The much anticipated holiday season is here. Looking back, we used to be so busy travelling, travelling to visit families and friends, or travelling for some fun experiences. This year, although travel is curbed by the pandemic, our holiday spirit is not. There are still loads of things for us to do at home, drinking, eating, partying, playing video games, watching Netflix, or shopping for holiday bargains. Holidays can be hectic.
What about learning Chinese?
Totally giving up learning Chinese during the holiday is not really a good idea. But hiding behind your Chinese textbooks is even worse. A good way is to do a little bit of Chinese, as little as possible, yet frequently enough, to stay fresh, so that you can devote time and energy to holiday activities, families and friends.
Here I have some learning tips for you to achieve this goal, do just a little bit of Chinese during the holiday break.
A little bit of learning goes a long way. It helps you stay on the right track. When the break is over, you won’t feel that you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned!
Tip #1: Take a few minutes at a time.
Expecting yourself to block a whole hour each day for learning Chinese is asking too much. You are needed during the holidays, and you are going to get involved in many celebrations and errands all the time.
Dedicate a few minutes instead. It’s easier to find a few minutes to do some Chinese, during your morning coffee/tea, right after you get out of the bed, or before you go to sleep. Find those few minutes, and make a habit of it.
If you have a copy of Learning Chinese Well Organised (LCWO), you probably find it easier to find those few minutes, as the sole purpose of LCWO is to help people find time and space amid all the distractions.
Tip #2: A short vocabulary list is better than your Chinese textbooks.
Prepare a short Chinese vocabulary list which you think is important. For example, select a few key words from each lesson, and build a nice one-page vocabulary list. Use those few minutes to review these key words and try to recall what the lesson is about. You can have a quick mental review of an entire lesson in a flash.
Alternatively, use a Spaced Repetition Software (SRS) to help you stay fresh with your vocabularies. A few minutes a day and you can easily stay on top of everything.
If you’re working on the Chinese Reading and Writing textbook series, I recommend using SuperMemo to do revisions, as all the basic cards are already there. Read more about using SuperMemo cards to review the Chinese Reading and Writing textbook series.
Tip #3: Write something occasionally.
Send a text message in Chinese, write a Facebook post in Chinese, send a tweet in Chinese, keep a journal in Chinese, or simply throw in some Chinese words to your normal writings.
Write about the activities you have done, people you have met, the good food you have eaten, some quality me-time you’ve enjoyed, or how many bottles of beer you have drunk.
All these writings will keep your Chinese active, and increase your knowledge retention.
If you have a copy of LCWO, use it to doodle some of your thoughts. If you don’t, any notebooks will do the job.
Tip #4: Listen to your audios.
Let your Chinese audios put you to sleep when possible.
Some experts say that our brain continues to function and be more receptive when we are asleep. And this is the best time to learn subconsciously. We may not realise it after we wake up, but our learning is already there.
These experts may have a point.
If you are working on Mandarin Express textbook series, either Intro Level or Basic Level, there are dozens of audio lessons available for you to listen to.
Listening to these Mandarin audio lessons can definitely put you to a sound sleep, and you wake up the next day fresh with energy.
Hope you find these learning tips helpful, and use them to stay on track with your Chinese study.
Here at MSL Master, I wish you a splendid holiday ahead!
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