Russian Recall and Power Sentences: Part III
Part Three, or el finale. Lets do this.
Memorization is a lot like green eggs and ham, from the Dr. Seuss classic. You’ve heard its boring, its never-ending, and its ineffective. Here’s to hoping my last three posts have convinced you to try it at least(:
So in my last post (Russian Recall and Power Sentences: Part II, check it out) I covered Power Sentences (made-by-you sentences packed with Russian grammatical rules, vocab words, cases and anything else that you NEED or WANT to learn) and how you can formulate your own. Those are the phrases you memorize that will give you the most out of your memorization practice. In this post, I wanted to go highlight how to memorize those power sentences MOST effectively by returning to my first point. It is as follows:
- Make the memorization process as stimulating as possible. Engage multiple senses. Change up the routine often and frequently to keep it interesting.
So………. what does that mean???
While everybody primarily fits into four categories of learning styles (visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic learners), in the process of “teaching” yourself using only dictionaries, grammar books and first hand experience, you want to have a complete grasp on every principle you study. Engaging ALL or as many senses as possible will give you the greatest rate of success. You might know that you are a reading/writing learner, or you might learn best from hearing things over and over. Focus on your primary learning style, but include other senses back to back or sometimes simultaneously to enhance your retention. This could include writing down sentences after repeating them out loud, role-playing scenarios where you can use these memorized phrases, making flash cards of specific pieces of the sentence, or a number of other things. Whatever you do, constantly be repeating these sentences, but always in different ways.
From my experience, I’m a kinesthetic learner: I memorize best when I have motions or actions involved in the learning process. I remember all through my time in Russia, even in the beginning, pacing in my St. Petersburg apartment while holding my open dictionary or notebook, repeating out loud phrases and power sentences. If I remember right, I would also wave my free hand around while walking and talking to get more movement out of it (so for you kinesthetic learners out there, it’s ok if you look a little strange(: ) Whether it was readiness or leg exhaustion that got me sitting down, I’d then plant myself down afterwards and write out the sentences verbatim. (Having a nice smooth pen for this is ESSENTIAL). I still have notebooks of the same sentences written out over four pages. Speaking the sentences as I wrote them further enhanced my engagement with the words and phrases.
The biggest thing with memorization is you don’t let it be as boring as it’s made out to be. It can be painful and horrible, or it can be really productive and mind-stretching.
And if you’re thinking: “This is ridiculous, there’s no way this will work, memorization is a waste of my time”, I return to what I said at the beginning, with a quote from the Dr. Seuss favorite:
You do not like it.
So you say.
Try it! Try it!
And you may.
Try it and you may I say.
Here’s to hoping you come to love memorization like I do(:
Mark Kennedy, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Riga