|Peter: Welcome to the inner circle. This is the monthly, no-holds-barred newsletter giving you tried and tested learning methods to help you reach your language goals this year.
|Kyejin: Hi, I'm Kyejin, and I'm joined by my co-host, the founder of innovative language, Peter Galante.
|Peter: So last time you learned how Kyejin prepared for her DELF exam, DELF, which is the French language proficiency test.
|Kyejin: Yes. And also your French teacher let you go.
|Peter: Yes, which was quite an interesting experience. First time that has happened. But it made me reflect a bit, and later on, we'll talk about something which I call the power of a promise. So you and I agreed to take this test this year.
|Kyejin: Correct. That's correct.
|Peter: So we kind of have this pact or this promise, and you know, when you get let go, or I guess I was fired in a way. It's quite a knock to your self-confidence, but when you have something to keep you oriented on your goal, again, that power of a promise, that pact that we made, it's a very powerful, it's a very good Northstar to keep you on track. So, I have some good news which we'll talk about in a bit. So.
|Kyejin: Ok, so we got some goals for this month, and let's talk about that.
|Peter: Ok. Kyejin, So shall we start with you? Did you hit your goals for last month?
|Kyejin: Peter, I don't know
|Peter: What? No, that's an automatic Yes with you. I don't know. What do you mean?
|Kyejin: I'm supposed to get the result in July, but I haven't got the results yet. I checked it this morning, but there's still nothing. It takes time. It takes longer than I thought.
|Peter: Ok. Well, you know, if we get those results, they'll come, and I'm sure those results will be very, very good. But what about your other goals? Did you meet your goals?
|Kyejin: My goal was to adjust my learning strategy, but I found something interesting. Peter after the DELF exam. I kind of lost my motivation.
|Peter: Wow. You know, getting to the test is quite a challenge. You work very hard, and down to a deadline right before a deadline, you really exert a lot of energy and effort.
|Kyejin: Yeah. And I spent 47 hours a month, right before DELF it was May, but this month I spent only 20 hours.
|Peter: Wow. I think it's a good thing. But let, let's first break it down. So that first there's this point of a deadline having that finite thing that you're working towards, and you work very, very hard towards that, then you finish that, and you might be, maybe say, burnt out in a way.
|Kyejin: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I felt really tired. But one good thing is that I had some kind of fixed schedule every Tuesday. I have to join my French group classes, and once a week, I go to French language school, and once a week I meet with my French teacher. So thanks to my fixed schedule, I could keep learning French, but I don't study on my own anymore. I was really tired right before the DELF exam. I sometimes studied until like 12, 1 a.m.
|Peter: Well, first, rest is very important. To recharge is very, very important. But let's take a quick look at something you said. What are the things that you keep doing? What are the activities that you keep that you're continuing on with? Even though you're kind of a little tired, let's not say burnt out, just a little tired. You work very, very hard.
|Kyejin: Something with a fixed schedule. For example, our FrenchPod101 group classes because it happens every Tuesday, and I have to join it. And for the French school too. I pay for that. So I go there and my one on one class too. Yeah, I also pay for that. So I keep learning French with my teacher, but I used to do a lot of self-study at home. Yeah, I feel lazy, and I don't do self-study anymore right after the exam.
|Peter: So, the one thing I just want to point out. The things that you continue the in-person activities where you're meeting people and connecting and communicating with your French. And I think that's one of the key things about a language and, or about an activity that people kind of continue to do. There's this connection to it. Right.
|Peter: And also it's kind of a reward when you get to a certain level, and your French is, or your language is good enough, then it's fun to continue on. Like, for example, even though I'm studying these other languages, I continue on with my Italian lunches, where I meet my Italian teacher for lunch once a week, and we just sit and talk. It's not even a study session, but it's just kind of maintaining, and I learn a few new words, but we're just talking a lot. So in a way, these connections you make with the language are very important. Routine is very important. Forget the test for a minute. We'll go back to that. But getting your language to a level where you can just sit and talk for a certain period of time that's also very powerful too because it's very good for your confidence. But it gives you some; it makes that routine easier. You're not repeating vocab with flashcards and things like this. What do you think, Kyejin?
|Kyejin: Yeah, you're right. And actually, even before this recording, I was a bit sad. Like, I promised to study hard this year, and I feel like, oh, after the exam, I feel like I'm not doing my best anymore. I felt really bad. But your advice really helped me. We actually collaborate this year, not competing.
|Peter: Yeah, it's kind of interesting, and maybe though maybe competition might be good because now I could shift to my goals which, for the first time, I crushed them. However, it was not easy. And it goes back to this power of a promise or this pact we made. And so there's two points to this, right? First, I read somewhere many years ago like if you take on a new endeavor and you keep it to yourself, that takes a lot of motivation from inside. But once you share it, you know, you tell your friends, hey, I'm working out or something, it's kind of a double-edged sword, but there's a slight, you kind of motivate yourself not to, to maintain your reputation. Like, oh man, I told my friends I was gonna go do this. So now I gotta do this right. So here you and I made this pact or this promise that we’ll take this exam. And we told the people that were listening that this is what we're gonna do. So it's kind of like a reputation thing. So by putting it out there and making people aware of what we're doing, it can be a lot of pressure, but it's a powerful motivator.
|Peter: And how it motivated me was, again, I mentioned that I was gonna cheat a bit, and I came to Europe to learn French, and a kind of funny thing happened. I went to the school and the teacher didn't suit me again. A lot of language comes down to finding the right environment to study in. And this teacher was very, a little old school and she had her way of learning, which didn't suit me. So I made the quick decision to say, look, I don't think this will work, and I found a different teacher online, and this teacher was very new, very motivated. Uses many interactive activities and suits my style very, very well. So every morning this month, six days a week, I do an hour lesson with her.
|Peter: Sorry. Five days a week,
|Kyejin: five days a week.
|Peter: So that's 20 hours. Plus, the time that I put in my own, which is another 10 hours. And then, on top of that, the existing courses. So Kyejin, for the first time, I broke 40 hours.
|Kyejin: 40 hours. You studied twice more than I did.
|Peter: Shocking, right, Kyejin?
|Kyejin: Yes. Yes, it is a big shock. And did you feel your French has actually improved?
|Peter: Yes. But, what was hard was the time. The class time is 7 a.m. every morning before the kids get up, and this is I'm not gonna lie. This was very, very, very challenging, and the most powerful motivating thing about this was number one, the fact that we said we would do this, this power of a pact, this power of a promise.
|Peter: Number two, like, like, well, like you said, it's a collaborative effort. To be honest, seeing you work so hard and seeing you take the test. It's motivational, not and for the first time, not in a competitive way, but I didn't understand this power of pairs, this working together again. It cannot work, but I felt like this time, it worked well. What, what did you think, Kyejin?
|Kyejin: You know, for me, definitely. Yes, I got some advice from you who have more learning, language, learning experiences. And that helped me too. And that motivates me too.
|Peter: Yeah. The list you shared was incredible, and that helped a lot. It's nice when you can actually share things. Your level is much higher than mine. But it was still very nice to see how someone else does. It's motivating when the tactics I was using for French were failing in a way. So this power of pairs is very, I had never done this before. In a collaborative way. Always a competitive way. Let me target someone and try and beat them. Right.
|Kyejin: That's very Peter. Have you studied in a group, like study group or?
|Peter: not in many years, many years ago? Not at this stage. But that's another story. Do you like studying in groups?
|Kyejin: Yes. Yeah, I like sharing what I like with other people so we can do it together. Sometimes studying alone is boring. And when I feel tired, I can easily give up, I can always make excuse. I'm tired today. I'm busy today. I have to do this blah, blah. But with other people, we have a fixed schedule, which is also a routine. So I have to study, and when I'm studying with other people, it's actually fun.
|Peter: Yeah. My schedule is a little more constrained. My schedule, I'm actually like fourth or fifth in my schedule, maybe sixth or seventh. Kids are these other things. So it's sometimes hard to keep those commitments. So I'm a little more individual, but let me jump back one minute, and kind of, I wanna touch on one point. For me, this French journey has been very, very challenging to find a teacher and a situation that suits me very well. And for many listeners or people trying to learn, I think this is probably one of the toughest things. If you take a look at my year, it did not go as planned. But what kept me going was again, this, this, this promise, this path, this pact that I made to myself to, to Kyejin, to everyone. The pair, Kyejin, helped a lot with the motivation. But again, it's a certain resiliency to get to an environment that works for you to find the teacher. And I did have to make some uncomfortable decisions, and my French teacher did have to make an uncomfortable decision to fire me. I did have to make an uncomfortable decision not to continue with the class that I came all the way to study. But the goal, I mean, the main point here, is that you have to get to a situation that suits you. You have to find a teacher that works for you. You have to find the material that works for you and puzzle it together. What do you think, Kyejin?
|Kyejin: Yeah, definitely. Especially for language learning. I feel like it's for communication. It's with people. If it's mathematics or science, I think I can do it alone. But for language learning, it involves speaking, writing, and communicating with other people. And if I like the teacher, I'm actually happier to share everything in my life and I can be more talkative. I learn even more. So I agree it's very important and materials too. If some materials are not relevant to me, I don't find it useful to me or practical. So I tend to become so quiet. I literally have nothing to say if the topic is very boring. But if you find the right teacher and right materials, yeah, definitely that boost your learning experiences.
|Peter: And you, you, you brought up a great point about this, this community, right? Your study community. Last year you went to a school in France. How, I mean, how was that? What was the great part about that?
|Kyejin: My favorite part is to meet friends, many friends who speak French. They are not native speakers, they are not native French speakers, but they are from Switzerland, Brazil, China, or even Korea. But we always spoke French, and I actually learned more French from them than the class. The school. We traveled together. We had lots of chit-chat in French.
|Peter: Yeah. This is the key thing, right? It's, you wanna enjoy the situation you're learning in, and it's not, it's not gonna, or rarely will it just fall into your lap or rarely will it just, you'll get lucky on the first time you have to research and work at it and put yourself in a situation to succeed.
|Peter: And for the first time, I feel like I'm in that situation. We'll see if it's too late.
|Kyejin: Oh, wow. That's great.
|Peter: Yeah. And so I, you know, it took a little time, but I look forward to my 7 a.m. French classes. So Kyejin, hearing about my past month… is this motivational to you in any way, or does it help you get a spark back because we have three or four more months to go? Right. I should know that date exactly.
|Kyejin: Yeah. Actually, I should remind myself of the exam again so I can focus and study again.
|Peter: But, you know, Kyejin, take some time off, I mean, take some time off. But I have a feeling you passed the test already. So you've already completed a goal half the time.
|Kyejin: I hope so. Have you ever taken the DELF exam? I mean, the practice exam?
|Kyejin: not yet.
|Kyejin: Why don't you try at least like A1 or A2?
|Peter: That could be a good goal for me. But I think one thing I found with routines is I often like to keep them fixed for 4 to 8 weeks. That way, it kind of crystallizes. It hardens right now. It's kind of like, hm, I wish I had a better, like analogy or, kind of, but it's like a bone, right? It takes about four weeks to fix. So I set 4 to 6 weeks.
|Peter: So, this is a very new routine. It's a very tough routine, every morning, 7 a.m. I want to let this routine set, and once the routine sets. I think a good target will be September for my first test. But yeah, right now, I'm very, very happy where I am, and my goal is to repeat 40 plus hours again, 20 classes with the teacher online, and continue on with the material you sent me, continue on with the one on one material and expand communication with the Premium PLUS teacher would be a very, very good goal.
|Kyejin: Yeah, that sounds great. And I have a question.
|Peter: Yes, Kyejin?
|Kyejin: So you are studying French online, and you actually went to a French-speaking country to learn French even if you failed. But what was the difference? How different was it? Do we really need to learn a language in the target country, or is learning online enough for you?
|Peter: So for me, it's reality meets a dream in a way or, or what I projected, I projected that I would come to a country and the situation would be very good. I would go to the school and learn rapidly. And the reality was that the teacher wasn't a good fit. The school wasn't a good fit. So it made me rethink things, and it's a good point. It's like I always have this comparison. For me, the most fascinating thing about a library is kind of like what you make of it, right? You can walk by a library every day and never go inside. And enjoy the architecture or how the library looks on the outside, or you can go inside and read for eight hours every day, and the books are free. So you will get the most out of it. The school is the same. You, it's what, it's kind of what you put in. And for me, this idea of going to a country and learning there was… in a way, I think I was tricking myself like… where your approach was much stronger, where it's, it's, again, it's what you put in. I didn't put a lot of time in before I went. And I thought, OK, I'll have the time to make up when I'm there. And that wasn't the reality. So I think every step of your journey, it's what you put in is what you're gonna get out. And if I put in the time like you did, I think I would have a very, very good time even with that teacher at the school. So, the point is this… wherever you are, whatever environment you're in, you can get much more out of it. I didn't. I could have done all of this for a lot less cost if I had the right mindset and right approach. And I think the biggest takeaway is that you've had that right from the beginning. And if you, I mean, maybe we can talk about this and try and tease this out a bit, but that mindset and approach, if you have it right, the environment matters but not, not as much because I'm doing very, very well online right now.
|Kyejin: Yeah, I totally agree with you. I feel like I learn more from my teacher directly online than when I went to the French school in France. But the only good thing was I had friends who speak French all the time, and when I go to the restaurant, I can experience the French food or the culture. And I can also use some French out there. Other than that, in terms of the learning aspect, I feel like learning online is actually great. It's very useful and powerful,
|Peter: Very powerful, and especially my teacher right now is extremely motivated. She puts in the preparation. She puts in the time. She really is very excited about teaching. And I will say that teachers also have a journey there in the beginning. Some teachers can stay motivated throughout their careers. Other teachers, teaching is a very tough job. So motivation may go up and down like, you know, like anything in life, like our motivation to learn. So if this current teacher I have is at her peak of motivation and really excited to teach, it makes me want to learn. But also, I'm approaching this with a much better mindset, and I'm and a better approach. So, you know, it's kind of these things matching, right? And that's why you need resilience in finding the best environment for your learning. So Kyejin I, I hope this is a little motivational for you, but don't rush back. I mean, you've already put in a tremendous amount of work. So, I only wanted to share. If there's anything inside of here or any way I could help, please let me know. But yeah, this power of a promise, this pact, this one power of a promise or pact, whatever you wanna call it, two power of pairs and three, the resiliency to find that right situation. And if you take a lesson from Kyejin and you have that right mindset, right approach from the beginning, I think any environment can work for you.
|Kyejin: Thank you. So I feel like we are learning and progressing very well this year.
|Peter: We shall see.
|Kyejin: Ok. Yeah, but for now, yeah, so far, I think we are doing very good.
|Peter: OK. So Kyejin, my goal is to repeat 40-plus hours, stick to my schedule throughout the next month. And then based on what you shared, I will work in DELF, and that will be what I focus on. How about yourself?
|Kyejin: For me, I'll get my motivation back. I find a different way to enjoy learning more. But I like learning French itself. It's just like I don't want to spend so much time on self-studying so hard on myself trying to memorize many vocabulary as I want. That was tiring. But hopefully, yeah, I passed the DELF with the effort that I put.
|Peter: Well, I'm excited to see those results.
|Kyejin: Yeah, me too. It takes time.
|Peter: Ok. Listeners. What about you? Let us know what your small measurable monthly goal is. Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com, and stay tuned for the next inner circle.
|Kyejin: Bye everyone.
|Peter: Thanks for listening, and see you next time.