Boo! Well, after a quiet Halloween, November has finally arrived and I am brushing away the cobwebs… literal and metaphorical… ready to tackle the penultimate month of the year. Christmas is fast approaching which is giving me a sense of dread and excitement in equal measure. Excitement for the food and dread for the distinct lack of present buying and planning I have done so far. But, enough about my Christmas crisis, and on to the language goals!
For any Clear the List newbies , allow me to explain. Each month Lindsay Williams and Shannon Kennedy host the language goal setting community called… yep, you guessed it… Clear the List. So, let’s get into it…
I can use one word to describe October. Mental! Work was busier than I was expecting and so any free time I allocated to languages soon dried up. That’s not to say that I got nothing done though!
I kept up with my extensive reading and listening. I’ve now hit chapter 200 (of Martial World in Italian) which is amazing considering I started it this month. I also found some fantastic podcasts like Wired Play to immerse myself in Italian. Even managing to squeeze in a weekly Italian lesson! I decided to put aside a regular time for it each week so I knew it was always on a Wednesday afternoon. That routine was a massive help when the rest of the week went to pot.
The main lesson I learned this month was that my preparation wasn’t enough. When busy times are ahead I need to be even more organised with the goals and get all the resources in advance. I struggled to find some quality recordings with Italian transcripts. This made the extensive listening tasks impossible. Luckily, I have found Euronews which has exactly what I was looking for. This, in combination with the podcasts, I listen to with transcripts (like Con Parole Nostre and Podcast Italiano), I am set for this month. These have all been added to my new ATM sheet to help me stay on track.
I also have been researching and getting advice to help me keep on track with my goals to pass C1 next year. The basic summary is to find native speaker content that I like and bathe in it. I was going to say drown, but that sounded a little less enjoyable.
Even when I have been busy I have been making a concerted effort to prepare for all my Italian lessons. Spending at least 30 minutes doing some practice before we start speaking. Along with my list of questions and exercises, I am noticing a real improvement in my speaking. I still have a long way to go, but at this stage seeing improvement is a great step in the right direction.
You may have noticed I didn’t mention writing… because I didn’t really do any (Shh… don’t tell my teacher!). I need to find a more seamless way of incorporating writing into my schedule. Generally it feels like a chore and so I avoid it for more enjoyable, or easier, activities. I know that isn’t the right approach but sometimes that’s the way it goes, I guess…
This month on the blog
Traffic Light Reading – My favourite reading technique to learn new vocabulary and find the phrases I need to “activate”.
My 13 Favourite Halloween Films – Not the best, but the ones I will always go to for a spooky spectacle.
ATM – Activity Time Management – Top tips for organising and preparing for your study time, to improve your efficiency and kill procrastination.
Overall, I am planning to keep what is working and do more of what I am missing. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? I wish I was so lucky…
My extensive reading and listening is working a treat, so I am going to keep that ticking over. Then, putting the majority of my energy into more intense studies based on a single piece of content. Rather than trying to find something for writing, reading and listening separately, I thought I’d combine the skills and practice them together. A video with transcript that I can listen to, read along and write a summary of. 3 birds with one stone! (or video in this case!)
For added practice I am going to discuss my writing and the video in my Italian lessons for speaking practice. Hopefully, this should help me memorise all the language and improve. Fingers crossed!
So here is the breakdown of my weekly goals:
1 x Italian lesson (Intensive)
– My lessons are working well and I’m in a good rhythm of preparing before each one so I want to maintain this. In the future, I may try and increase the quantity to step it up a gear for the exam.
5 x Voice memo to language partner (Extensive)
– I wanted to add something for daily practice so a little voice memo to my language partner will work a treat. Something easy that I can fit into my day.
5 x Podcast or Video (Extensive)
– I have now accumulated a nice selection of podcasts to work my way through each week. I am also going to try and find a TV series to binge so I have some longer exposure exercises too. This will be for fun and less focused on the finer details.
1 x Transcribing Euronews Video (Intensive)
– Transcribing is by far my favourite listening practice. Good for improving comprehension and learning vocabulary in one fell swoop. It takes about an hour so I can only realistically fit it in once a week at the moment. Got to be realistic with these things, don’t we?
7 x Web Novel Chapters per week
– Considering I have read around 200 chapters last month (almost 7 per day), this goal may seem a little light. That is on purpose! I want to reduce the amount I read this story and use the remaining time to increase other skills. I noticed I read a lot at night, so in the day I am going to focus on other areas. To help balance out my skill set.
2 x La Repubblica Article (Intensive)
– As part of that balance, I want to challenge myself. The stories are fun but now I can understand them relatively well and the language is all very similar. So, I am going to try and tackle some interesting articles on La Repubblica. When I have tried this before they were very difficult. Vocabulary, structures and imagery. Doing this more should expand my expressions in writing and speaking.
1 x CILS Writing example (Intensive)
– Writing has been lagging behind so I want to do a little more. The first step will be CILS specific writing questions that I can review in my lessons. Improving the complexity and naturalness of the phrases with a variety of topics.
2 x La Repubblica / Euronews Review (Intensive)
– I realised that an easy way to fit in some writing would be to review the listening and reading activities I have done. This will force me to use all the key vocabulary and put it into my own words. Then I can go through it in my lessons to check for mistakes.
I love my little tracker. Stuck on the wall next to my computer. Keeping me accountable (to myself) and tracking my progress. Seeing those minutes adding up each week is really helpful for me.
For the activity tracker I am going to use part of my new ATM document. This will let me see the split of intensive and extensive activities throughout the week. Allowing me to adjust if I see too much of one or the other.
And that’s it. Time to get cracking and have a successful November. What’s your plan for the penultimate month? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!