Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we're talking about…
Peter: The Power of Learning a Language with Someone Better than You
Chigusa: You'll Learn...
Peter: One: Why You Shouldn’t Be the Smartest Person in the Room.
Chigusa: And Two: How to Apply this Learning Tactic
Peter: Also you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to know if you’re on track with your language…
Chigusa: ...and how to find more time for language learning…
Peter: ...because ultimately... language learning is just a function of time.
Chigusa: The more time you’ve put in, the better you get at it.
Peter: So, for the grammar rules you didn’t quite understand on day 1… they become more natural to you some days or weeks later. That is IF you put in the time to learn and practice.
Chigusa: Peter, so what about your Russian goals for this month? Did you put in enough time?
Peter: I did. I promised to hit 15 minutes of Russian conversation… and I hit it.
Chigusa: That’s great. So maybe you can still hit the original 30-minute goal for the year.
Peter: That is the plan but Chigusa I think you know the holidays kind of always go a bit awry so let’s see if we can put in a little more time towards the end of the year. But I’m not going to put that pressure on myself.
Chigusa: Fair enough. Did you do anything differently, or are you on track with your usual routines?
Peter: Well, I’m doing one of the several things I always do when learning a language, and that is… learning with someone better than I am in the language. And that’s the topic of this inner Circle.
Chigusa: The Power of Learning a Language with Someone Better than You
Peter: Let’s jump into part 1.
Chigusa: Part 1. Why You Shouldn’t Be the Smartest Language Learner in the Room.
Chigusa: Now, Peter, when you say “someone better than you,”… do you mean a native speaker or teacher, or another language learner?
Peter: That’s a great question, Chigusa. It can be a native speaker… because they are indeed better than you at the language. And it can also be another language learner that’s ahead of you.
Chigusa: That’s interesting. But I wonder if it’s better to learn with another language learner. You know, because they’re also learners… and not teachers.
Peter: Chigusa, in my experience, that makes a lot of sense, and there are a few reasons why. For example, picture a language class. I don’t mean a high school class where most of the kids probably don’t fall in the highly motivated scale… but a language class that adults join, and that people are paying for with their own money.
Chigusa: Okay.
Peter: So, let’s say there are 10 people in the class… You have 1 or 2 of those people that are really really good. And there are a few maybe near your level. And there are some learners that are behind you. So, if you have someone in the class that’s better in the language than you… how does that make you feel, Chigusa?
Chigusa: Hmm, I kind of want to reach their level!
Peter: Exactly. And you know, between me and you Chigusa, and of course the listeners, I can be quite competitive, so… having people better than me kind of inspires and motivates me to reach their level and work harder. In a healthy way.
Chigusa: That’s true. That’s something you can’t get if you’re alone. But Peter, what if you’re learning with a native speaker…? There won’t be any competition.
Peter: There won’t be competition, but it’s a bit of a different dynamic. You still want to reach their level of fluency, or kind of perhaps. you still want to impress them. If you think of a young child, or when you were a child, think back, you wanted to have an adult conversation, right?
Chigusa: Yeah, and it’s good for motivation too, right?
Peter: Exactly. Another thing is when you’re around people who are advanced in the target language… you now have to work on a higher level. It’s kind of like being placed a grade ahead… or maybe working out with people using heavier weights than you...
Chigusa: Meaning you have to catch up to their level... and so end up improving faster as a result.
Peter: That’s so true.
Chigusa: It’s like the saying, “you’re the average of the company you keep”... except from the language point of view.
Peter: Chigusa, that’s a great way of putting it. It’s kind of like that expression, “If you're the smartest person in the room, you're probably in the wrong room.”
Chigusa: So, you should be surrounded by people who are better in the language than you.
Peter: Because you CAN also learn from other learners too. If they use a more advanced grammar pattern, you automatically want to know what that is… so that’s kind of how i use it myself, there’s a big benefit to it too.
Chigusa: So Peter, is that something you’re doing with Russian?
Peter: Well, I try to learn with others with any language I take on. For the most part, it’s been native speakers and teachers. But, as we talked about in a previous Inner Circle lesson, I’ve been taking our Live Online classes where I’m learning alongside 4 others
Chigusa: Oh, right.
Peter: ...and having people better in the language than I am… is really powerful. Believe it or not, it’s a pleasure to be around them because there’s so much I can learn from them as well as the teacher. And I think it’s a combination of things, the competition, knowing you’re not the best, wanting to be the best or at least reach their level… really motivated me to learn more and hit my goals.
Chigusa: Right, so I wanted to ask about how that has motivated you...and what you’ve been doing.
Peter: Well, language learning will always have 2 components, well at least 2 components, let’s focus on these 2 components: self-study and interaction with others.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So, self-study is really crucial here. This is where you acquire new words and grammar rules. And when you’re learning with others, that’s when you practice, get feedback… and of course, learn some new things too - but that time is kind of limited. There’s only so much you can learn in an hour class or with a tutor.
Chigusa: Yeah, and there’s only so much time you can spend with a tutor.
Peter: So, self-study plays a big part because that’s where I prepare for the next live classes… or for study sessions with my tutor…
Chigusa: So you can bring something new and practice it there with them.
Peter: So that’s what I’ve been doing with my RussianPod101 lessons. I’m still going through the pathway, doing the lessons, shadowing the conversations, reviewing the words with flashcards. And I test myself with the assessments. And this gives me new things to use with my tutor. But Chigusa, if I wasn’t learning with people that are better than me… I don’t think I’d be as inspired to go above and beyond on my own.
Chigusa: Right. I remember you said you bumped yourself up to 3 hours of study a week last time. That’s a lot of time...
Peter: ...and that’s hard to find that time for yourself… if you’re on your own. But again, with other people, I think you become more motivated.
Chigusa: Okay, so what about our listeners? What can they take away from this?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How to Apply this Learning Tactic
Peter: So, listeners, remember, when we talk about learning with others who are better at the language…
Chigusa: It could be native speakers and teachers…
Peter: Or, it could just be other learners who are at a higher level than you.
Chigusa: Just being around them will motivate you to get better at your target language.
Peter: So, if you’re wondering how to approach this… here are a few ways.
Chigusa: One: Use our Premium Plus plan.
Peter: If you want to interact with a native but you’re not ready for face-to-face interactions….
Chigusa: Then, you can learn with our Premium Plus teachers via the My Teacher tool on the site or inside the App.
Chigusa: Two: Enroll in our online class...
Peter: We’re offering online classes for a few of our major languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French and Korean ...where you can learn alongside up to 4 others. And the next semester will open up in January.
Chigusa: Or, you can enroll in another online class.
Peter: Three: Get an online or in-person tutor.
Chigusa: Four: Get a study buddy….
Peter: ... or join an online language learning community.
Chigusa: The point is just to be around more advanced learners... Or native speakers.
Peter: ...and learn alongside them, or practice with them.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter, let's get back to goals. What's your goal for next month?
Peter: So last month was 15 minutes so I think I’ll try for 20 minutes but let's see.
Chigusa: Great. Deadline?
Peter: October 31st.
Chigusa: Okay. Listeners, how about you?
Peter: What's your small, measurable monthly goal? And what's the deadline?
Chigusa: Let us know.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


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