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3B: Activity Guide

Throughout this roadmap, we've explained many activities and strategies you can use to develop specific skills. It can be confusing and overwhelming to think about how to combine all of these different pieces.

This article is here to help you make sense of those pieces so that you can plan your language learning more effectively.

Feedback Loops

When thinking about how to organize your learning process, it's helpful to think in terms of feedback loops.

A loop is a series of steps that repeat. Each pass through the loop is one repetition.

A feedback loop is when the output of one repetition becomes the input of the next repetition.

Each of the activities described in Stage 2 is one step in a feedback loop that helps you improve your comprehension:

  1. Intensive immersion: consciously break apart the language.
  2. Sentence mining: identify and learn unknown pieces.
  3. Anki review: review newly learned pieces.
  4. Free flow immersion: comprehend and integrate newly learned pieces.
  5. Repeat loop with higher comprehension.

Each time you go through this process, new pieces of the language get acquired. When you acquire those pieces it improves your comprehension, which unlocks the next set of pieces to be learned in the next repetition.

This is why we encourage you to focus on low-hanging fruit and skip things that aren't sticking. Each time you acquire something, it makes the next piece a little bit easier to learn. As long as you repeat this loop, eventually, the hard things will become easy.

In Stage 3B, you are adding two new feedback loops into your learning process: one to improve your writing and another to improve your pronunciation.

Improve Writing Ability

By the end of Stage 3B, you should be comfortable with written conversation in your TL. To accomplish this, use the following feedback loop:

  1. Write conversations with a language partner or an iTalki tutor.
  2. Get corrected by a native speaker (or through Google).
  3. Notice the correct usage in immersion (written forums and chatrooms).
  4. Immerse until you’ve acquired the correct usage.
  5. Repeat.

Apps like Tandem and HelloTalk have correction tools built-in which makes it easy to get corrected by natives. You can also use a tool like Journaly to get corrected on longer pieces of writing.

If talking to random strangers gives you anxiety, we recommend hiring a tutor. Use iTalki to find a tutor and explain that you are looking to have your writing corrected.

Improve Pronunciation

Pronunciation practice is the second new feedback loop you will integrate into your learning habits:

  1. Listen to your parent
  2. Shadow your parent
  3. Compare your pronunciation to theirs to notice differences
  4. Consciously adjust your pronunciation to match theirs
  5. Repeat

The more you listen to your parent, the easier it will be to shadow them. The more you shadow, the better you'll be able to hear the subtleties of your parent's speaking style while listening.

Balance

We often get the question, "How much of each activity should I do per day?"

Learning a language takes years. For any long-term goal, it's better to think in terms of weeks than in days. You don't need to do every single exercise every single day. In fact, when integrating a new practice, it can be helpful to focus on that practice exclusively for 1-2 weeks until it becomes comfortable. You can focus on writing for 2 weeks and then pronunciation for the next 2 weeks.

Once you’re comfortable though, we recommend doing each exercise multiple times per week. Here is the schedule we recommend:

  • Shadowing 4 times per week for 15 minutes
  • Writing 3 times per week for 30-60 minutes
  • Immerse with Parent and casual conversation for 15 hours per week
  • Fun immersion for the remaining time

Level Up

Move up to Stage 3C when you feel comfortable with the following:

  1. You can easily understand your parent (level 6 comprehension).
  2. You can understand casual audio conversation (level 5 comprehension).
  3. You can easily understand casual written conversation (level 6 comprehension).
  4. You can shadow for 60 seconds without losing the train of the audio.
  5. You are comfortable writing conversations in your TL.

Shortcut To Speaking

Some people prefer speaking instead of writing. If you are impatient to start speaking, you can do Stage 3B and 3C simultaneously.

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