I just watched Rob Julien’s video “The Key to Korean Fluency (Chapter 7, video 2). I want to say, Rob is one smart guy! He has me pegged for what I am not doing that I should be. I had my moment of enlightenment as I squirmed uncomfortably listening to the video, knowing I was not actually doing what Rob was sensibly outlining as a process for learning.
Rob explains it better, so go watch his video, or better yet the whole “Key to Korean Fluency” series. I will make an attempt to describe it as I wrap my brain around it.
Rob’s process is to understand the underlying way concepts of the language.
This is different than just memorizing a set of sentences. Admittedly, that has been my focus. I entered the sample sentences from KDA class into my Memrise flashcard deck and kept working them over and over until I had memorized particular sentences, but when it came to making the sentences themselves, I was inexperienced and slow.
Here is what Rob is suggesting.
- Memorize the vocabulary. Become really familiar with them.
- Understand the concept being presented.
- Use the vocabulary to practice the concept over and over again. Use the practice pages.
- Write sentences down on a piece of paper. Tuck it into your pocket and pull it out whenever you have a free moment through out the day to look at and practice saying to your self. You don’t have to wait for someone to practice with.
- Don’t proceed to the next chapter until you understand and can use the concept automatically because you practice, practice, practice.
Three things are missing for me. I have not spent enough time with processing the information Rob has presented. I have not spent the time writing out the practice sentences. I do not practice those sentences a lot before proceeding to the next chapter.
It is like being a kid who picks up a baseball bat for the first time, swings the bat once, goes “OK, got that concept, next please.” I am not fast at producing Korean because I have not exercised the skill . I have not built up the muscles until it is muscle memory that takes over. It is still a slow, in-my-head, struggling to remember process. I need to swing the bat. I need to practice.
I’ve been like the kid who doesn’t study hard enough and tries to skate by with minimal effort.
Skipping the step where I actually wrote down the sentences is my mistake. I was just looking at the answer sheet, uploading the answers to Memrise, and memorizing full sentences. It didn’t necessarily mean I could make the sentences myself. I thought I understood, so skipped this important step in my studies.
Cumulatively, it led me to a state where I was not fully understanding the material or able to do the practice tests, but then going on to the next week’s new material. No wonder I got so confused and overwhelmed by verbs!
Sheepishly, I realize the blatantly obvious.
I will only learn if I do my homework.
I will only get better if I practice.
Thanks, Rob, for knowing me well enough to point that out. You are such a smart man. I need to put the time in every week to studying more than just memorizing the vocabulary.