Learning a new language is a challenge, as we know. There are many methods for learning a language and they all have their pros and cons. But today I'm not talking about methods. I'm talking about tools to help you be a quicker learner, (i.e. memorization) which is essential, however you are learning a language.
One major difficulty that always exists when learning a new language is memorizing the new words, grammatical concepts, phrasal verbs, pronunciation and everything else needed to be a fluent speaker.
How many times do we need to be reminded of the definition of a word or maybe the structure of a certain tense and when to use it? How many times have we mispronounced the same word over and over? Or improperly used prepositions? If you're anything like me, or probably most language learners, the answer is - a lot ... too many times to keep track.
Yet we all know of someone who seems naturally gifted, smart, and remembers everything. Learning seems to come easy to them. This may be, but there are ways we can all greatly improve and be better, smarter learners. There are many tools to improve your memory and thus efficiency of acquiring knowledge (e.g. learning a new language). How do we do this though?
Generally, the rule is, the more techniques and senses you can implement in whatever you are doing, the more likely you will be able to remember it. For example let's say you need to learn more vocabulary. You have more than one way to do this, and you should probably do as many as you can think of. You might find one or two methods work best for you, or that using a plethora of techniques helps you to retain the vocabulary.
A great way of learning vocab is to read a novel. Another way could be making flashcards for any new words that you come across. Maybe watching movies and writing down the words you don't know helps. Perhaps music inspires you and you're drawn to memorizing and understanding the lyrics. And we could go on and on. Sometimes we also have options as to which sense(s) we can use. Many times we can watch something (i.e. use our visual sense), but maybe we could also hear something, taste something, etc. Doing a variety of these techniques and uses as many sense as possible is a great help with memorization. Creating change and variety is critical.
Our mood plays a critical role, as well. When we are tired we have an extremely difficult time retaining any information. Not only when we are tired though, as well when we are angry, sad, or otherwise unable to focus and have a positive outlook we don't usually hold on to what we are learning.
Part of the problem with not being in the right frame of mind for learning is that you need to see what you are doing as important. If you feel that what you are doing/learning is important/necessary, you will be much more likely to remember it in the future. So as best we can, we must see the importance in whatever it is that we are doing.
Adrenaline and euphoric experiences also greatly increase our ability to remember something, as we know. Just think back to your most vivid memories. As language learners, I'm sure we all have had the experience of making embarrassing mistakes in front of people by maybe using the wrong word, for example, but when we realized the mistake and felt embarrassed we probably never again forgot that mistake. Whenever we have a moment of heightened emotion we tend to remember it long afterwards. Sometimes we are able to utilize this in our language learning goals and it can be a great help. If you have the ability, maybe instead of learning in a book about how to order food at a restaurant; go to a restaurant and make it an experience (if you have the chance and don't mind getting a little out of your comfort zone).
Lastly, please, be an active learner. Participate! Let's say you are taking a class with a teacher. Don't expect to just learn because you showed up to class. Don't attempt to learn and reach your language goals through osmosis. It usually wont work out too well. You have to find the energy and inspiration that you need to actively engage in the class. Take notes. Ask questions. Listen carefully to what the teacher says. Take moments to contemplate. The right teacher will help you with this, and inspire you to learn and make the journey easier. You should be enjoying the classes you take and the gradual progress you are making.
There is a wealth of information online, of course, and two sites (of many) that give great ideas:
Check them out. I think you'll find it interesting. Thanks for reading!