up. Therefore, my plans for this month are going to be from the viewpoint of being committed but also setting a minimum (albeit a substantial and taxing minimum) rather than a maximum range of tasks. If I feel like doing more, that’s fine but if I don’t that’s fine too. 🙂

Japanese Goals – spending time with the language

This is not going to be completing books – like last month. Instead it’s about skills and spending time developing these skills. It’s also about ‘time’.

Writing Goal –  3 days for 1hr (intensive)kanji

Here I will be writing sentences/paragraphs which attempt to address my grammar targets established last month as well as consolidate prior knowledge but all with the aim of writing natural Japanese. This will be all my own work and not filling in gaps. The hour set aside really gives me the freedom to write at my own pace, to enjoy finding new words, remembering grammar points I thought I’d forgot. I’m also going to stick to three days as well – I think it’s important to spread the writing over a few days rather than do some crazy mammoth 3hr writing session.

Vocabulary and Kanji Goal- 5 days for 20mins (low to medium)

Random pages in ‘Basic Kanji 1’
Dip into ‘Look and Learn’ for character recognition and practice

Speaking Goal – 4 days for 20mins (medium to high)

Include ‘speaking’ grammar practice rather than writing answers (this will be by using a new textbook), shadowing speech and posting to LingQ for comments. Will I be confident to speak to my past Japanese tutors on iTalki during this month?
I did the first day of this schedule today and I was mentally exhausted. Naturally, this will get better over time as retrieving past knowledge will improve through practice. So I am liking this current schedule as by not committing myself to heavy-going tasks each day will strengthen my learning but also I won’t become stressed if I can’t complete it that day. There’s always tomorrow. It also allows me to do fun stuff with the language be that through books, dramas or films. I want push myself but I’m going to be doing fun stuff as well. Where will I be at the end of this second month? Naturally,  I hope to feel more secure in grammar and Kanji, to have reduced the targets I have in regard to both of these, to have really improved my vocabulary and even become overconfident to speak. My goal of the month, then, is simply time with the language.
Interestingly, just as I was about to post my blog I read an article by the polyglot, Olly Richards on what he describes as ‘sprints’ in language learning. He also spoke about setting goals according to ‘process’ and not ‘product’:

‘For example, rather than saying:

  • I will learn 10 new words today (product)

Say instead:

  • I will spend 10 minutes memorising vocabulary with my spaced-repetition software (process)

Rather than saying:

  • I will understand everything in this chapter by the end of the week

Say instead:

  • I will read this chapter through twice each night, checking key words in the dictionary

You can control process, but you can’t control product.’

Italian Goals  – Reading & Listening

readingI’m pretty much going to carry on doing what I did in the first month. That is, keep to my LingQ 90 challenge targets. So, this will be plenty of reading and listening as well as vocabulary practice. Whilst I naturally do loads of listening, I’m specifically given myself 20mins a day to do focused reading and listening where I will be paying particular attention to nuances of vocabulary and structures. I may break up the 20mins into different slots and even repeat sessions. So I’m leaving the ‘what’ pretty much open. This allows me to simultaneously read and listen to things I feel like on that day. Again, I’m not constraining myself to particular books or even to complete particular books – just simply to read and listen to whatever I want.

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