11 In Korean learning journey (:

YouAskIAnswer: Repeat, Revise or Progress?

Maria asked me this question in a comment and I thought I’ll just reply here in a post!

What do you think is more effective: learning and revising material that is more or less familiar to you (in order to solidify your knowledge) or moving forward but struggling really hard?

This is an issue that many language learners will face. I’m very lucky that I haven’t come across any struggling periods when it comes to learning Korean.. The most difficult time I remembered was with the indirect quotation grammar structures LOL. The ~냐고, 는다고 etc. That was probably the only time I took really long to understand a grammar structure.

I think that my general method is: generally move forward and attempt challenging materials, revise and learn to stop when you are facing difficulty. 

Generally, I think that it’s a good thing to keep moving forward, and always attempt to read materials at a + 1 of your current comfort zone / standard. It’s challenging, but you end up progressing faster. There’s no point in sticking to comfortable materials and inching forward. In my opinion.

Yet, there’s no point in moving forward if you are really struggling. However, that doesn’t mean that you just stick to that one particular textbook chapter / lesson for the next few days or weeks.

If you are having problems with a particular grammar structure, re-read the chapter / notes once. If you still don’t get it, chances are that the book probably doesn’t explain it very well. Try searching the internet or use other books to find alternative explanations and more sentence examples (or leave a comment, I’ll try to help). If you try to look for other sources, you are essentially doing both revising and learning new materials at the same time.

No point in re-reading one single material and get stuck there for ages.

At the same time, you can go on to do other stuff like listening to podcast, watching your fav drama etc.

Don’t think of it as being in a funk and getting stuck at one grammar point. While trying to figure that problem out, there’s always other things to do. (:

Revision in language learning is not about re-reading your notes for the umpteenth time 

It’s about using new materials to solidify your learning. ^^

Applying what you learn.

There is seriously no point of re-reading a single passage over and over again to “revise”. If you are doing so, I think you are doing yourself a great disservice.

When all else fails, treat yourself to a nice meal and continue 😛 Squid Ink Seafood Pizza from Skinny Pizza 😀

hahaha that was totally random!

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  • Reply
    20 November, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I’m so thankful I saw this post.I have wasted almost 5 months trying to re-read the same textbook and set of notes because my teacher said it is important to re-read the stuff we learnt but I forgot during my 1st year of learning I kept trying to find things beyond what I am learning…And I am also super confused over indirect quotation grammar structures.The ~냐고, 는다고 etc.and my notes only confuses me further

    • Reply
      20 November, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Glad it helped!

  • Reply
    아저씨 학생
    20 November, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Hi Shanna,

    Thanks for the learning thought. Just a question…know that you have learning Korean for few years and I face the same struggle too. So if you were to plot a graph on your learning journey, say x-axis is time and y-axis is fluency level, how would it looks like? Just wonder…궁금하겠어요 🙂

    • Reply
      20 November, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      hahaha i dunno (: Never given it any thought XD Everyone’s graph will be different, what’s important is that we will reach our own goals at some point in time ^^

  • Reply
    20 November, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Hi, Shanna! Thank you very much for such a comprehensive answer))
    I myself went through both ways. When I was studying English (well, I’m still studying it and it’s probably an endless process) I used some standard British textbooks, and the grammar points covered in them were pretty much the same at all the levels. There were just given more detailed explanations and more nuances in the intermediate and advanced editions. Thus I was doing revision naturally without even thinking about it.
    Then I was studying French at the Uni. Being taught how to pronounce the sounds and how to form Present Tense I was thrown into an abyss of completely new grammar and vocabulary. They made us read intermediate level texts (but I didn’t know any other tense except Present) and learn loads of new words. The result was the biggest stress. Sure there was some progress but I think it doesn’t worth it. I wish I knew fewer words and grammar rules but was more comfortable with this language and had more confidence when I speak.
    I know when it concerns self-studying the situation is completely different. Nobody would torture himself/herself to the point he/she is disgusted and fed up with a language. But because of my previous language studying experiences I’m just too afraid to move on. To tell the truth, I’ve already started the 3rd elementary level Korean textbook. And I’m hesitant to go further since (as I understood) the grammar structures in Korean textbooks are different for different levels, they are also a little bit different within the same level. I’m just too afraid to miss something important.
    Oh, I wrote a lot and I doubt I’ve managed to express my thoughts the way I meant it. Still I hope you’ll understand what I wanted to say:))

    • Reply
      20 November, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      As someone who have been through the learning process for Korean, I think that you are more than ready to move on to an intermediate textbook 😀 If you understand your basics, you will find that the grammar structures come very naturally and fast to you! 😀 At one point, I was really addicted to learning grammar structures ^^;;

      • Reply
        21 November, 2012 at 8:39 PM

        Thank you for the encouragement))

  • Reply
    Lucie D
    21 November, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    A slight dilema I am facing now. Should I progress and learn new grammar and new words, even though I’m not 100% in what I have learnt so far or just take it a pace slower. By now I was hoping to be reaching level three, since I want to take the intermediate TOPIK test, but current progress is making me think how I should approach this whole issue. On top of that I work long hours and I have a PhD application, so if I have time, I’m too tired to even study Korean, which reflects in the fact that I don’t understand the text I should be able to. @_@
    Hopefully will have some time to invest in my studies in December and then I will see in January, whether there is any point in attempting the exam (originally I wanted to do it last year).

    • Reply
      22 November, 2012 at 12:16 AM

      mmm I think you should relax a little and probably work on listening or something by listening to more podcast/radio etc. No point stressing yourself out for Korean, it’s supposed to be fun! (:

      Just go for the exam! It will be a good learning experience 😀

  • Reply
    21 November, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    “There’s no point in sticking to comfortable materials and inching forward. In my opinion.” THIS! SO much of this! I want to hug these sentences, but I have no idea how to do that so I’ll just type this smiley face. 😀

    In my opinion, I don’t think staying in a comfort zone when learning a language helps very much. The more you challenge yourself the more prone you are to mistakes, but the more you’ll learn. Endurance was never built walking to the fridge and back. (Woah… I’m gonna quote myself on that last sentence. XD)

    • Reply
      22 November, 2012 at 12:17 AM

      LOL!!! I need to act on my own advice and start to SPEAK Japanese. I should throw myself into Japan….. ><

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