I have been telling myself that I need to improve on my French after the course I did a few years back. Besides loving French patisserie and food, I really think the language itself is beautiful. For example, crème patissiere sounds more elegant than pastry cream or custard, and French music seems to put me in a good mood. With all these very good reasons, I signed up for French beginner’s course at Institut Français. Although I did learn some French after the course, I realised that even after paying through my nose for supposedly one of the best professionally taught French courses in London, I was still unable to structure a sentence properly and have a simple conversation in French. I am not saying that the course was bad. It was a good course, but I find it less effective for me.
FOUR WEEKS CHALLENGE
Recently, some friends came up with the idea of a ‘Four Week Challenge’. The key to this is to learn a skill smartly and efficiently in four weeks. Of course, four weeks will not get us to an advance level of whatever each of us are trying to learn, but we have to set a learning plan and goal we would like to achieve in four weeks and work towards it.
“Set a goal and work towards it.”
WHAT AM I LEARNING
After an introduction about wanting to improve my French, I will be taking up Polish language instead. You must be thinking why am I learning Polish instead of brushing up my French, one with which I have some basics already. I would like to use this challenge to learn a language from scratch and experiment with it. If this plan is successful, I can apply it to any other languages.
“My challenge is to learn Polish in four weeks.”
I have a good reason to learn Polish cause my boyfriend is Polish and his mum does not speak English. Although I do not see her that often, it is still nice to be able to converse. We tried communicating with each other over tea but to no avail, hand gestures was not very helpful. We ended up flipping through a Polish-English dictionary to communicate. It was a really funny experience but I hope that will be last of our dictionary word pointing conversation.
“… to communicate without having to flip through dual Polish-English dictionary over tea.”
WHAT IS MY GOAL
At the moment, the extend of my Polish saying Happy Birthday, Good Morning, Good Evening, How are you, Thank you and Goodbye. So that’s pretty much all I know. Oh actually, I know ‘Dzik’ is ‘wild boar’ and that ‘Jestem głodna’ is ‘I am hungry’ in Polish. That las sentence is very helpful indeed. At the end of the first four weeks, I would like to be able to:
- construct sentences and have simple conversation in Polish
- read and understand a Polish food blog and to cook from the recipes
The reason why I chose food as part of my goal is because I love food and that I write a food blog, so this is something I am passionate about and that I can relate to. Personally, I think linking goals to something that we are passionate about, will excite us more and will assist in a excelling at a quicker pace. This will make learning more efficient.
“The goal is to read and understand Polish food blog and cook from the recipes. In 3 months time, the target is to be able to write a dual language blog post about Polish food.”
HOW TO ACHIEVE MY GOAL
The learning plan is very important in achieving your goal so spend some time in structuring the plan. In this instance, my plan will be to:
- listen to Michel Thomas’s audiobook
- The Michel Thomas Method is a very effective way of learning language with no books, no writing and no memorising
- I first came across this through recommendation of Jakub, a fellow ‘four weeks challenge’ participant
- increase Polish vocabulary
- make new sentences in Polish everyday
- It will be useful to construct sentences you use daily
- Write a list of topics and construct about 5 to 10 sentences on one topic each day
“Come learn Polish with me or follow my progress here. If you are interested in tracking the progress and challenges of other participants, check out the ‘Four Weeks Challenge blog’.”