Are you a learning vampire?

I’m not asking if you suck the blood out of every language tutor you meet, I mean do you study with no reflection?

So far in this series on building learning muscles, we’ve looked at Resilience and Resourcefulness.  In this third article in the series, it’s time to take a good look in the mirror.  Let’s look at Reflection.

Reflection is about watching yourself learn, about taking time to construct a mental mirror and holding it up to your learning strategies, tactics and methods.

We look in the mirror to make ourselves better and if we don’t look, we won’t see what we could improve.  When was the last time you actually took stock of your approach to your language learning?  Is it working?  Have you improved?  Can you measure the improvement?

Why note grab a pen, or open a Word file and answer some of these questions right now:

  • Why are you learning?  Think of three reasons why you want to speak French or German or your language of choice.  Let yourself get excited by them again.
  • List five ways you can remember that were really effective at learning or improving.
  • List five experiences in the past that weren’t so effective.
  • What are your bad learning habits? Are you still doing them?
  • How often do you practice?  Is it enough?  What else could you be doing?  If it feels like a chore, go back to your reasons for learning.  Think how amazing it would be to speak fluently or with more confidence when you travel.
  • Ask yourself honestly: how’s it going?  Are you on target? If not, what can you do right now to get back on track?

Taking time to reflect on your learning is vital if you want to learn effectively.  But don’t just look in the mirror – make sure you act on what you see if it isn’t working.

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