Unconventional and fun learning practices

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I am a procrastinator.
I have always been one and I think I will continue being like this all my life.

When I was little, I postponed homework until late at night and I was so sick of studying. I wasn’t a night owl, just a procrastinator. At some point in my school life, something changed and I started to work additionally. I was still a procrastinator, but studying wasn’t so bad. In high-school, I started studying languages as a hobby even if our school system already required too much. I don’t know if this is what overzealous means, but not knowing on what to focus, not being taught what matters and being scared of the future made me do all of these additional things that became one of the causes of my later-to-appear burnout.

Step by step, studying and learning became a routine, better said a lifestyle. Actually, we all do it, we all learn everyday, but we don’t realize. In a way, I am still that overzealous student, or better said a jack of all trades and master of none. Not necessarily a bad thing, but adult life is sometimes an obstacle in the way of my love for learning.

Working a full time job already requires a lot of time and concentration. Adding studying to this routine is in itself something that really makes me proud and motivates me when I am down. I am not very consistent when it comes to routines or habits, but in regards to studying I am pretty consistent. This was the key for me actually. Even if it takes me a lot of time to become good or better at something, consistency always shows the results.

When I started working, I realized that the adult life is so different and that there are more things that you must do than the ones that you want to do. However studying and learning must be there. You can’t do the things that you must do without doing a few of the things that you want to do. Balance is the key here. But how to do them both? Learning is not only something that I want to do and that I love, but also something necessary for progress. The easiest method for me is to learn while having fun. This is not always possible, but I try to use this method everyday.

Soooo, at the middle of this post, I am letting you know that I will talk about some fun and unconventional learning practices I use everyday and that actually worked for me.

Let me share with you some of the techniques I use (as a procrastinator and a lazy person) to learn while having fun. This is mostly related to languages, but I use it for other topics as well.

  • Learning vocabulary with series, books and webtoons.
    This technique is what helped me even with Korean grammar, so I use it a lot to learn expressions and words in context. When I decide to use entertainment for learning purposes, I take a notebook and a pen and I write down words, expressions that I want to use later with my tutor, or I look up new words in the dictionary and write them down. Sometimes, I rewatch series or movies without subtitles to test my understanding in other languages (mostly in Korean). When reading books or webtoons, I look up the new words, write synonyms or write the translation in English or French ( this is when I decide to do a mixed study which I use as a challenge).
  • Reviewing historical events and figures with Korean dramas.
    I am sure you know by now how much I love Korean language, culture and history. Historical movies and series became some sort of a motivation and this is how I started to read again research papers and books on Korean history, something that I neglected since finishing my academic studies. So if I watch a new drama portraying some king and the reforms he adopted, I will do some research and go deeper into the subject. Having a fun visual content as reference, the information stays with me for a longer period of time.
  • Improving writing using journaling or movie/series reviews.
    This is a technique I’ve started using since last year. What I usually do is to write a journal page in the desired language or a review about a movie or a drama that impressed me. Writing about something you like makes you stay consistent and you won’t feel like studying at all.
  • Improving speaking with monologues.
    It might sound strange, but I do this a lot. I was always shy and I found it difficult to talk to natives, so I started using the monologue in other languages as a technique to improve my speaking abilities. While this is not as efficient as talking to natives and it is also different from talking to real people whose reactions, vocabulary usage and way of thinking you can’t anticipate (as in the case of a monologue, where you are the one who prepares and thinks the whole situation), talking to myself helped me so much to improve my speaking and become more confident in real situations like interviews, presentations or conversations with natives.

These are some of the unconventional learning techniques I use almost everyday, if not everyday. They are actually practices that used frequently can help you achieve what you want. I hope my tips will inspire you to find you own practices or that you will practice in my way no matter what subject you are interested in.

Happy learning.

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