If you haven't been keeping of with me, I've been having a little trouble with Japanese lately. I started Japanese III this semester, and while it hasn't been crazy hard, I don't feel like I'm really progressing in terms of fluency. So while Japanese I and II seemed like a great learning experience for me, everything has turned stagnant.
I began to examine my study habits and my work with Japanese. I was doing everything great in class, passing with flying colors, and enjoying my learning. Still, it didn't seem satisfactory in a way.
During the Summer semester, our school did not offer part three of Japanese. For that time being I had to do self study and review to make sure I didn't lose a lot of my knowledge. Since I had already purchased the new textbooks and had the old one in my possession, I studied using these. I was working hard on keeping my Japanese fresh, but was I really learning and progressing? No, not at all.
While I cannot say I haven't learned anything, I haven't learned enough to show noticeable results. I realized that while I was working hard, I wasn't working smart. I needed to get help. No, not necessarily the use of a tutor or other speakers, but I need to find boosts to help me learn faster and more efficiently.
If you browse Youtube, I'm sure many of you have seen the different videos stating that you can be fluent in languages in a short amount of time, but many of them feel like a hoax. I started to ignore anything like this that seemed like a "shortcut" because it didn't feel like a real way to learn a language. However, I've come to a realization that there is no real way to learn a language, or anything for that matter.
Yes, school is necessary, but many of the things I learned were outside of school. My blogging, computer skills, mathematics, speed reading, writing; all of these I learned on my own or with a private helper or tutor. So I realized I can't rely only on the formal learning we get in school. Yes it's a good foundation, but I need to take it further. There's nothing wrong with using shortcuts or assists along the way to make things easier. That's called working smart.
So the lesson to take away from this post is, it's okay to take a few shortcuts and get the help of others along the way. Everything doesn't need to be learned formally or strictly, but that doesn't mean you should completely skip out on these things either.
With that, I hope to progress greatly in Japanese, and educate you all along the way. So please, stick with me!