Tips to learn a language from home
Sometimes, it’s hard to understand how technologies have improved our daily lives. The world is at the palm of your hands. Nowadays, you can work, create, watch films or TV shows, and study all through your phone or computer. The limitless possibilities are a rather appealing proposition when talking about the virtual environment.
What’s even more appealing is that you can do all of these things from the comfort of your home. There’s no need to commute anywhere anymore. Some people want to study a language but don’t have time to lose on transportation. Now, there’s plenty of options available to study from home.
We are aware that it is not a walk in the park. It may be more convenient but it doesn't get easier. Learning a language requires compromise and a set of habits. But what should we take into account before diving straight into a new language?
Here are some tips to get off to a good start:
Make a study plan
The most important thing in language learning is a solid foundation to start. You may not need a textbook but you need a study plan. As a result, the first step is to craft a strategy around your needs and goals.
Peruse some language textbooks available online, ask other students or check the curriculums of online courses. It is important to know the basics and beware of the essential grammatical topics you have to learn.
Once this is done, choose a learning method that you know you will be comfortable with. If you choose an online teacher, they will probably tailor the lessons around your program. They will also give you tasks that match your skill level. It’s the best way to achieve a personalized home learning.
Change your surroundings
It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to learn a language at home. You are studying from a place you are familiar. It’s personal, it’s intimate and it’s yours. However, it’s sometimes far from ideal if you live with other people or in a very busy area. Our own home is not usually meant to accommodate a study place.
As a result, it may be beneficial to create a small space to work far from any distractions. Make it cozy, comfortable and safe. The key is to choose a room with the basics to work: a desk, good lighting, a chair and ideally nothing else. Maybe you could add a scented candle and some inspirational quotes, something discreet. A nice study place will improve your productivity and your chances of staying focused.
As the lessons advance, you can make this study room more intimate. Cover the walls with post-its, leave your notes all over the place, build a small shelf… It doesn’t have to be a cold impersonal place. It should mimic your state of mind.
Build healthy study habits
Enthusiasm is a great motivator but it’s not the fuel that will get you to the finish line. You will need more than willpower and compromise to learn a language at home. You will need good study habits. A good and steady learning routine can get you further than motivation alone.
The key to success is to start with small changes in your everyday life. It’s important at the beginning to not make drastic changes into your routine. Otherwise, it will be harder to maintain as time goes by. Start small and build from there.
Some habits can make all the difference. Plan specific times to study, set specific goals for the study sessions, don’t cram all your studying into one study session or try not to procrastinate for example. If you keep these habits in mind you will have a great study routine in no time.
Complement the lessons with other resources
Lessons are great and can be the key to your success. But they should not be your only source of information and knowledge. Internet is far and wide and it is full of really useful resources such as games, online activities, social media groups or even YouTube tutorials.
It could be beneficial to surround yourself with motivational and like-minded learners. It’s important if you are home learning to establish a strong support network. Find other students to share doubts, notes and additional material. Studying by yourself can feel daunting and sometimes isolating. That’s why it’s important to find people that share the burden with you.
If you don’t know where to start looking for these students, try social media. Twitter or Facebook are great places to find language groups. If that is not your ideal option, there’s also apps such as Tandem. Tandem is an app that offers a language exchange tandem online.
Review what you’ve learned
It may be tempting to memorize some fancy sentences or difficult words and call it a day. But this technique is useless in the long run. If you don’t understand the mechanics of the language, you won’t get far. That’s why a teacher may come in handy when the topics get more and more difficult.
After every lesson, spend a couple of minutes reviewing what you’ve done. You can check the notes from the previous lessons and compare them. This will help you process information more deeply and strengthen your long-term retention. In the end, it’s the best way to see if the knowledge really sank in.
Alas, reviewing doesn’t have to be a tedious task. Listening and reading notes is not the most effective way to process what you’ve learned. Instead, try discussing the topics with a friend or a teacher every chance you get. In a conversation, you can raise questions and solve doubts you didn’t know you had.
Don’t push yourself too much
The greatest tip to face the challenge of learning a new language is this one. Don’t overload your brain with too much information. Take time to collect your thoughts and properly process what you are learning. A language is not a TV show that you can binge learn. It’s not about the hours spent but the quality of this time.
Don’t force yourself to study for days consecutively either. It’s good to have a steady and constant study routine. But give your brain time to cool down and focus on other subjects. Otherwise, you can suffer burn out.
As a good alternative, you can try other less intense study activities. Watch TV shows or films in original version, read comics or listen to music. It may seem quite useless but with time it can be a great way to process new vocabulary or strange pronunciations. You are doing something fun but learning at the same time.
Work on something that matches your level
When we start something, it is really easy to look up and try the hardest things first. Just to see if we can do them. Sometimes we do it for pride, sometimes for other reasons. The point is we tend to be too ambitious about what we can achieve at the beginning. And this ambition can be our doom.
If we start to fail a lot, it will probably lead to frustration. This frustration in turn will lead to more mistakes. And we enter a vicious cycle that is really hard to brush off. So the reasonable thing to do is start small and build from there. Be smart and build a solid foundation around the basic topics. Always work on exercises that match your level.
In addition, explore what interests you and try working these topics. It is important to also have fun learning. If you enjoy the lessons, you will be more motivated. And motivation is key to advance in language learning. But remember to practice all your skills. Don’t focus too much on only one or you will lose momentum. It will be harder to start a new skill the further you are down the road.
Incorporate the target language to your daily routine
Home learning is going to feel weird at the beginning. Embrace this weirdness. If it’s your first time, learning at home poses some fun challenges that can fuel that feeling. ¿Learning in your pajamas? Yes! Go for it! ¿Post-it covered bedroom wall? Let’s go! It may be different from what you’re used to but it’s definitely worth it.
Your home is where your life is. So try to incorporate small changes in your routine that help you learn even while doing menial tasks. For example, change the language on the settings on your phone, or the gadgets in your kitchen. You may need more time to set the timer on your oven but it will be worth it.
In addition, if you live with other people (friends, roommates or family) ask them to quiz your knowledge from time to time. It’s important to engage in social interaction to keep a positive attitude. Asking for help to study for a test or to review some vocabulary is a good way to start. If you live on your own, try FaceTime or Skype.
Where can you start?
Home learning may be challenging if you don’t have the right tools. Should I download an app? Or sign up for an online course? Is it better to rely on books and online resources only?
There are no wrong answers, to be honest. They are all great ways to learn at home and your own pace. However, after comparing those methods, we’ve concluded that there is one that shines above everything else.
Online private tutor
After much deliberation, we’ve concluded that the most effective learning method is online private tutoring. It may not come as a surprise because having a teacher all by yourself is a great opportunity. The advantages surpass the disadvantages by far. But what are the advantages we are talking about?
- Personalized learning: it is incredibly important to have a teacher that knows your needs and wants, and can work with them. You have a pace and a way of doing things. Sometimes a large group of students or an impersonal app will never be able to work with your mold. A private online tutor on the other hand will focus the study plan on your student profile.
- Flexibility: an online environment allows you to work from anywhere in the world. You don’t have to commute and lose time on the train or bus. Relax, make some tea and sit on your home desk with a laptop or a tablet. It’s as easy as that. Furthermore, you can even choose the schedule. There’s an opportunity to balance work, family/friends and studies.
- Affordability: it may seem more expensive than downloading an app for example. However, it’s much more efficient and affordable than attending academia. There will be far cheaper options, but they tend to be less efficient and with less useful resources at hand. Overall, the private tutor is the best option money-wise.
These are some main reasons why private online tutoring is the best option but only if you choose the right platform for it. Classgap is one of the best online platforms out there at the moment. It serves as a bridge between teachers and students. You can find everything you may need: from Italian native tutors to Chinese or Spanish teachers at competitive prices.
But once I’ve found the right candidate, what’s next? Classgap also provides a virtual classroom with all the tools you may need for a lesson. From a very complete work zone to a service customer option. The interface is friendly and easy to use, and you can even rate your teacher at the end of each class. So what are you waiting for? Start learning a language with Classgap today.