Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had two activities where my learning process was boosted.
I’ve learned English (it’s not my native language) and I’ve learned dancing.
In three months, my English went from average to fluent and in one month, my dancing went from zero to knowing the basic steps and having ease of learning new steps.
It feels like I’ve learned so many things in such a small amount of time. But feeling it isn’t the only factor that contributes to the affirmative answer of ‘Am I learning this fast?’
The compliments of others are another one.
Three weeks ago I’ve started speaking with a friend, who is an English teacher, on Skype and she said I’m fluent. Though I’ve never thought I speak English as good as a fluent person.
Also, when I’m dancing, I get all sorts of compliments from others – both verbally or just from body language.
All these information, and some other patterns I’ve created, make me think that I’m learning quite fast. And I’d love to share my process of learning with you.
4 learning methods to learn English fast (or any foreign language)
It may not be the fastest way to learn a language, for sure it will bring you one step ahead towards your objective.
As I’ve said before, in 3 months I went from average to fluent and I did only these 4 things that I’m going to share with you right now.
1. Listen to podcasts
Since February, I’ve been listening to podcasts.
Mostly, The Tim Ferriss Show. I was listening for at least 30 mins daily and, sometimes, even two episodes in a row – one episode has between 60 and 150 mins.
Recently, I’ve found others that I consider valuable. The GaryVee Audio Experience, The Robin Sharma Mastery Sessions, and Entrepreneur On Fire.
So, why listen to podcasts? How can listening to podcasts improve the learning process of a foreign language?
First, if you think about a language, it has a few elements that create it. The grammar, the vocabulary, and the spelling.
The spelling part is all related to what we hear inside that language. Also, I believe that focusing on two of them, will help you easily learn the third one.
If you’re struggling with grammar, start with spelling and vocabulary. If you’re struggling with spelling, start with grammar and vocabulary.
Second, let’s value for a second the pause button.
If you are just starting, pressing the pause button every now and then will help you a lot. It will give you the time to analyze the spelling of the language that you’re learning and, as well, you’ll be able to repeat out loud what you hear.
For me, that was a great fucking way to improve my English skills.
2. Start writing and reading
I remember my 1st and 2nd grades.
In school, in my 1st grade, I was writing some letters. Then, from the 2nd grade, I was reading.
Writing and reading are directly connected to anything you want to learn. Especially if you’re trying to learn a new language. This is actually how you are able to improve your vocabulary.
I have two tricks here if you want to learn English fast (or any other foreign language).
First, start reading out loud.
I know, it will take you 10 times more and it will feel like a burden, but you’ll see amazing results sooner than you think.
Second, ask a friend to proofread the texts you’re writing.
If you’re trying to learn Chinese or some weird forgotten language like the Nuu-chah-nulth (declared extinct in 2016 – Canada’s Region) you may not have a friend to help you here.
But if you’re trying to learn English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or something else that’s common, for sure you’ll find someone.
Ask them to not only proofread your text, but also to explain more about your mistakes so you can understand where you did wrong and why.
3. Find other people
You’re not the only one that wants to learn a foreign language.
As long as you’re not trying to learn Nuu-chah-nulth, you’ll find somebody. And it’s really important to practice with someone the foreign language you’re trying to learn because that’s all about – practicing and speaking.
If you’re only staying in your comfort zone and speak only with yourself, you’ll have a brain freeze when you’ll have to talk with someone else – or worse, with a native.
4. Tools to fast learning your way towards a foreign language
In my adventure of learning English, I’ve found a few tools that have helped me.
The first and the most important one is this Tenses Table. A friend gave it to me and I think this table helped me the most in understanding grammar.
The second one that I recommend is Duolingo. A great website (with mobile app included) where you can learn more than 10 languages. If you’re brave enough, you can try learning two or more languages at the same time.
Looking for more resources? Here are others that helped me:
- What is necessary to learn English well?
- English Accent: 2 Tips to Sound Like a Native English Speaker
- 15 Things to STOP Doing When Learning English!
- ADVERBS IN ENGLISH
- Synonyms For 95 Commonly Used Words – A Mini-Thesaurus For Writers
- Vocabulary Builders: Expressive Phrases
- English Grammar Rules
3 ways to fast learn dancing
This is quite fresh for me, considering that I’ve started on 1st of May.
Nevertheless, I think I can guide someone who’s zero at dancing, through their first month of dancing classes, so he or she can learn faster.
5. Be Present
When your instructor is explaining something, pay attention.
When your instructor is doing something, pay attention.
I’m always focused on the instructor’s guidance. But I’m obsessed with something else – the way he dances. The ability to be laser-focused on every tiny detail about his moves makes me evolve.
Right after that, I try them myself as much as I need so I can do the moves as well.
This is really important for learning the basic steps.
By the way, I’m learning bachata and salsa. These two dancing types don’t have more than 10 basic steps. So, if you’re laser-focused on learning the basics, you’ll find it easier when you’ll have to combine them.
6. Involve yourself more than you should
At this dancing school, there are three learning groups, based on how well you can dance.
The 1st month – you are just started learning.
The 2nd month – basic stuff related to combining basic steps
The 3rd month and forward – intermediate dancing lessons
In the 1st month, you can go 7 times a week. In the 2nd month, you can go 7 times a week as well. But you can go to the introduction lessons from the 1st month too if you want, which is cool.
And from the 3rd month, you’ll only have two classes a week. As well, you can go 14 more times a week too, to the introduction and basic steps classes.
So, I wanted to learn how to dance really fast and I’ve decided to go every day.
Also, if there’s something that seems too difficult, I can sit and watch and this also gives me some additional knowledge.
7. Go to parties
The dancing school I’m at has a dancing bar where I’m going once or twice a week.
That’s the place where I can actually practice what I’m learning. And it’s so cool because I can become even more conscious about my dancing skills.
Create mind maps to streamline your learning process
I remember the moments I was trying to learn simply because I had to learn. Either in high school or college.
Having all sorts of exams or papers, which I had to deliver orally, I was wondering “how can I learn so much information?”
Being a lazy person, I didn’t want to learn too much. Instead, I dared to do research. So I asked left and right how to learn faster and better.
And after some research, somewhere at the age of 19 to 20, I discovered two mind mapping techniques to help me store the information more easily in my memory.
What is Mind Mapping?
Think of being a tourist in a new city you have not visited before.
Suppose that this city is London. If you’ve visited it so far, then it’s even better. You will understand the concept of mind mapping easier.
London, like any other city, has its map. However, unlike the usual maps, where you only see the streets, there are other types of maps: those for tourists.
Maps for tourists are made so that you can easily figure out, with the help of illustrations, if you are where you want to be.
Here’s what the London map looks like for tourists:
As you can see, it looks a bit different from the maps we are used to. Everything seems simplified and, more importantly, the things that matter are highlighted.
Such a map gets me where I want to go simply because I can guide myself more easily and see exactly where are the chosen destinations.
Become a tourist of your own mind
Just as well as being a tourist in London, you can be a tourist in your own mind.
Do you have to learn for the accountancy exam and there are too many accounts to remember? Create a mind map and travel to the city called Accounting.
Do you have a presentation and do you want to avoid omitting information because everything is important? Create a mind map and travel to the city called PowerPoint.
Below I will give you three powerful examples to help you streamline your learning process.
8. Mind map using the house you’re living in
Think of the house you’re living in. If you have been living for more than a month then this exercise should be simple.
The house you’re living in is the place you know best. You know exactly what happens when you enter the door and get into the bathroom or when you put yourself in bed.
You know everything has its place. The refrigerator is in the kitchen, the laptop in the bedroom, the TV in the living room. If you open the fridge, you might know what’s in it. Moreover, if I suggest you think about the bedroom wardrobe, you’ll know how many shelves it has and where every piece of clothing is put.
Well, structure them and use them one at a time. I will give you my example.
In my bedroom, as I walk through the door, to the left is the office. A simple, wooden table, on which I have all sorts of things. I have my laptop, I have pens, I have the books I wrote, I have two agendas, a piece of rubber band. Next to the desk is a small table with a printer, business cards, and a stamp.
I could go on, but I think it’s enough for you to understand what I’m going to tell you.
From the above description, I have made a whole list of items: bedroom, door, desk, table, laptop, pens, books, notebooks, notebooks, printers, business cards, and stamps.
Returning to the example of accounting, I’m not an accountant and I do not like accounting, but I know that the accounts are grouped by category. If each item in the list above assigns a category of accounts, it will be easier for me to teach them, because I can view them.
I’ve searched on Google for accounting accounts and saw that there are the following:
- CLASS 4: Third-party accounts
- GROUP 40: Suppliers and assimilated accounts
- 401 Suppliers (P)
- 403 Paid effects (P)
- 404 Property providers (P)
- 405 Paid assets for fixed assets (P)
- 408 Suppliers – non-billed invoices (P)
- 409 Suppliers – debtors
- 4091 Suppliers – borrowers for purchases of goods in the nature of stocks (A)
- 4092 Suppliers – debtors for the provision of services and works (A)
- GROUP 41: Clients and assimilated accounts
- 411 Clients
- 4111 Customers (A)
- 4118 Uncertain or disputed clients (A)
- 413 Received effects from customers (A)
- 418 Clients – invoices to be drawn up (A)
- 419 Clients – creditors (P)
- GROUP 40: Suppliers and assimilated accounts
PS: Those may only be available in Romania and I translated them the best I could.
Now follow my above example and make a comparison with what I’m going to tell you next.
To me in CLASS 4, as I walk through the door, to the left is GROUP 40. A simple, wooden table, on which I have all sorts of things. I have 401 Suppliers, I have 403 Paid effects, I have 404 Property providers, I have 405 Paid assets for fixed assets, 408 Suppliers – non-billed invoices. Next to GROUP 40 there is also GROUP 41 with 411 Clients, 413 Received effects from customers and 419 Clients – creditors.
In a nutshell, I have made associations between the accounts and the things I am used to in my everyday life. Things I have near me always and with which I’m used to interacting.
9. Mind map using A4 + colors
I’ve searched on Google for an image that illustrates the best the exercise with paper and colors.
I’ve have found a mind map drawn for time management. As you can see, it looks very good:
In fact, it looks so good that if you spend five minutes studying it, you will remember it.
Why is it so strong?
Because it has visual elements that you can easily associate with the information there. And, in turn, the information is very simple.
In your case, do not think you have to be extraordinarily skilled at drawing. Rather, just think that you only need to illustrate the information you want to keep using simple visuals.
10. Mind map using Mindmeister.com
I thought it would be interesting to leave you a digital tool to help you put this technique into practice. It has nothing in addition to the A4 + colors from the previous example.
If you spend too much time in front of your laptop, then it might be easier for you to use such a tool than to start drawing.
Visit https://www.mindmeister.com/mind-map-presentation-software and read more about the MindMeister tool.