Hello everyone! Are you ready for April?
This post is so that I can share my plans with other language learners and to hold myself accountable over the next four weeks. I did well in March, but I want to do even better in April. So… here goes!
Firstly, let me say that this post is absolutely not about ‘how to study Chinese in 30 days’ or ‘jump up a HSK level in one month’ because let’s be honest here… statements like that are utter nonsense, in my opinion!
Maintain a weekly tandem with my current language partner (this might not be possible due to my odd work schedule in April, but I’ll try!)
Upload a recording (to IG and / or HelloTalk) of me talking about the topic discussed in my tandem call.
Join a conversation on Clubhouse! (I’ve been avoiding this for three weeks now and it’s just getting silly…)
Arrange a second tandem meeting (I have some people I could reach out to… but I still feel nervous about meeting new people!)
Listen to live news or a podcast 3-4 times a week. I should be doing this whilst I’m putting on my make up, on a break or making dinner.
Join Richard Chinese Language’s daily YouTube lessons – take note of all new vocabulary and phrases. If I can’t make one due to work, I want to try and catch up in the evening or the following day.
Watch more movies or TV dramas in Mandarin BUT only on the weekends. I was getting completely sucked into these rom-coms and staying up until 1/2am, which was terrible for my health.
Listen to Mandarin songs daily, sing along (sorry family!) and try to understand them instead of just ‘hearing’ the melody.
Read a story on DuChinese three times per week
Read (and translate) a book I have on the history of Taiwan. I found it in a box in the loft and the illustrations are so beautiful.
Read and translate Instagram captions, because I can’t understand anything my favourite actors and singers are saying. I really want to engage with their content more often but only understand enough to leave basic comments.
Continue with my Coursera courses (4-8 hours per week), which involve a mix of all four skills but have some short texts as well – perfect quick reads!
Writing and vocabulary goals
Write a draft for my tandem chat
Write out the final copy for my tandem chat, including new vocabulary, phrases and example sentences.
Write all IG captions in Mandarin (both traditional and simplified)
Write two blog posts in Mandarin – length doesn’t matter as long as it’s original.
Duolingo for 10-15 minutes a day
Pleco for 10-15 minutes (3-4 times a week)
I also need to make sure I review both old and new vocabulary every day, along with my HSK 4 word list and any new words that come up in movies.
I really have forgotten so many grammar points and it’s completely embarrassing. For example, how do I use ‘了’ or ‘的’ correctly? And what on Earth do I use ‘得’ for again?!
But I have been making a conscious effort to review grammar as often as possible, and I’m learning quite a lot in my lessons as well!
My goals are to review the HSK 1-3 grammar points weekly (with books, YouTube videos or podcasts).
Focus on HSK 4 grammar points from my lessons and by using the HSK exam guidelines and researching the usage on my own.
Last week I caved in and bought a grammar course and workbook, which is due to arrive next week, so I’ll be working through that as well. I have quite a few grammar points that I want to revise, but have no idea where to start. I think this book will be really helpful for those terms.
YouTube has lots of brilliant Chinese teachers who often explain single grammar points at a time, and I plan on using those videos a few times a week. Unfortunately, I have noticed some errors and / or differences and I need to be careful not to believe everything straight away.
Now you have my April plan, what do you think? Do you have a similar plan for your TL or do you prefer to go with the flow?
I’m a natural planner and note-taker, but I don’t force myself to stick to the plan if things aren’t working. If I have a bad day, I might ditch the writing and focus on listening, or if I’m feeling really productive I might do some passive listening whilst focusing more on grammar and reading – whatever floats your boat, right?
In summary, I’m currently working through HSK 4 and Chinese in Steps 4 in my paid lessons and two free Coursera lessons. However, I frequently watch YouTube videos aimed at HSK 5, for both grammar and vocabulary. I try to listen to live news 3-4 times a week and watch YouTube videos of interviews with actors that I like.
I know that my speaking skills are quite low, and my vocabulary is a huge mixture of levels. I know the recommended words for HSK1-3 really well, but HSK4 and 5 can be tricky.
I need to learn more updated vocabulary because I’m still stuck in the 90s!
This month, I need to improve my listening skills and develop my range of vocabulary, along with gaining more confidence in speaking. I really should put some effort into Spanish and Swedish, but Chinese does need to be my main focus. I know I have a lot to work on and I’m ready for the challenge.
I do have a feeling that April will be my toughest month yet in terms of language learning, and I’m totally up for it!
Do you have any language goals for this month? What languages are you studying? I’d love to hear about your goals and plans too x