The Importance of the Next Thing

No, this isn’t about tech trends or teaching fads. It’s a confession and a simple solution. Confession: My reading-and-listening habit in one of my target languages almost disappeared this winter. Why? Because I hadn’t lined up the Next Thing.   The Next Thing The Next Thing is the resource you plan to use just as […]

Winter Bonus Sessions Announced!

Having heard from several people who want to use some of their winter break to pursue a learning or teaching goal, I’m excited to announce that, for the first time in about fifteen years, I’ll be home during winter break and have opened a bunch of time slots for online coaching, tutoring, or conversation sessions […]

Guided Meditation in the TL

Sometimes I use guided meditation to relax or to help me fall asleep. Because I enjoy it and in order to get a bit more out of life, I usually listen in a language other than English. (My wife recently said to me that the fact that I use even sleep meditation to get more input […]

Same Conversation (Notes from Italy, pt. 3)

Note: This is part 3 of a summer series with notes on learning and interacting in another language. The series is inspired by my Italian interactions, but can apply to any language! See part 1 for two stories illustrating the goodness that comes from interacting with people in their own language and part 2 for […]

Advanced Eavesdropping (Notes from Italy, pt. 2)

If you ask most people whether eavesdropping is something you should do, they’ll answer no. If you ask me, I’ll say yes–if you’re trying to learn a language. Note: This is part 2 of my summer series sharing notes on learning and interacting in another language. The series is inspired by my Italian interactions, but […]

The Human Factor (Notes from Italy, pt. 1)

I arrived in Italy yesterday for a six-week teaching gig, and, yes, I actually took the picture of that door, and, yes, it actually leads to our flat, and, yes, the bike was already parked there. Che bello! As with other times I’ve traveled recently (see here, here, and here), I want to share some language-learning […]

What Are My Goals? (Learner Edition)

This is the second in a series of posts about goals for language learners and teachers. The first post raised a lot of questions for myself and others, questions I’m eager to explore in the rest of the series. For now, though, because this is a site for learners as well as teachers, I want […]

Language Quirks and Perks

What are some unique or quirky things about learning or teaching the language you learn or teach? I’m not talking so much about things like “the language has seven conjugations” or “there’s no past tense”–though those things are fun, too–as about extra-linguistic things like “I can’t find many other people learning the language” or “For some reason, […]

“The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”

My father likes to give people self-improvement books, and he’s discerning enough that they tend to be worth reading. The latest is Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. It’s about not just simplifying and de-cluttering, but developing both the skill and the constant habit of identifying and pursuing what is important, which, McKeown says, […]

1 Trip, 3 Tips (aka Lessons from Holland)

No, I haven’t been in Holland ever since my last post almost three months ago–the longest break, by far, in the youngish life of this blog. But my return from a week in the Netherlands gives me a good way to halt the hiatus. (If you’re curious about actual reasons why this blog has been so […]