Study habits of student learning language

Study Habits Series: Focusing on Learning Superb Vocabulary

Learning a new language takes dedication, time management, hard work, and of course good study habits. Studying can look different while practicing each part of the language like: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and comprehension. Although it can seem time consuming and daunting, it is so important to study everyday while perfecting any skill… especially a new language! Let’s start with discussing vocabulary and the related study habits. We are going to be giving you tips and the dos and don’ts of how to study vocabulary.

The first thing not do is to overload yourself. Beginners seem to have an urgency to know all the words. They look them up on the internet and come back to the next class with a thousand flash cards of random words that simply aren’t really relevant or useful. In the end, it’s too much, causing them to become overwhelmed.

 Instead, students should take one sheet of paper, give it a title (like parts of the body, fruits, colors, etc.) and only add words related to that topic that are from your course book. Don’t go gather more words from other places like the internet. Course books are designed to present the correct amount of vocabulary at the correct time. For example, Julieta’s three Spanish books give just the right amount of vocabulary at the proper timing to foster learning for all levels of Spanish learners.  As you work through your book and discover more vocabulary, go back and add it to your sheet. 

Later, you can expand on your vocabulary words on a different page by adding separate lists of adjectives and verbs associated with those words. For example, (returning to parts of the body) you could write “hair”, then write adjectives for“hair” like blonde, brown, long, and short or verbs for “hair” like cut, wash, and grow. To practice, the student can start forming simple sentences with these words like, “Sally grows her hair long.” This context makes it easier to remember words, and ensure the words being learned are relevant. This is a much better solution to a giant stack of useless flash cards from the internet.

Finally, use this practice to try to think in the language. Try to use these vocabulary words the next time you get dressed or take a shower. Once you start associating words with your everyday actions, your brain will start to connect the vocabulary with the action, making it easier to remember.  

Follow along with our blog for more language study habits and tips coming soon!

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