I’m taking a Cousera class Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects taught by UC San Diego engineering professor Barbara Oakley (with guests). To keep the material relevant, I decided to study German. I‘ll be on the Danube in 2015 so that should prove helpful.
My initial plans are to spend ten minutes per day taking a German lesson in Duolingo. Created by Captcha creator Luis von Ahn, the course is free and intended to covertly use students to translate internet sites into other languages. Whatever. I only hope to learn something useful.
My second goal is to immerse in the language like a child would. Soaking it in before participating, creating those neural connections. So (thank you Netflix), I’ve queued German language movies and will watch ten minutes each day.
Later I’ll figure out how to get some conversation practice.
One thing I learned from Learning How to Learn is that repetition is key. I can vouch for that. For those wondering how I’m doing on my pushups (see blog on Eating Elephants in 20 Hours), the app has recorded over 12000 pushups. In time that would be: 30 hours, making me more than reasonably skillful. In loom knitting, I have logged over 400 hours since January 2013 and now can create commercial-quality (seasoned with love) slipper socks and USO caps.
Daily practice helps in writing fiction, too. I’ve had some recent distractions, but am back on track with revisions to mystery novel Olive Tomorrow. Two of my four beta readers have supplied me with early comments on the fourth and final Abishag mystery. Next week I start resolving those comments in another revision leading to the publication of An Eggshell Present in September.
Meanwhile, as Goethe said: Besser laufen, als faulen. Better to run than to rot. So let’s run!