Do you like to get your money's worth? I know I do. I don't like to waste money. Who does? Which is more valuable to you, a free language course or one you have to pay for? If you are given a free language course, you won't really appreciate it. You won't put any time or effort into it. If you have to pay for your language course, you'll put a lot more time and effort into it. You'll want to get your money's worth out of it.
But then what happens down the road? You forget about all that money you spent. You start to lose your motivation. You're still studying the same course you bought. Now it's getting boring. So, what next?
Remember when you first got that course? Do you remember how excited you were? That excited feeling represented a total interest in learning the language. When you are excited, you are more attentive and more aware. You learn faster and retain information better. That attention is also concentration. This is the real factor in language learning. If we develop our powers of concentration, we can learn languages better and faster.
I'm going to work on my ability to concentrate while I'm listening to language lessons. I'm talking about deep, intense concentration. The key is to break everything down to a single unit. The basic unit is the sentence. Listen to it, concentrate on the meaning and the new words. Loop it for a minute or two. That minute of concentration is more productive than reviewing flashcards over and over. You are not busy trying to figure out the meaning of the next sentence or the next idea. Instead you just concentrate on one unit. And it sinks in.
Well, that is the basis for my studies from now on. It is by no means an easy task. My mind starts to wander after about 10 or 20 seconds. But I think concentration is something that can be developed.
And you thought this post was going to be an info-mercial, didn't you. Hahaha...