Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

If you listen, you may learn something new...

So the Spanish adventures continue - was watching TV and went to do a quick google of something and...  Wikipedia is also now in Spanish?!?!    Lol so random.  Also, makes it way more challenging to look up that “quick thing”!  That being said, I'm disproportionately proud of myself when I can get Alexa to do what I want in Spanish.  lol and getting slightly more confident about talking to her.

This month I’m focusing on improving my listening skills — a key part of conversation and solely lacking — in hopes of setting me up for my bootcamp week that will hopefully address the speaking part of conversation.

I have multiple “intermediate conversation” courses available to me, collected from a variety of sources over time.  The general concept is you’re given an audio clip of people speaking Spanish, a brief blurb to set context, and a transcript.  Theoretically you listen to it a few times, then read and listen together, then if needed, just read.   All good right?  

Except that I hate repeating myself - in anything.  So once I’ve listened once, even if it was a complete failure, I zoned out for half of it and didn't really get the other half, I still don’t tend to listen again.  And as a result, this really wasn’t proving helpful.

Amazing skills!

But now I’ve gamed myself into learning.  So step one is I don’t read the context.  ALL the literature about improving listening practice says you should, so this is prob a mistake lol, but - for me it’s important.   Because - the first time I listen, it’s with a goal of being able to tell somebody what they were talking about.  Essentially - I write out what should very closely align with the blurb, and any details I can remember.  I do this in blue.  Then, I listen with purple pen in hand, and as they’re talking, write down as many details as I can.  I listen through as many times as necessary until I think I’ve got as many details as possible.  I intentionally banned the pause button to force me to listen more (it’d be too easy to pause, write it down, listen to the next sentence, pause, etc.  Arguably still listening but not quite as useful).   When I’ve gotten as much as I can - THEN I listen and read and, in red, fill in anything I missed.   Since my reading is WAY ahead of my listening ability, I’ve yet to need the “just read” option, but if I did it would probably need an even angrier colour ;)   Orange maybe?

This has made SUCH a difference.  It’s on my iPad (*love* my Goodnotes app) so I’m not wasting a ton of paper ;)  so I can scroll through and see what’s up.  And some interesting trends:  

  • I’m writing in both Spanish and English lol.   No rhyme or reason - my guess would be whatever’s fastest at the time.  
  • Time of day makes a difference — I’m *much* better in the morning than in the evening.  Which if you’d asked me, I would’ve reversed for sure.   Esp as I do 90% of my Spanish learning in the evening.   Also, the evening practice the notes are almost entirely in English.  
  • I also seem to find it easier to understand men than women — all but one of my Spanish teachers (I’ve had 4 total) have been men, so that likely contributes to that.  And I cannot understand children.  Like, not at all.  lol  I’m not particularly concerned about that atm tbh, but figure I’d make a note of it so in a year or two when I look back and suddenly *can* understand littles, I’ll know I’ve gotten somewhere. 

But the best part of this is that I’ve gamed myself — because now it’s a challenge to have as little red as possible.  So I listen more intently, my mind wanders less, and I’m more likely to do “just one more” than my half-assed once through I was doing.  So I’m deeming that a win.   But it’s evening and my last one had almost as much red as purple, so I’m calling it a night ;)   I’ll try again in the am.


Post a Comment