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What are the best strategies to learn a new language? What activities do you feel are a waste of time?

As a teacher here on italki, I know that most of us in the community will agree that taking classes with someone who is patient and knows how to help a student progress is a vital step in learning a new language. But there are lots of things that students can do on their own, too. I, also, have had the experience of learning a language so I understand that it is a rewarding, and yet challenging, endeavor. So, please, share your thoughts: What has helped you reach your current level of proficiency in the language you are learning? What strategies didn't work for you?

P.S. If you would like to share your experience taking classes with a teacher, those comments are welcome, too. :)

Sep 2, 2016 2:59 PM
Comments · 13
I learned both my french and spanish from a beginner course at home and studied it allot. Approximately 2 hours every day 5/6 days a week for 6 months, untill i had a good basis and from there on i continued learning trough reading articles, watching television, and now on italki aswell. In the future i would learn a new language like this again.
September 2, 2016
Well, I realise that posting this I'm just asking for loads of thumbs down, but I find Anki and memorizing list of words (known as Spaced Repetition System) totally useless and incredibly boring. OK, I've said it. Now kill me for that.
September 2, 2016
I've found that taking a class with one teacher and 10-12 other students is not very efficient. One-on-one lessons with a teacher are far more effective. 
September 3, 2016

Although I'm a big believer in Anki I'll fully concede it's extraordinarily boring. For this reason I only use it for max. 10mins at a time, several times a day. I don't have the courage to use it for more than that in one stretch!

At this point it's worth clarifying what Anki is and isn't for. It isn't for learning new words. I'm totally against Memrise for that reason. It also isn't a substitute for practicing the four skills.

Anki is for revising words. A lot of language learning is repetition, repetition, repetition, and Anki is a very streamlined way to ensure you stay at the cusp of your knowledge, without plowing ahead too quickly or wallowing in stuff you already know.

September 3, 2016
I am studying from intermediate level Korean textbooks and when I feel like I plateau, I go back to an essential or beginners textbook. I try to use a different book than before, so I can see different examples. It helps keep me motivated and I can go back to the intermediate level books later.  
September 2, 2016
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Language Skills
English, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language