Here are a few simple suggestions that can help you learn more easily. Try them and see what works for you.
1. Go for the gist!
Don’t try to understand every word, whether you are listening or reading unless you are at an advanced level. Go for the general idea and respond as best you can.
2. Use language you know.
Use language in the target language even if it isn’t exactly what you mean, rather than be frustrated hunting for language you don’t know. The point is usually to use the language, not to be absolutely accurate with your information. If asked a question, answer with whichever words you know. Indicate that you understand the question or say that you don’t in the target language.
3. Don’t translate as a rule.
Of course you will translate occasionally, but if you translate word for word as a rule, you will develop a crutch that is almost impossible to lose. Listen to your classmates and it will probably become clear.
4. Use new vocabulary and structures.
Force new vocabulary and structures into conversation so they will become part of what you know and not stay on the list that you keep meaning to study. Use the lists in class.
5. Keep your verb charts and lists handy.
You don’t have to memorize everything. Use your lists. They’re even more helpful if you don’t have everything translated. Pictures or icons help you remember new words. Time lines help you remember tenses. There is no such thing as cheating in our classes! Do what works.
6. Trust your teacher. Trust yourself.
Your teacher will give you a phrase in the target language to use when you’re in a fog or a wall has gone up. Depending on the activity, the teacher may go to the next student upon hearing that phrase. There will be a time for a reality check, questions, feedback. Jot down problems and questions and go with the flow until those times. Some times the fog lifts and the wall comes down on its own.
7. Have the courage to make mistakes!
This is how we learn and it helps the teacher prepare the class.
Take risks. Have fun. Laugh!