Today marks 5 months and 2 weeks (give or take a few days) since I started studying Italian. My original plan was to see how far I could get in 3 months and I think I progressed to the point where I was close to a solid A2 in the CEFR and using material in Italian only for the B1 and B2 levels. What I did not expect when I started is that I'd end up liking Italian so much or that I would make so many friends who were native speakers. This has made me decide to keep going in Italian until 2016 when I will attempt to take the CILS B2 or C1 depending on when the exam is and my confidence. The problem is I need to get more serious about my studies and increase my writing output. I'm already doing at least 2 hours of conversation per week as well as studying Italian for at least an hour per day. But there are a number of things I am not doing.
- I'm not doing retrospectives on my lessons. I have to start reviewing my lessons seriously and trying to make sure that I master the things I'm learning in the lessons and that I understand the corrections I am being given.
- I'm not preparing for the lessons. I need to pick a topic from my Conversations to Go game, translate it to Italian and then learn the vocabulary and structures that I expect that I will use in the lessons. I'm wasting too much time thinking instead of practicing.
- I'm not writing enough. I am a firm believer that if you practice speaking regularly then writing can have a direct positive impact on your speaking skills. I'm confident that if I had done these things from the start, I'd be close to the B2 level right now.
For this reason I'm setting my next challenge. I'm going to take 13 weeks to really focus on getting to a solid B2 level. Here is my plan.
I've got two weeks to get my material ready.
- I'm going to complete level one of Glossika's Italian fluency module and get as close to 1/2 way through level 2.
- Translate 40 of the conversations to go slips for use in my lessons or in writing exercises.
- Gather together examples of the following grammatical structures to supplement Glossika.
- Present, future, passoto prossimo, and imperfetto of the top 10 irregular verbs by frequency. I expect this to be close to 8,000 sentences total (many will be conjugated variations).
- 3,000 examples of the conjuntivo and condizionale with at least 1/2 being of the top 10 irregular verbs.
Here is my plan for the first week of June through the 30th of August.
- Magari (B1 to C1) 400 pages – Use this book and some of the ideas for exercises to guide grammar and conversational learning. Many of the activities in this book are designed for groups or classrooms so finding an appropriate variation on the activity will be essential.
- News in Slow Italian – one episode per week. This will include summaries of the 4 news segments.
- 3 writing exercises using Conversations to Go – This will be the hard part of my learning to stay committed to. I need to force myself to create more output or I will not advance.
- 2 or more conversation classes per week for a total of two hours minimum.
- Practice tests and quizzes each week with CILS exam simulations performed every fourth week.
This is going to be a lot of work and that's why I'm sticking with a 13 week time span. I can't keep up this kind of work indefinitely but 13 weeks is a good amount of time to be able to accomplish some real goals and still be able to make corrections for any problems I might have.