ChinesePod has lots of tools and resources, especially when you sign up for a Premium subscription. There are different personalized approaches one could take, and here a couple I’ve successfully done: The simple approach I now take, as well as the more comprehensive approach I used to take when I was at the Newbie/Elementary level.
My Current Simple Approach
- When I get in the car on the way to work, I randomly select an Upper Intermediate lesson. I’ll hear the Dialogue, Lesson Review MP3, and then lesson itself. I set it on repeat, and on the way I’m usually able to hear the three files twice.
- As I have time, I log into the website, and use 3 of the tabs: I listen to the Dialogue, listen to each of the Expansion sentences, then do the Exercises.
- Mark the lesson “Studied,” and leave it behind me.
I’ve chosen to stick with “Upper Intermediate” because the level is actually below where I am, which makes it easy. But, I still encounter new words and concepts with each lesson. So, I’m learning, but not pushing myself to the point of giving up.
When I was starting out, I had to be much harder on myself. Very little would “stick,” so I really had to mash it into my brain in order to make progress.
My Complicated Newbie/Elementary Approach
- Listen to the lesson. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Listen to the Lesson Review MP3. This will be the first of many times.
- Create a vocabulary flashcard list in Pleco for any words I didn’t already know.
- Create and maintain a daily playlist of just the Dialogue MP3’s. Each time I did a new lesson, I’d add the Dialogue to the end of that playlist 3 times. I kept adding to the list until it was about 30 minutes (exactly right for my half-hour walk to school), then started deleting the first ones in the list to keep it at 30 minutes. (Note: I also adjusted the file “Start Time” to 3 seconds so I’d be spared hearing the “ChinesePod Dot Com” jingle over and over and over every day.)
- Go to the website and listen to the dialogue one line at a time. I’d repeat each line out loud until I could say it smoothly along with the recording.
- On the website, listen to each of the Expansion Sentences one at a time. Again, I’d repeat out loud after each one, until I could say it smoothly with the recording.
- Do the Exercises.
- Mark the lesson “Studied.”
- Continue listening to my 30-minute dialogue playlist every day.
- Integrate listening to the Lesson Review MP3 and Pleco flash cards into my Graduated Interval Recall system.
Featured Image: Elijah Wilcott, 2017