Lesson Transcript


Becky: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Becky and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Becky: In this Inner Circle, we're talking about...
Peter: How To Test And Train Your Reading, Writing, Speaking And Listening
Becky: You'll learn...
Peter: How I'm Attacking All 4 Areas with ChineseClass101...
Becky: And.. How You Can Apply These Tactics As Well.
Peter: ...All so you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Becky: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned how to turn your weaknesses...
Becky: ...into strengths by going above and beyond...
Peter: ...kind of like what I'm doing with my standardized test goal.
Becky: We also saw how your language learning successes can be deceptive...
Peter: ...if you never really test yourself.
Becky: That was a great point. You hit your goal of 10 minutes of Chinese conversation...
Peter: ...but only because I prepared ahead of time and controlled the topics.
Becky: And if it were 10 minutes of free-style conversation... or a topic you don't know much about...
Peter: I'd fail, Becky.
Becky: So that's why success is deceptive... Which brings us to testing...
Peter: ...Testing points out your weaknesses. It gives you a clear direction of where to go next.
Becky: We also talked about how tests measure details. They require perfection.
Peter: Exactly. Small details are the focal point of tests. For example, let's say there's a reading part about uh, hairstyles. If you don't know one simple word - like wavy hair - you'll get it wrong.
Becky: So I know we don't advise learners to worry about perfection...
Peter: That's right, listeners. You heard it here.
Becky: ...but how are YOU, Peter, improving all of those little details of your Chinese? Especially for all your skills- reading, writing, speaking and listening?
Peter: Great question. There are a LOT of details in Chinese. Actually, in ALL languages.
Becky: And I bet listeners are interested in your learning tactics.
Peter: Okay, so let's get into today's Inner Circle.
Becky: How To Test And Train Your Reading, Writing, Speaking And Listening
Peter: You'll learn...
Becky: How Peter's Attacking All 4 Areas with ChineseClass101
Peter: And.. How You Can Apply These Tactics As Well.
Becky: By the way, listeners, we've released a new study tool for Premium PLUS.
Peter: It's called Assignments.
Becky: You can get assignments based on your needs and learning level.
Peter: They cover reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Becky: But, it's all up to you...
Peter: ...and what you request from your teacher.
Becky: You can find Assignments in the My Teacher dropdown menu..
Peter: As well as in the MyTeacher Messenger.
Becky: Each one comes with a deadline that you must complete it by.
Peter: Now, the reason we mention it is because...
Becky: you'll hear about this feature throughout this lesson. Just so you know what we are referring to.
Becky: Okay, let's get into it. How Peter's Attacking All 4 Areas...
Peter: Reading, Writing, Speaking And Listening
Becky: And...How You Can Apply These Tactics, Too.
Peter: Let's start with reading.
Becky: Okay!
Peter: So, to test myself, I'm using practice tests that cover all 4 areas of the language.
Becky: Right. Like, the reading section on the practice exam.
Peter: Exactly.
Becky: Are you still keeping up with your old routines? Text-messaging with your family and talking with your inlaws?
Peter: Of course, Becky, that's the EASY part! But in terms of how I'm learning, there are multiple ways I attack reading. First are the assignments, as we just mentioned.
Becky: Your Premium PLUS teacher sends you assignments, right? What kind of Assignments exactly?
Peter: These are normally short news articles or blog articles in Chinese. Twice a week, she sends me an article.
Becky: So two articles a week.
Peter: I read them. I use A LOT of google translate. I save words I don't know to my Wordbank. If there are any grammar points I don't understand, I take note of them and pass them to my teacher. And I'll re-read the same article maybe 3 or 4 times.
Becky: Does your teacher test you on them?
Peter: She does. So, after I'm done, I'll just send a message saying Done and she gives me questions about the article.
Becky: Okay, so she quizzes you. And after you're done with the questions...
Peter: ..She'll have the next article waiting.
Becky: And this is only twice a week.
Peter: That's right. I chose to only get reading and writing assignments because those are my biggest weaknesses...
Becky: Ah, you did mention that in the last Inner Circle.
Peter: Next, with ChineseClass101 lessons... there are lesson notes and transcripts for every lesson. I read all of these every time I take a lesson. And I use the same process as with the articles, listeners. I use google translate. I save words in the WordBank. And I re-read and review until I can read it all smoothly.
Becky: So, listeners, be sure to save words into your WordBank, review as much as possible...
Peter: And don't be afraid to cheat. Use google translate if necessary.
Becky: You can even print the notes out to have as physical study material.
Peter: Good point, Becky. I should do that. Now, I try to do one Advanced Audio Lesson a week...
Becky: ...and these are all in Chinese. No English...
Peter: ...but it makes a world of a difference to read AND LISTEN and follow along.
Becky: Really? Why is that?
Peter: Well, it's the same reason why kids learn to read faster, when reading with a parent. The parent reads out loud and they follow along. So, if it says "apple" on the page and the parent says "apple," it's just a matter of tying the sound you hear to the letters you see. It becomes a no-brainer when you see it again.
Becky: Ah, so reading along while listening to what you read. Listeners, be sure to do that.
Peter: You can do that with any audio or video lesson.
Becky: Now, what about writing?
Peter: So, aside from answering questions about the articles as we just talked about...
Becky: You also get separate writing assignments, right?
Peter: That's right.
Becky: Can you give us an example of what they're like?
Peter: This is up to you and your Premium PLUS teacher. But, my last writing exercise was... to write about a third place.
Becky: A third place?
Peter: You know how you have home and work? Places where you spend a lot of time
Becky: Ah, so a third place would be your third go-to spot. Where you spend most of your time.
Peter: Like a coffee shop where you read on the weekends.
Becky: Or a restaurant you visit a lot. Or somewhere you go with friends.
Peter: So, this assignment has three levels of difficulty.
Becky: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Peter: ...and beginners are asked to describe the place with adjectives and say what they do there. Like... "A quiet cafe." "A cafe I go to on Saturdays." You can just come up with a list of adjectives for it. This is a great way to become familiar with the vocabulary for a certain topic.
Becky: That's pretty easy. What about for Intermediate and Advanced learners?
Peter: For them the questions get a bit deeper. For intermediate, you're asked to write if you have a third place or not, and to provide reasons for why you go there. For advanced learners, the question was "How important is this place in your culture? What about the culture of the language you're studying? And how are they different?"
Becky: Ah, I see. That's a nice challenge. Which one do you take on?
Peter: I do the intermediate level. So that's one way I tackle writing. Although... I admit that I do beginner ones if the topic is a bit too much.
Becky: And you write that up and send that to your Premium PLUS teacher...
Peter: ...twice a week. I get feedback and corrections. And then I send back the corrected version.
Becky: Okay, what's next?
Peter: The next one is, aside from just reading the lesson notes and dialogue... I write them out. I copy it by hand.
Becky: Huh, I've never heard of that strategy. So you just copy the notes?
Peter: Right. And the reason it works well, especially with Chinese, is I get to practice the characters. And when you write things out by hand multiple times...
Becky: ...they become ingrained in your brain...
Peter: ...and writing becomes second nature. Plus, as I write, I say it out loud so there's some reading and speaking practice there too.
Becky: Listeners, even if the language you're learning uses latin letters...
Peter: ...this tactic is still incredibly powerful. You remember words, phrases...
Becky: ...and even grammar points...
Peter: ...simply by taking the physical action of writing them out.
Becky: I'm pretty impressed by that one, Peter. It's very hands-on. So... okay, next is...
Peter: Speaking. For speaking, listeners, do what I do. First, if you're listening or watching a lesson and have the transcript in front of you, shadow the dialogue.
Becky: Meaning, just mimic what you hear and say what they say.
Peter: Second, read the lesson notes and transcripts out loud. And review and re-read as much as possible. If you can read faster ... out loud...
Becky: ...you will be able to speak faster too.
Peter: With my Premium PLUS teacher, I'm still following the routine of sending her 3 messages a day.
Becky: Talking about your daily routines? Morning, Day and Night?
Peter: Right. Basically, I describe what I did in a few lines. "I woke up. I ate breakfast. I checked my email and made sure my kids were ready for school. Then, I went to work." So, about 1 minute or so per recording.
Becky: So, you send that to your teacher, she reviews it...
Peter: ...and I get the corrections and feedback. And again, this is important, I apply her advice and send back the corrected version.
Becky: I think with speaking, it's incredibly useful to have a native speaker review it.
Peter: You're right. Like I mentioned last time, my in-laws won't correct me if I use a wrong tone...
Becky: ...so having a teacher here to perfect all of the details in your speech...
Peter: ...it's priceless, Becky.
Becky: Especially when you're preparing for a test.
Peter: So, listeners, if you're a Premium PLUS user, be sure to apply this.
Becky: Record yourself and let your teacher review it.
Peter: And you can double up your writing assignments as speaking assignments.
Becky: So if your writing assignment is to introduce yourself in one paragraph...
Peter: ...you can write it out...
Becky: ...and also record it and send it to your teacher.
Peter: Here's another thing I do. I ALSO listen to recordings of myself.
Becky: Oh, no. No, Peter, no. I can't do that. How can you listen to your own voice?
Peter: Becky, I understand your pain. It's pretty shocking to listen to yourself at first. You never sound as eloquent as you hope you are.
Becky: ...And the sound of my voice... Have you heard me, Peter?
Peter: You sound great. Don't worry. Nobody likes hearing themselves... at first.
Becky: What about you, listeners? Have you tried recording and listening to yourself?
Peter: Let us know. But, just like with becoming a good speaker in general, recording, listening and reviewing your speech is a great way to improve.
Becky; You can easily notice what sounds awkward, where you pause...
Peter: ...and practice until you iron out these problems.
Becky: If you're a Premium member, then you can do this with the Voice Recorder...
Peter: ...which is found in the Line by Line section of every single lesson.
Becky: Okay, how about listening?
Peter: Same as with my reading advice, I listen to lessons while reading along with lesson notes.
Becky: The great part about this is that... because you can read along...
Peter: You'll never miss a word.
Becky: And that fixes a problem a lot of learners have with listening.
Peter: When you listen to your target language...
Becky: ...you can pick out a few words you know, but 90% of them...
Peter: They go in one ear and out the other.
Becky: But by having the transcripts in front of you, you don't miss a word.
Peter: That's something you can do with every lesson.
Becky: Listeners, you can also challenge yourself with much harder lessons...
Peter: ...like intermediate lessons, advanced audio blogs, or listening comprehension lessons.
Becky: You can ask your Premium PLUS teacher to record a passage for you.
Peter: I do a variation of this. I listen to my teacher's correction of MY recording.
Becky: And you can also get assignments to test your listening skills. For example, I'm learning Japanese.
Peter: Have you done any assignments?
Becky: Yeah! Last week's tested me on long and short vowels.
Peter: Ah, that's tricky. For example obasan versus obaasan.
Becky: Both are different words but they're just one vowel apart.
Peter: So, how'd you do?
Becky: F... four.
Peter: Four what?
Becky: ...out of eight. I got four right.
Peter: Not bad! But that's the point Becky, you test yourself, you take on these challenges and learning tactics...
Becky: ...until you perfect those little details.
Peter: Exactly.
Becky: So listeners, these are ways you can attack all aspects of the language...
Peter: Reading, Writing, Speaking And Listening
Becky: In fact, you can attack all of these with a simple audio or video lesson ALONE.
Peter: That's right. Here's how. Just...
Listen to the lesson.
Read the lesson notes
Copy the lesson notes or the dialogue by hand
Speak out loud.
Becky: And you've covered all 4 aspects of the language. Peter, what about your goals?
Peter: For this month or next month?
Becky: Both!
Peter: Ok, so I've hit my goals. Last time I promised to master 3 Advanced Audio Blog Lessons and 2 articles. I did both with ChineseClass101 and my Premium PLUS teacher. I'm keeping up with my family-group chat and speaking for 10 minutes with my in-laws. But...
Becky: But...?
Peter: The practice tests are the hardest part of all of this.
Becky: Peter, did you even get through one?
Peter: Well, no.
Becky: Okay, I know what your next goal is.
Peter: What is it?
Becky: Maintain your current routines. But, I want you to finish one practice exam. From front to back.
Peter: Okay, Becky. We'll see.
Becky: Let's set a deadline too.
Peter: How's April 30th?
Becky: Alright, sounds good!
Peter: Listeners, let us know what your goals are for the month.
Becky: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Peter: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Becky: Well, that's going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Becky: Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.