“Repetition is the mother of all skill” – Tony Robbins
Repetition naturally presents itself while in the pursuit of a new language. For example, as you practice, you will tend to see the same words over again. When you encounter a word that you have seen before your brain will acknowledge it and assign a higher level of importance.
Overtime your familiarity with a number of words will improve and so will your skill at your target language.
If repetition is a natural part of the learning process, is a better understanding of repetition going to accelerate your ability to learn rapidly?
What Is Repetition And How Are You Using It In Your Spanish Learning Process?
In simplest terms repetition is using / doing / seeing something more than once.
For language learning, repetition would be using the same word more than once, reading the same book, listening to the same recording or speaking with the same person.
Are you allowing serendipitous repetition or have you considered a deliberate approach?
Why Use Repetition?
Simply put – your body and brain thrive on repetition.
Think about it. Practicing a musical instrument. Memorising a speech. Getting stronger in the gym. Running further. Memorising more words.
Why use repetition? Because you can’t get better without it.
Imagine this scenario, you are studying and see a word in a text you are reading. You look up the meaning of the word and continue through the text.
The word was a little unusual and you don’t see it again for a number of weeks. Then when you see it again you have forgotten the meaning. In the moment you have to look up the word in a dictionary, but again you do not see that word for a number of weeks
The word will not stick. And in two weeks time, you will be headed back for the dictionary again.
This is what happens most of the time. And it is why it can take a long time to learn a new language.
More On The Importance Of Repetition
One of the main functions of the brain is to work as a filter.
Every single day you are exposed to thousands of images, ideas, smells, sounds, thoughts and emotions. If you were able to take everything in with equal weight you would go insane.
So to avoid overload the brain works to filter out certain pieces of information. It will only allow information to pass if it considers the information important.
When you use repetition you are telling the brain that what it is seeing / hearing / doing is actually important. And if done correctly you stand a much better chance of converting new information from short term to long term memory.
How To Use Repetition?
Rather than rely on the serendipitous nature of repetition through regular practice. Set aside a strategy for deliberate repetition.
Rather than just have the words of the language randomly show up as you regularly practice. Set aside a controlled methodology for implementing repetition.
Keep a learning journal
Whenever you encounter new words write them down.
On a regular basis go back through your journal and reinforce recent words to commit them to memory.
If it takes you six repeated exposures to a learn a new word, then commit every day to reviewing the words from the previous week.
When you are reviewing the words, try to use them in a sentence. You could also record the words and listen to them back, this is so you get used to speaking them and hearing how they sound.
You have now created a system of deliberate repetition.
If you can stick to it this system you will accelerate your rate of language acquisition.
Here are some random words that I have prepared for you to practice. Choose 5 from the list that you don’t already know. If you know them all, then go to your Spanish dictionary and find some more.
Creer – To Believe
Encontrar – To Find
Primero – First
Después – Later
Hablar – To Speak
Nuestro – Our
Dentro – Inside
La Gente – People
La Mano – Hand
Seguir – To follow
Put them in a journal and for every day over the next six days revisit them. Use deliberate repetition to make them stick. Choose another five tomorrow. After a month you will have built up a solid 150 words and committed them to long term memory.
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