Lesson Transcript


Becky: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Becky and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Becky: In this Inner Circle, we're talking about...
Peter: Focusing On What You're Good At
Becky: You'll learn...
Peter: 1. The Importance of an Imperfect Start for Future Success.
Becky: 2. Why You Should Focus on What You're Good At
Peter: 3. How I'm Focusing on Listening...
Becky: ...and How You Can Apply These Tactics As Well
Peter: ...All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Becky: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to train all 4 aspects of language...
Becky: ....reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Peter: ...and you learned all about our newest study tool...
Becky: ...Premium PLUS assignments...
Peter: ...where you get ongoing weekly assignments based on your needs...
Becky: ...from your Premium PLUS teacher.
Peter: This is a surefire way to improve because your teacher reviews your work...
Becky: ...they provide you with feedback, corrections and actionable advice...
Peter: ...so you have no choice but to improve!
Becky: Speaking of improvement, Peter....
Peter: Yes, Becky?
Becky: Let's hear about your improvement. Your goal for this month. How'd you do?
Peter: Well... I have good news and bad news. I have a feeling you want to hear the bad news. What do you want to hear first?
Becky: Ah, I'll take the good.
Peter: Optimism first. What a change, Becky Okay, good news first. I promised to finish a whole practice exam. That was my goal....
Becky: So that's the ... good news? And the bad news... you didn't finish, right?
Peter: Not quite, slow down, Becky, the good news is... I DID finish the exam.
Becky: Oh! Okay, so you reached your goal for the month!
Peter: I did. But the bad news... I failed almost every portion of that test - speaking, reading and writing.
Becky: Peter, knowing you finished... that's good enough for me. Which part did you pass?
Peter: Well, I didn't pass, but my best section was the listening section. And I barely passed.
Becky: Well, that's a start! You know what you're good at, at least.
Peter: Well, relatively good at, right? So listeners, this is the topic of today's Inner Circle.
Becky: Why You Should Focus On What You're Good At
Peter: Or, relatively good at. You'll learn...
Becky: 1. The Importance of an Imperfect Start for Future Success.
Peter: 2. Why You Should Focus on What You're Good at
Becky: 3. How Peter Focused on Listening....
Peter: ...and How You Can Apply These Tactics As Well
Becky: Let's jump into the first part
Peter: The Importance of an Imperfect Start for Future Success.
Becky: So, Peter... I think most people would agree that if you bombed that practice test, then that's a bad sign.
Peter: You're not wrong, Becky. That's how most people see this.
Becky: Then, what's the value in failing a test?
Peter: Think of it like this. Let's say you're a beginner and you have to write your self-introduction in... Becky, what language are you studying?
Becky: Japanese.
Peter: So you write a paragraph introduction, which is terrible. Filled with mistakes. Maybe you use an English word here and there. And if that were a test, it'd be a total failure, right?
Becky: My Japanese isn't that bad, Peter.... but, go on.
Peter: Now, you have something to show. You took the first step. So, you pass it to your teacher. They review it, they underline your mistakes and make corrections. That's the second step. Then you do it again. You rewrite it. That's the third step.
Becky: Alright, so I get feedback, corrections. I apply them and try again.
Peter: Exactly. But most people NEVER start. Or if they do, they get discouraged by their first attempt.
Becky: Ah, I see.
Peter: The value is in this... you have something to show. And it serves as the foundation for you to improve on.
Becky: But if you never started...
Peter: ...you have nothing. Nothing to improve upon. No language progress. Simply by taking that first, imperfect step - you're actually taking 3 steps if you apply corrections -
Becky: ...And you go further than someone who's done nothing.
Peter: You're 3 steps ahead of someone who's done nothing! That's the value of taking an imperfect step.
Becky: Ah, so it's the same with the practice test.
Peter: Exactly. I bombed the reading, speaking and writing sections...
Becky: ...but the listening part...
Peter: Again, it was my best area. I failed by a FEW points. No, it's no major accomplishment... but it's good to know what I'm relatively good at. It's a bit of a relief! It's a starting point.
Becky: Okay, what now? You know your practice test results
Peter: Now? Well, it made sense to divide up speaking, listening, reading and writing...
Becky: ...and just focus on one at a time?
Peter: Exactly. And I chose listening because it's what I'm relatively best at.
Becky: Right, you don't want to overwhelm yourself.
Peter: I think I spread myself too thin last time.
Becky: I'd say so. There were a lot of learning tactics in the last Inner Circle. Actually, the listeners loved it but I think it's just hard to apply all of them at once.
Peter: Exactly. And that's what I'll do this month - focus on one aspect.
Becky: Let's get into the second part.
Peter: Part 2 -
Becky: ...Why you should focus on what you're good at.
Peter: So, focusing on one aspect of a language makes sense.
Becky: Okay, but which one do you choose? Reading, writing, listening... speaking!
Peter: To make things easy, focus on what you're already good at.
Becky: Why is that?
Peter: Here's why. First, we enjoy doing what we're good at.
Becky: Or at least, tend to enjoy it more.
Peter: The second reason is, if you enjoy what you do, you progress faster...
Becky: ...and when you see your progress grow,
Peter: ....you're motivated to keep going and get even better.
Becky: So, fast progress and motivation.
Peter: That's right.
Becky: Peter, what if you're good at reading... but you'd rather be better at speaking? Does it still make sense to focus on what you're good at?
Peter: That's a great question, Becky. It makes sense and here's why. You get good at what you spend most of your time on.
Becky: Right....
Peter: And because you're good at it, you'll enjoy it and you keep going. It's a proven, successful routine. This is the most important part.
Becky: You keep going. It keeps you consistent.
Peter: But If you drop this successful routine, you make it harder to stick to language learning.
Becky: Ah, then if you completely shift from reading to speaking...
Peter: ...you're completely changing your routine to something new...
Becky: ...and it will be tough to stick to it.
Peter: Exactly. What I suggest is... if you're good at reading but want to get better at speaking, then slowly allocate some of your time to speaking. Don't rush.
Becky: For example?
Peter: if you read for 10 minutes a day, shift 1 minute over to speaking.
Becky: You read for 9 minutes and practice speaking for 1 minute.
Peter: That way, you can ease into this new routine and work your way up.
Becky: Listeners, if you're not even sure what you're good at, try listening.
Peter: It's a relatively easily acquired skill.
Becky: Right, it's how babies learn....
Peter: ....and not only that. Like reading, it's a skill that you can practice 100% of the time.
Becky: You don't need a teacher or a native speaker to practice with.
Peter: You can simply take audio lessons, video lessons...
Becky: ...or immerse yourself with shows, movies or songs. So, what are you doing for listening?
Peter: Let's get into the third part.
Becky: Part 3 - How Peter is Focusing on Listening
Peter: ...and How You Can Apply These Tactics As Well
Becky: So, how are you working on your Chinese listening?
Peter: I'll give you the techniques and the tactics.
First, with ChineseClass101 lessons, I listen to 3 dialogues a day. While I listen, I read with the lesson notes and transcripts. I also try to do some speaking - I repeat what I hear. What I did this time is, I made a more specific, measurable, daily goal - so I do 3 dialogues a day.
Second, I download these dialogue tracks and listen to them on repeat, kind of like you would with a song. I do this to review and it's usually in my downtime. For example, if I'm on the train, I'll listen a bit.
Becky: Ah, i like that - reviewing audio lessons like you would review flashcards.
Peter: Exactly.
Third: I try harder, higher-level, lessons. Since I'm aiming to improve my listening, I have to expose myself to higher level content. Kind of like if you want to get bigger muscles...
Becky: ...you have to lift heavier weights?
Peter: Exactly.
Becky: Is the process any different here?
Peter: It's about the same. I still read along, but, I do have to listen several times to fully master the conversations.
Becky: What advanced level lessons would you suggest to our listeners?
Peter: Definitely check out the Intermediate Level Lessons, the Advanced Audio Blog lessons... and the Listening Comprehension lessons.
Becky: ...or just try any season that's above your level, listeners.
Peter: Fourth, now I'm getting listening assignments from my Premium PLUS teacher.
Becky: What kind of assignments exactly?
Peter: I personally requested ones that focus on the tones. That's my weakness. In Chinese, there are 4 tones.
Becky: I've heard that Chinese tones are pretty tricky.
Peter: If you're on your own, yes, but when you're getting feedback from a teacher, it gets much easier.
Becky: Remember that if you're a Premium PLUS user...
Peter: ...you can get your assignments tailored to your needs.
Becky: Alright, so listeners, be sure to stick with audio and video for lessons for listening.
Peter: Remember, if you're focusing on listening, try to really put your energy into that. If you have some extra time, go back and read along with the lesson notes, transcript or the line-by-line dialogue...
Becky: ...so you don't miss a word and understand everything.
Peter: Download the lessons to review them in your downtime.
Becky: Try harder lessons.
Peter: If you're a Premium PLUS student, take advantage of the personalized assignments.
Becky: And remember, make your goals small, measurable and realistic.
Peter: Just like I set a daily goal of listening to 3 lesson dialogues....
Becky: ...you should do the same.
Peter: If you're going to take lessons...
Becky: ...Add a number. How many will you take in a day? In a week?
Peter: If you're doing assignments, again, add a number.
Becky: Will you do two assignments a week? Three?
Peter: Simply by making it measurable makes it that much easier to accomplish.
Becky: Now, Peter, what's your next monthly goal?
Peter: My goal is to listen to at least 60 dialogues this month.
Becky: You're already doing 3 a day, right?
Peter: Exactly. For 4 or 5 days out of the week. So, about 15 a week. So, mastering 60 dialogues in a month shouldn't be too hard.
Becky: Let's set a deadline too.
Peter: How about May 31st.
Becky: Alright, sounds good!
Peter: Listeners, let us know what your goals are for the month.
Becky: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Peter: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Becky: Well, that's going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.