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: How to Boost Your Motivation &Learn More... by Adding Others to the Mix
Chigusa: And you’ll learn...
Peter: One: How Adding a Human Dynamic Boosts Your Motivation
Chigusa: Two How Peter Was Able to Hit His 5 Minute Goal
Peter: And Three: How You Can Apply This Tactic
Chigusa: All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: As a recap, last time, we talked about how to learn more of your target language...
Chigusa: ...by breaking your routine... and putting yourself in new environments outside of your comfort zone...
Peter: ...like a new cafe. The reason for this is... when you go about your daily routine and go to places you usually go to...Your mind gets used to it.
Chigusa: Yeah, you’ve been there hundreds of times before.
Peter: Exactly. So, your brain is on autopilot. You arrive at your usual cafe, you find your spot, you’re comfortable... and you’re not really paying attention... so your productivity goes down. You don’t learn as much.
Chigusa: But if you go to a new place to study, a new cafe, or even do something new like... work with a teacher... it’s a lot like traveling.
Peter: You’re not used to it. Your senses are 100% on. You’re no longer comfortable. You’re paying attention. Alert. And you end up learning more language.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter. And last time, you failed... your 3 minute goal... and you promised 5 minutes of Russian conversation for this time. How’d that go?
Peter: So, actually, Chigusa, I hit my 5-minute goal. Well, Chigusa, I barely hit it, but I did reach it.
Chigusa: Oh! Yay!
Peter: I like that. I need that type of enthusiastic support every time, Chigusa. Not once every three years.
Chigusa: Because it actually surprised me. That’s great, Peter. What happened this time, actually? Did you do anything new?
Peter: Well, nothing really new. But, Chigusa, I finally had a chance to practice with an in-person teacher. I usually have one for all the languages I learn.
Chigusa: Yeah, I remember you said you couldn’t meet with one... last month.
Peter: Exactly. And there IS something powerful about having a live interaction that skyrockets your motivation and your progress. That’s why I think I was able to reach this month’s goal.
Chigusa: What do you think makes it so motivational?
Peter: And let’s jump into part 1:
Chigusa: Part 1: How Adding a Human Dynamic Boosts Your Motivation
Peter: So, first, here’s a question for you: how do you think most people start learning a language?
Chigusa: Maybe for most people, they learn alone….by watching YouTube or maybe downloading an app.
Peter: That’s a great answer. Most of us start with self-study. But after, say...the first week or month, most learners fall off here.
Chigusa: They do... Because of lack of motivation, right?
Peter: Exactly. It’s pretty hard to motivate yourself. There is a small group of super-self-motivated people that can do it and stick with it...
Chigusa: Like you, Peter?
Peter: Not like me! Chigusa, you’d be surprised. I’m part of the bigger group of most people that lose motivation and fall off. It’s hard...you have to rely on yourself to motivate yourself, that’s the first thing. Two, you have to do the learning, and then three, you have to do the practice. To recap, you got to motivate yourself, you gotta do the learning and you gotta do the practice.
Chigusa: It is a lot of work. So then, if you want to boost your motivation... or not have to rely on yourself...
Peter: That’s where you should get… you should start getting other people involved. I like to think of it like this. Imagine a graph on the Y-axis — the one that goes up and down — is motivation, and on the X-axis, you have chance of success. So, first, you have self-study, and that's probably closest to lower motivation and probably a low chance of succeeding. Then as you move further to the right, that means higher chances of success, and you move higher up - more motivation, you’ll have a live class where you’re actually in-person doing it. Then moving further up, higher motivation and higher chance of success is probably in-person one-on-one. So, the interesting thing about this graph is that when you’re by yourself, it's the hardest to have high motivation. It’s harder to succeed. But, you can start there. But the more you start to include other people and especially live interactions, you seem to move up to the right where you have a higher chance of success, and you’re more motivated to do it. So, I think we can explain it better inside the PDF, so if you check the PDF notes to this lesson, you’ll see what we’re talking about in this graph.
Chigusa: So, meaning... motivation is lowest when you’re on your own?
Peter: I think for most people. Again, there are certain people who are very motivated on their own but motivation tends to rise and decrease. And when you start including more personal connections, live interactions, maybe someone you speak with at a cafe, it started to get you a little more motivated. It gets you to practice with other people. So, with the class, you can still get lost among other students. So, think about when you were back in high school or any school environment. Some people are getting the concept quickly. Others are not getting it as quickly. So, it can be motivational, and it can be demotivational. But when you’re on your own - you have your own teacher, and you can control the environment, and the teacher can tailor it to you, I think that’s the real sweet spot for high motivation and high results… which can lead to success.
Chigusa: Right, that’s something you can’t do on your own.
Peter: Exactly. It even gets you stronger..when it’s you and someone else, one-on-one, and they focus on you...
Chigusa: That’s so true. But I wonder why that is...
Peter: It’s a good question. Again, a lot of this stuff I speak from my personal experience. For me, in the case of this Russian tutor, in the week leading up to meeting the tutor for the first time, I was very excited. I didn’t want to disappoint the tutor. I didn’t want to disappoint myself. So I studied harder in preparation for this in-person meeting. It’s quite an interesting experience.
I guess in psychology... I think it's called social facilitation or the audience effect. When you’re with other people... or when you think someone is watching you, you tend to put a little pressure on yourself, and for many people, this can have a positive result. Not everyone, but for many people.
Chigusa: Ah, it’s like the difference between working out at home...on your own, then at the gym with other people around you... and then with a personal trainer.
Peter: I’ll give you another example. We had a sales call yesterday on Zoom, and many times, people come to the office, and many of the salespeople are dressed in a suit. They look very professional. And yesterday’s call, the guy was in a hoodie and his sweatsuit at home. And again, I think sometimes, we have these expectations that maybe he being in sales, this salesperson might dress a little more professionally. Again once you get past the visual stuff and into the content of what he was saying, he was very impressive. But sometimes that matters. And I think, again, when you’re out there doing things, you’re meeting your tutor, everything is turned on. And when you’re at home, and you’re just rolling out of bed, you may not be turned on in that same way. So you know, you can definitely work out or learn language at home and make progress... but once you start involving other people...
Chigusa: ..then you improve faster.
Peter: So, just to recap, a lot of us start learning on our own. And in the case of language learning, there will always be self-study involved...
Chigusa: ...but if you want to take it to the next level...
Peter: Then you should follow that graph. After self-study, there’s a group. Then group study with a teacher. Then online classes. Then in-person classes. And finally, in-person one-on-one sessions. And again, these are all structured, standardized learning ways, but if you get a friend… that’s like a one-on-one session, meaning it’s just... When we give you these examples of a one-on-one teacher, it’s just an environment of you and one other person who speaks that language. You can have a study buddy - a non-native speaker - someone to practice with. As you get better and better by building these situations where you can use that language, that’s what really will improve motivation… increase the amount of time you’re practicing and ultimately, result in a higher success rate.
Chigusa: That’s very true, Peter. But, the only issue is, as you go up that graph, the more expensive it gets. It’s very affordable to learn on your own with a program, right?
Peter: That’s a great point, Chigusa. Once you start involving others... or you get a teacher, it gets expensive. So, it’s up to the learner here.
Chigusa: So, how did you hit your goal this past month?
Peter: We have some interesting thoughts on what you just mentioned, so let’s jump into part 2.
Chigusa: Part 2: How Peter Was Able to Hit His 5 Minute Goal
Peter: So I’ve been using in-person teachers for a while now... and it’s how I’m able to time myself and hit my conversation goals.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: But it doesn’t mean that I don’t study on my own. You still have to put in the time. I believe the rule is… for every hour you want to have a live interaction with someone, you need about 4 hours. It goes for anything. If you play a sport and you have that one-on-one time. Think of an instrument, if you have a teacher ...just for example, for every hour with that teacher, you should put in 4 hours upon your own. And that rule of thumb really holds. So, in preparation for my Russian lesson, I used RussianPod101 for 4 hours. And this is a really good rule of thumb if you want to get the most out of your interactions.
Chigusa: I see, so RussianPod101 lessons are still the main resource.
Peter: Exactly. I use the lessons to learn new conversations, new words, and grammar. And in addition, what’s really nice is we have the tests. So after several lessons, I test myself to see if I’m retaining that information. Then I practice on my own. And then, when I meet the teacher, I’m ready. We’ll practice speaking. And we won’t practice so much time on the reading and the writing… which will happen if you show up not prepared. This is… I used to teach too. If the students or the student cannot execute on a high level on what you should be focused on — speaking — when you have a lesson, then we fall back to this reading and writing. So, that’s where, if you show up prepared, you can try speaking. You can push yourself. And most importantly, you get that feedback from an actual native speaker, tutor, or teacher. And that’s invaluable.
Chigusa: But what made you think of first involving other people?
Peter: Boring! If you look at some of these athletes, you’re watching in 60 minutes 20 years of hard work. They’re putting in 4 hours every day. And it’s not easy to motivate yourself. I’m sure Chigusa, you, and our listeners can relate to that. It’s not easy to get good at something because it’s practice and feedback, practice, practice, and feedback. In anything I learn, there has to be input and output. So if you spend 10 minutes reading and that’s it, you’re not getting the most out of your learning. You’re not really learning if you don’t practice. So you learn, you practice, and then you test yourself. And testing yourself with someone, live, is that ultimate challenge. For me, it’s very motivational.
Chigusa: Yeah..if you miss your homework or a lesson... they’ll want to know what happened.
Peter: Yeah and, a few years back, I think you remember this Chigusa, I was taking Chinese lessons with a tutor... If I missed my lesson, the tutor fined me. She charged me more money for the lesson, and guess what happened after that.
Chigusa: You never missed another class?
Peter: Exactly. Having someone to answer to really works. Chigusa, imagine you got fined for missing a class. How would you feel?
Chigusa: Terrible. I would never do that again. It’s a lesson.
Peter: So, losing money is a big motivator. It’s called loss aversion in psychology. It means that we prefer to avoid losing than actually gaining. So it means we’re more worried about losing something than actually making progress.
Chigusa: Yes, plus In-person tutors and classes are expensive. You don’t want to lose out on your investment.
Peter: That’s right. Another reason why I involve a teacher. Chigusa, as you know, I also go to restaurants where staff speak the language I’m learning...
Chigusa: And again, you’re involving more people
Peter: Exactly. And it makes a difference.
Chigusa: Peter, you can make a language mistake while practicing on your own... or while talking with someone...
Peter: Yo know, if you make a mistake on your own, you may not even know you’re making a mistake. Let me just delve into this point. I used to speak to myself when I was studying Japanese. Before I did something, I’d say what I wanted to do, and I was using the polite form to talk to myself. Now, Chigusa, you speak Japanese. Does anyone talk to themselves in the polite form?
Chigusa: I don’t think so.
Peter: So it sounds very strange, but I was reinforcing that mistake because no one fixed it... until someone heard me and they said, “what are you doing?” I said, “I’m practicing.” “You’re practicing the wrong way.” So getting that feedback early in the cycle is critical, so you have the proper things to practice. If you make a mistake on your own, you might be reinforcing that mistake. And you’re not going to even realize you’re making a mistake. 15:40
Chigusa: But if you make a mistake in front of someone, you’ll make sure to never do it again. So I really agree. It’s more effective that way.
Peter: That’s a great example, Chigusa. So, by finally including a teacher in my process, I hit my goal.
Chigusa: Alright, now, what can our learners take away from this?
Peter: Let’s jump into part 3:
Chigusa: Part 3: How You Can Apply This To Your Language Learning
Peter: Listeners, just to recap... when you start involving other people in your learning process...
Chigusa: ....Your motivation tends to go up.
Peter: So, if you’re struggling with motivation...
Chigusa: ...or if you’ve been coasting along just fine but need an outside shock to your system to help you go to the next level...
Peter: You should consider including others in your language learning journey.
Chigusa: In psychology, this is called social facilitation or the audience effect.
Peter: When you’re with other people... or if you know that someone is watching you, you tend to work better and perform better.
Chigusa: So, how can you apply this to your language learning?
Peter: One: If you’re a Premium user, give Premium PLUS a try, and get access to your own teacher.
Chigusa: You get weekly assignments from your teacher
Peter: ...and this adds a nice layer of accountability to your learning.
Chigusa: Two: Enroll in an online class...
Peter: Actually, this is something we’ve started offering for a few of our major languages: Japanese, English, Chinese, Italian, and Spanish.
Chigusa: Oh, really? How is that going?
Peter: It’s going really well. We’ve developed content that the class uses to actually work with the language platform. So everything is integrated. The classes that you're using to progress on your own are related to the classes you study each week, and through this, we’ve had a lot of success and reinforcing the things you’re learning on your own. Again, if you look at that graph, it’s further steps up. And in addition, we keep the classes quite small, so right now, users are getting a lot of value out of these small group limits - limited to a small number of students, so there’s a lot of opportunity to speak. It’s not a one-way, top-down approach. So it’s been very, very good.
Chigusa: Great! Three: Get an online or in-person tutor. Now, teachers and classes can be pricey, but there are other ways to learn with others.
Peter: Four: Get a study buddy or join a learning community.
Chigusa: Learning and competing with others will definitely have a positive impact on your motivation and language progress.
Peter: Five, Simply talk with others about your language goals and your current progress.
Chigusa: Yeah, when you’re surrounded by people talking about how much they’ve learned and what goals they hit or missed...
Peter: You’ll be more inspired to hit your own goals. Chigusa, our Inner Circle episodes help me a lot here...
Chigusa: Really?
Peter: Well, we talk about my language goals, what went right, what went wrong. If I didn’t have someone to discuss this with me or hold me accountable, I’m not sure if I’d be making so much progress. Basically, if I wasn’t accountable to the people listening to this, I don’t know if I’d push myself so hard late at night on Sunday to keep up with my studying, so it is very motivational.
Chigusa: That’s very good to hear, Peter! So I guess the 6th thing is... Listen to these Inner Circle episodes.
Peter: And email us with your goals.
Chigusa: Seven: Track your progress and post it on your social media.
Peter: So, this a tricky one. For example, if you keep a daily planner, write in “I did 3 lessons today” or “spent 30 minutes on learning a language,” and share that. However, we’ll earn you. Anything that motivates you can demotivate you quickly. So, if you try something and you don’t succeed, it can sting a little more. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight or gain weight and you post about it, and a few months go by, and you see someone, and they’re like, “oh, how’s it going” and you’re like, “actually, it didn’t go well. It’s a double-edged sword to go out and announce this to the world. So what I always do is, before I announce on social platforms or even to other people, I try to get 1 month or 2 months under my belt. Meaning, I keep my own journal, I say what I would’ve written or what I would’ve done. And I build up a bit of stock. That way, I don’t have that pressure on me, and I can see how it all works. And if I can succeed for two months, then I will start to share. And I’ll even share stuff that I’ve done already because it gives me a bit of a runway in case I get sick and I can’t post or something like this. When you do start sharing, though, it's very powerful.
Chigusa: And others will expect more from you... which means...
Peter: ...you’ll be more motivated to keep on going. Remember, language learning will always have a solo component....even if you prefer to learn with others.
Chigusa: But once you start involving more people in your language journey...
Peter: Whether for learning or for practice...
Chigusa: Adding that extra human element will boost your productivity and motivation...
Peter: And help you reach your language goals.
Chigusa: Alright, Peter, speaking of goals, what’s your next goal?
Peter: 7 minutes of Russian conversation.
Chigusa: Sounds great, deadline?
Peter: April 30th, 2021.
Chigusa: Sounds good. Listeners, be sure to set your own small monthly goal.
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 for this month!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.