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Language learning - daily or from time to time?


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There is one thing that, in my opinion, sparks a lot of controversy whenever you talk about language learning: how often you should do it.

Most of the people I know tend to believe that it's an all-or-nothing thing. Either you do it every day or no point starting. Either you schedule your classes every Friday and Monday, or else you better forget about any progress at all. And so on.

I, on the other hand, belong to the minority that believes in "doing something is better than nothing" approach. The main reason for this is the fact that I'm a person who really dislikes words like "regular" and "every day". So many things can happen. Even if I plan to do something 3 times a week, there may be disruptions I couldn't predict. Besides, the very idea of doing something "all the time" is simply daunting for me. It's like "together until death do us part". It kills my motivation by telling me that there's something I just MUST do.

For many years I suffered from believing in "all-or-nothing" approach. I tried to stick to "learn 30 words a day" or "study English each Thursday" or "repeat Spanish verbs each evening". I'd start on a good note, do it for a week/a month/maybe half a year and then drop it. Then I'd go beat myself about it. "How could you? Now you've ruined it!", "You'll never ever learn English like that", "You are hopeless, Ania. Absolutely hopeless".

However, lately I've come to terms with the fact that "regular" never worked for me, and I find it a huge relief. Yes, sometimes people don't do something or they even have longer periods of not studying but why should that be considered such a big no-no? You win some, you lose some. Then you do it again and you're still much closer to fluency than those who do nothing at all :)

What's your take on the subject? Do you study every day, every week or sometimes? Does it work for you? What are the pros and cons?

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Repetition works for my kind of learning and I think it should for all. How can I possibly remember a lesson if I do not practice it on a repetitive or regular basis? Sure I can learn anything I want to because I have the enthusiasm and motivation but that can not happen in just one sitting. For me, I still believe in order for the language learning to work I must have regular lessons.

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I tend to study daily. I've noticed that if I skip a day I'd start forgetting the words that I just learned. Happened to me with Spanish, which I'm currently learning now. It's a bit hard to do it though, because you need the motivation and stuff like that, which I often lack. I get distracted a lot so I always end up 'pushing' my study schedule back. I just keep pushing it back until it's the next day haha. In fact the last time I learned Spanish was last Sunday, and now in 40 minutes it's Wednesday so it's technically been three days already. I'm gonna have a lot of catching up to do.

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I think if you spend too much time in between lessons, you will forget things which will make it harder to learn in the long run.  But I also think going to fast can be just as detrimental.  You need to do it often enough that you can remember things from your last lesson, but not so often that you haven't had a chance to forget.  For example.  If you work hard every day, you may remember certain words for now, but since you flew right through the lesson, they never stuck in your mind. 

There is definitely a balance that needs to be made, depending on the person.


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