Monday, April 7, 2014

Operation Learn German

Week 2

Last week was Week 1 and I set myself a few goals towards my main goal (refresher: to reach B2 level in German by 31st May). I managed to achieve almost all of these goals! I have caught up in my German workbook, I've used my der die das flashcards almost every day, and I've memorised loads of verbs (more on this later). The last goal on my list for Week 1 last week was to have three 20 minute conversations with a German speaker. This was much harder to achieve because I couldn't just rely on myself to do it, I had to get other people to help me. I had one 5 minute conversation with a woman I met briefly at work who is Austrian, I had a 2 minute conversation with my flatmate Phil who is Swiss-German and I had about 10 minutes conversation with an Australian living in Germany. Not bad considering, but need to work on putting myself out there more and organising more meetings with German speakers. So on to this week's goals:

  • Complete five chapters in my German book. Last week I realised that doing a chapter every day was pretty difficult. Achievable, but difficult because as I got further along chapters required more time and I needed to revise more verbs and work on my weaknesses before allowing myself to progress to the next chapter. So this week I've set five chapters because that's how many is in this next "part" of the book (part 3). I will try to do one every day and I've got two spare days of the week to help catch up or revise etc. Maybe this is being too ambitious but it's better than setting a goal that doesn't push me (and frankly if I want to be fluent by the end of May I really need to push myself harder).
  • Use my der die das flashcards everyday. I've updated my flashcard system now to also quiz myself on the plurals of each word. My flashcards are three words per card and all words have the same definitive article, so that I can create little memory images that associate all three. For example der Park, der Fahrplan, der Schreibtisch (park, schedule/timetable, writing desk) become an image in my mind of a desk in the park where a man is writing a schedule (the man is writing it because it's the masculine definitive article der). I've also decided that once I get a flashcard right instantly three times than it can be put in another pile where I'll revise it less frequently. It will then be replaced with a completely new flashcard with new words. This way I'm never trying to do too many cards at once nor am I uselessly revising words I can recall instantly and with ease.
  • Verbs. I really need to work on my past tense conjugations of verbs, as it's not too fluent yet. I need to update my verb workbook and write it out clearly so I can get my friend to quiz me and I also need to actually write out the conjugations of a couple of pages of verbs every day.
  • Have three conversations of 20 minutes duration with a German speaker. I'm keeping this goal the same because I think 20 minutes is a duration which will really test me. I hope that I can organise my time with people better to achieve this, and also that people will help me.
There's no better day than Monday for setting goals don't you think?

This is me twirling in my cape at the Berlin Wall circa. 2012

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