Monday, October 10, 2011

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Learning and Forgetting Vocabulary

Do you see the link on the top bar?  The one that says 1000 Challenge.  It goes to a page that talks about a language learning challenge I did earlier this year.  Learning 1000 new words in a foreign language.  I was quite successful – in one month I memorized 869 new words and phrases.  However, that was in July and now it is October.  After the challenge finished, I had a holiday, I was busy with other projects and I was lazy – I didn’t continue studying and now I probably remember about 200/300 words. :-(

This is not surprising and it is explained very well in this article, 'Do not forget The Forgetting Curve'.  I highly recommend reading the article.  It talks about spaced repetition.  This means, learning something and then going back (meaning ‘returning’) to it a day later, a week later, a month later.  I did not review the words I learned after July 1st and that is why I do not remember all 869 of my words.  However, I still remember 200/300 new words and phrases - and that is not bad!

How I originally learned all those words and phrases in one month was with note cards.  Aaron Myers wrote a short blog post, 'The Stack', about using note cards to help you put language learning in more parts of your life; on the bus, waiting in a line.  These are perfect moments to continue your language learning.

So I did my challenge to inspire people and to raise money for charity.  Giving my money and time to charity is one of the most enjoyable things I do.  It makes me feel really good about myself and it motivates me to do more things because I am doing those things to help other people, not just me.

So have I convinced any of you to do something similar?  I know that I have one friend who is going to do a similar challenge to improve his Japanese.  However, if you are a learner of English and you are reading this, can I convince you to do your own 1000 Challenge?

Please say yes.  Choose a learning goal, choose a month, choose a charity and then get started.  If you are on Twitter then tell people about your challenge using the hashtags: #educharity and #ellchar.  Have I inspired you to push yourself, to challenge yourself, to do something that will help you and an organization that needs support?

Please say yes.  If you like the idea then suggest it to a friend or suggest it to a family member and give them help.  Suggest it to your teacher, suggest it to your students, suggest it to your boss or whoever.  The idea is do language learning and to help charity.

Please say yes. :-)


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