In this blog, Maggie will discuss the importance of regular language revision - even when school is out! She will give some tips on how to implement language revision throughout your school holidays in a fun, quick and easy way.
Let’s face the fact: it’s the end of term, it’s hot outside (or snowing!) and the holidays have just begun. The last thing on your mind will be sitting down and thinking about the next term ahead. If that’s the case, then you are not alone. Thousands of students have finished the school term and have embarked on their holidays. Whether they are heading abroad or staying in the country, chances are, not very many will be thinking of doing much – or any – work at all during the precious school break.
However, as a German and French tutor, I can only stress how important and essential it is to keep one’s language skills alive. The longer one refrains from any language contact, the harder it will be when one returns to school and faces an immense amount of languages input. This can be quite overwhelming if one hasn’t done any revision during break time. Look at it like this: If you are an athlete, you have to train regularly in order to improve or to even stay at the same level that you have already reached. Or, let’s say you are training for a marathon, you will most probably have to practise regularly in order to be able to run a long distance. You can’t just go out once per week hoping to run a long distance in a decent time. If you leave too much time in between practice sessions, it will become extremely hard to motivate yourself again and it is quite likely that you will have lost some of your level. The same can be applied to languages. When a student has a lesson two to three times weekly, he or she will have most likely acquired a good and wide range of vocabulary and structures that he or she can then apply in writing, reading or when speaking the language. However, if one leaves too many gaps in between language sessions and does not practise the usage of the language over and over again, lots of the acquired material will be lost and it will be much harder for the student to start using the language skills again. There is a simple way to change the helplessness and the feeling of being overwhelmed when returning to school in September or January, after Christmas. It is in fact quite simple and will only require 10-15 minutes three to four times weekly.
I suggest writing a diary. Let’s say you are lucky enough to go on holiday and spend a few wonderful days in a foreign country where you will taste new food, encounter new situations and meet a lot of new people. Try to write about it in the foreign language that you are studying. You do not have to use fancy language or sentence structures; simply try to write down how your day was or your last few days, talking about the weather, the activities you did and what you ate and drank. If you stumble across a word that you were not familiar with but kind of need it for your short diary entry, simply look it up in an online dictionary. This way you revise what you have learned in the past and you can also add new vocabulary to your portfolio.
Another fun way of revising a language is watching short video clips catered to your level. The “Deutsche Welle”, a German webpage, offers a variety of short different German videos and grammar sheets where you can learn and revise any topics that you interested in. Alternatively, you can go to youtube and watch plenty of videos in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, etc. too. Just write down the name of the topic that you are interested in and within seconds you will be given a large amount of videos to chose from. Click on one, watch it and take some notes. This will refresh your memory and when you will be faced with the language that you are currently studying again at the beginning of the new year, you won’t feel that overwhelmed. So, as you can see, a few minutes of language revision here and there can do wonders and you won’t feel stressed when going back to school.