|Kyejin: Welcome to the Inner Circle.
|Peter: This is the monthly no-holds-barred newsletter giving you tried and tested learning methods to help you reach your language goals this year.
|Kyejin: Hi, I'm Kyejin, and I'm joined by my co-host, the founder of Innovative Language, Peter Galante.
|Kyejin: Last time you learned about the power of a promise…
|Peter: …and the power of external routines for when your motivation is low, and Kyejin, you burned out right after taking the DELF, right?
|Kyejin: Right. Unfortunately. So, I didn't do any self-study, but I could continue learning French thanks to group classes. The routine helped so much.
|Peter: That's so nice to hear, and I was able to bounce back. Thanks to the power of a promise that we talked about. And it's funny because we're always kind of on the opposite ends of the spectrum. When you're doing well, I'm not. And now, the tables have turned a bit, but let's see how this holds up in August.
|Peter: So Kyejin, we left the last session on a bit of a cliffhanger, meaning you had not got your results. But you said they were coming any day now. So, first question: did you get your results?
|Kyejin: Yes. Yes. Yes. And I think you can guess the results now, right?
|Peter: Yeah, that's, that was quite enthusiastic. So I will say that you passed.
|Kyejin Exactly. I did.
|Peter: Wow, congratulations, Kyejin.
|Kyejin: Thank you.
|Peter: So, you reached your goal in half the time. Less than half because the year started. And you took the test in May, was it?
|Peter: Wow. Half the time.
|Kyejin: Exactly. I'm really happy about that.
|Peter: Well, congratulations. How was your score?
|Kyejin: My score was 69.5.
|Peter: And what's passing?
|Kyejin: Yes. But you should get at least 10 scores per section.
|Peter: Interesting. So, 50 huh?
|Kyejin: And now you look like, oh, maybe I can try that.
|Peter: I suddenly feel much more confident.
|Peter: Because if you think about it, if you kind of guess your way through a test mathematically, it's 25% that you can get.
|Kyejin: Yes. So, are you trying B1 this year or A2?
|Peter: I saw the textbook. But, before we go back to that textbook and you're helping me, which I appreciate very much, let's talk about the results. So, how many sections were there again?
|Kyejin: There were four different sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
|Peter: And then there's the productive side and the receptive side.
|Peter: And the receptive side is the kind of passive listening and reading. So you're not doing anything, and then there's the other side of the writing and the speaking, which is productive. So, your scores were the same across the test? You have to pass each section or…
|Kyejin: I need to get at least 10 scores per section. And in total, I should pass over 50 scores.
|Peter: So over 15 means… Is there a percent, or what's the total number of marks?
|Kyejin: 100. So, is it a percentage or score?
|Peter: Well, it sounds like you did very good. What was your strongest section?
|Kyejin: It was reading. I got 24 scores out of 25.
|Kyejin: 24 out of 25
|Peter: Could have been 25.
|Kyejin: Yeah, well, I'm satisfied with 24 out of 25.
|Peter: Never settle, Kyejin. But that's really, really amazing. So, reading, you crushed that section. Ok. How about what was the second-highest score?
|Kyejin: That was listening. I got 17 scores out of 25.
|Peter: Wow. So both of these are on the receptive side again: you're listening, you're reading. And it's kind of interesting. For a lot of people, these are the strongest sections, and now we shift over to the productive side, the speaking, and writing, which is a lot harder to produce the language,
|Kyejin: Right? I'm sad because I got a lower score than I expected for both speaking and writing.
|Peter: What did you get?
|Kyejin: So, for speaking, my score is 13.5, but I still passed the minimum, which is 10.
|Kyejin: And for writing, I got 15.
|Peter: Writing is good.
|Kyejin: Yes, it wasn't bad, but I thought I would get more. I got higher score than this.
|Peter: OK. So I'm a little confused. The minimum score for each section is 10, or they have minimums for each section.
|Kyejin: So each section, the maximum score is 25, but I need to pass at least 10.
|Peter: OK. So, then, all together, you need 50. So you can borrow from other sections.
|Kyejin: Exactly. So basically, you just need to get 50 scores. That's it. But if one of the section got lower than 10, you fail. So, yeah.
|Peter: Yeah, I like that test. Designed very nicely.
|Kyejin: So, yes, as you said, you can borrow the scores, which means maybe you can try B1 this year.
|Peter: Well, that's tricky. Let's see. I don't know because the speaking is that productive side is a little tough. When it comes down to it, it's quite complicated to produce something.
|Kyejin: Yeah, I agree. It was very hard.
|Peter: Because you have to listen first and understand what's being asked of you and then respond accordingly. Which, wow, remarkable Kyejin. So, congratulations again.
|Kyejin: Thank you. Thank you.
|Peter: Once the scores came, were you motivated again, or what was your initial feeling? I know after the test, you were a little burnt out. What about after the results came first?
|Kyejin: I was a little disappointed about my speaking and writing, but after that, I felt, oh, I should study more on these areas.
|Peter: Yeah. There's such tough areas to study because the topics there are not what you would practice with your friends normally, maybe on certain occasions.
|Kyejin: Exactly. It's about, like, education, environment, or any social issues that you can see on TV. I mean, on the news.
|Peter: So, when you get back to studying, you have to then focus on these things, which are quite tough.
|Kyejin: Yes. So, my September goal is to study with my teacher, 1-on-1 teacher, once a week again, and I write messages to my premium plus teacher twice a week.
|Peter: That's a good strategy. So, one for speaking and one for writing. But the interesting thing is that you're just trying to get a better grade.
|Kyejin: Yes, not only better grades, but I now know my weaknesses. So I'm just trying.
|Peter: Amazing Kyejin. Yeah, I've seen that before. Some people often and some people take the test each year just to make sure that they're maintaining or improving their language. So these standardized tests are really quite nice, and you know, once you start studying for them, it's an excellent goal that gives you a very well-rounded approach. So, when you start to study with flashcards, you're looking at vocabulary and isolation. Each thing is disconnected. But once you start taking the test, everything becomes linked. So it's really very good for your overall learning.
|Kyejin: Yeah. So, how was your August? Was everything OK?
|Peter: So yeah, today I want to talk about consolidation. So July was a very ambitious month. So, for August, it was spent consolidating. So, pulling back just a bit but making sure that the routines were solidified in my schedule. And again, it's not as easy as it sounds when you radically add things or, like, really make a big jump in your schedule; it becomes very, very hard. So, one of the things that allowed me to do so well in July was I was outside of my home base of Tokyo, and I learned that you don't necessarily need to leave a place to really make progress. But actually, the thing blocking you from making that progress are the existing routines in your life.
|Kyejin: Right. Right.
|Peter: So you, you're kind of your days set, but when you leave your kind of home environment gives you a chance to reset the rules. So I can add to two French lessons a day, or I can decide to study French when I want because some of the normal routines are not there. So, and then coming back to Tokyo, all of a sudden, you're back into this environment. Your mindset can revert. The clearest example I can give you is one of my two sons; they spent the summer at two weeks in a camp and Kyejin, no cell phone.
|Kyejin: Oh, wow.
|Peter: So the camp doesn't allow the cell phone to be brought in.
|Kyejin: Were they OK? Did they enjoy?
|Peter: They had an incredible time, and it was nice for the parents, too, because when the kids called, they were allowed to call every other day. So when the kids did call, they were so chatty, which never happened,
|Kyejin: Especially when they are boys
|Peter: Any kids, Kyejin. So, so the normal conversation, “hey, how's your day?” “Good.” Finished. So when they called on the phone, “Hey, how's your day?” “Good.” “Ok.” I said to them, “OK, talk to you later.” “No, no, no. Hang on.” “What do you mean?” “Hang on, let me tell you about what's going on here.” So it was so nice.
|Kyejin: Wow. I didn't expect the positive effect of not having a phone.
|Peter: Yeah. It was remarkable. So the funny thing was when they came back to their home environment, they would pick up soon as you walk in the door, they pick up the video games, and they start chatting with their friends via the audio connection of the game, and they got back into some of the routines they picked right up where they left off. So, it made me think that it takes a lot to break the routines that you're currently going through in your regular life. So, I had the chance to go outside and build some new routines, and when I came back in August, I lost 10% or 20% of the July numbers. But that's because I was trying to fit these new routines into my old schedule. So, before July, the July routines, I was trying to fit them into my schedule that I was using before I left, and it was quite challenging. So this kind of mindset of you can learn anywhere, and you can really, it's such a powerful world that we live in where it is acceptable now that you can learn online and do all these things. But you need the right mindset to fit it into an existing schedule that's already full.
|Peter: I mean, let's take your case. Kyejin. You went to France and you were studying constantly all day at the French school, right?
|Kyejin: Yes, three hours a day. And I stayed with my host family so I could always speak French at home, my place. And also, after school, I hang out with my friends who only speak French.
|Peter: When you returned back to your home base here in Tokyo. What could you bring with you?
|Kyejin: Well, yeah, at first, I had quite a good French accent. I want to say. And I had lots of memories. So I was always talking about that with my friends who speak English. I try to keep studying French with my remote teachers once or twice a week, but still, I don't speak lots of French since I'm back.
|Peter: Yeah. So, it's like you can apply this to, you know, anything, any goal you want to achieve. There's this period of where you're hyper-focused on it, but then how do you continue is an interesting thing. So I kind of call it the consolidation phase, and I managed to, I think, managed to bring back 80% of the schedule.
|Kyejin: How did you do that?
|Peter: So the trick was that, you know, I got the, the school didn't go well. So, I found online teachers, and I was able to sort them into my existing schedule when I returned. So it's, it's this element of, there are three things. One, it's the convenience of this online aspect. It's very powerful if you can use it the right way. Number two, it's mindset. You really have to sit down and know your schedule, and something has to be sacrificed if you really want it, whether that's sleep, whether that's time with your friends, whether it's something else, you're gonna have to make a sacrifice.
|Kyejin: I agree.
|Peter: And then finally, the mindset comes into it. It's like it's ok. You know, you're gonna lose a little bit. You know that your accent is going it. You just have to accept it and embrace it in a way and then work hard to maintain it, right?
|Peter: Yeah, time giveth and time taketh away. So, I call this the consolidation phase, you know, you're after you're hyperproductive or before the test, you're hyperproductive, you finish the test. You're like, all right. Let me relax a bit. It's hard to start again, right?
|Kyejin: Right. An interesting thing is in August, I found several ways to enjoy learning French because I felt very tired or burned out. So, I tried to find a way to play with the language itself instead of learning a language.
|Peter: Oh, that's, that's, yeah, that sounds very interesting.
|Kyejin: Yes. Some of them are really common, and that's what everyone tries. For example, watching a movie or listen to a song, or when I have lunch alone, I watch FrenchPod101 top words videos because those videos are quite interesting, funny. The host is very interesting and funny. So, I watched those videos very passively. I picked up some words. I didn't feel like I'm studying seriously. So I watched it very lightly. So, I used those videos when I was having lunch alone.
|Peter: Yeah, that's, those are very interesting techniques. Can I just ask one question?
|Peter: So, since we focus so much on routines and schedules, do you have a set day that you do this or just kind of when you can?
|Kyejin: Usually, I have lunch alone for some days, like Monday or Friday. I have fixed days, and on those days, I make sure to download the videos so I can watch offline on my phone, and I watch them during the lunchtime.
|Peter: But that's the kind of the thing is you have these set times
|Kyejin: Without routine, I can never do something again.
|Peter: It seems silly, but it's so powerful.
|Kyejin: Yeah. Otherwise, I have many, many excuses today. I'm tired today. I want to watch another video today. I want to do something. So, I need a routine, and I try to keep my promise with myself.
|Peter: Yeah. I mean, and it's so, so simple to fall into something that's so unproductive. I think one time I tried, have you heard of the Pomodoro technique?
|Kyejin: Oh What is that?
|Peter: It was developed in the late eighties by a university student, Francesco Cirillo, and he's kind of struggling to study. But basically, what you do is you get a to-do list and a timer, and then you set your timer for 25 minutes, and you focus on one task. Then afterward, you get a five-minute break, then you go on to the next one, and I think each time, you get a bit of a longer break. So five versus five minutes, then 10 minutes. But I remember it simply like this. I think there's a, I read a lighter version. It's like you make a to-do list. You sit down, you work for 30 minutes, and then when it's over, you rest for 30 minutes, you do something else. You can procrastinate for 30 minutes. But when you sit down and do that and focus for 30 minutes. It goes so fast.
|Kyejin: Hm. Yeah. True
|Peter: Whatever you're thinking you're gonna get done, you get a fraction done. If you think you're gonna do 50 words, you get five or 10. But you're getting something done, and that's because you're setting aside 30 minutes to do it. How long is your lunch?
|Kyejin: One hour, but I watch the video. Around 30 minutes.
|Peter: It's a nice time frame. That's 30 minutes to eat and do something else. But, yeah, even 30 minutes, it's, it's very powerful, compounded over a week and a month.
|Kyejin: Yeah. So I watch one hour, two hours videos a week.
|Peter: To kind of sum up this lesson, after you come off of hyper-focusing or working really hard towards something, it's kind of important to not let up. I kind of wanna say, like Kyejin did, but I, I won't. But you need a way to keep going and change your mindset. It's ok if you scale down 20 30 40 50 60 70 80% it's ok. I mean, that's the way kind of life is. You get into a hobby, you hyper-focus on it, and then, you know, lots of hobbies we don't do anymore. But when it comes to this stuff with learning and building a skill, life skill, hyperfocus, but then it's ok to scale back, have a positive mindset that you're still working towards something, and consolidate, just make sure it fits into that routine. Second, Kyejin, you can maybe sum up what you were talking about. Finding fun again, right?
|Kyejin: Yes. So I tried to find fun ways to learn the language, enjoy the language. And also, I got some motivation back after seeing the scores. Yes, I focused on speaking and writing again.
|Peter: So these are a couple of things that can help you. And above all, we kind of repeat this again and again for caging for myself. I spent a lot of time in it just in my mindset, but I managed to get some of the kind of strategies I was using in July into my August schedule. And that's why I sit down, and I managed to make the time for them in my schedule. Kyejin, She has the time. Remember, she's doing this extra learning on her lunch. But that's a fixed time, fixed time, fixed schedule. So it's easy to add something to that. But you got to set the time, the place, and the activity. Ok. Kyejin, what about next goals?
|Kyejin: Next goals? I'll start learning French with my one-on-one teachers again once a week. I write a message to my premium plus teacher twice a week.
|Peter: And Kyejin was so kind enough to give me a DELF book that I will be working on this book.
|Kyejin: Good luck. Did you have a chance to take a look at the book?
|Peter: I did, and the reading, the reading again looks, looks ok, kind of to figure out again, there's some context to it. You can look around and compare the questions to the answers. I haven't tried the listening and, yeah, but the speaking sounds quite challenging.
|Kyejin: Yeah, it is hard. Especially when you're under pressure, you don't show off your actual abilities.
|Peter: Yeah. I mean, ordering in a restaurant, even if you're, I mean, a very, very high-level speaker... is quite intimidating. Listeners. What about you?
|Kyejin: Let us know what your small measurable monthly goal is. Email us at inner circle at innovative language dot com and stay tuned for the next inner circle.
|Kyejin: Bye everyone.
|Peter: Thanks for listening, and see you next time.