Footmade Dreaming

Footmade Dreaming

Perhaps the most common question I was asked in my life was where I got my energy from, and how I kept smiling all the time. The secret probably lies in the fact that I discovered my passions quite early and that I stuck to them as much as I could. Apart from the journeys that leave my mind full of memories and sights, smells and sounds to stay there and be remembered forever, there is another passion of mine that keeps me going on a daily basis, and that is dancing.

My First Dance Teacher
My First Dance Teacher

Many years ago, when I was still a teenage girl, I discovered the beauty of Standard and Latin dance. The amazing sensation I have every time I hear a familiar rhythm is something that has been following me ever since. If someone offered me to go to the gym for more than two hours a day, I would have rejected it at no time, but even after four or five hours of dancing nonstop at dancing parties, I always feel sorry when they end.

The two styles are different in technique, rhythm and costumes, but they both exemplify basic elements of ballroom dancing such as control and cohesiveness.

With the appearance of Salsa, Kizomba or Bachata, dancing popularity exploded. In huge cities like mine, if you feel like dancing, you will definitely find a place to do it every single night. Ballroom dance, or Salsa parties, street Tango or a mixture of everything will be waiting for you at every corner.

Plesni studio "Natalija i Ivica"
Plesni studio “Natalija i Ivica”

After so many lectures that I have a day, and despite immense love for my job, I usually feel quite exhausted in the evenings. It happens very often that I come to my Salsa training with zero energy level. However, after just a few minutes of listening to that adorable beat, I feel alive again. By the end of the practice, which is too short for all of us, no matter how long it lasts, my face is radiant and smiling again, and my body is full of bouncing energy.

Dorćol Platz
Dorćol Platz

If you are lucky enough to find your “rechargers“, make the most of them.

Being healthy, and having an adorable son and family, I have already no rights to complain at all. However, with the addition of travelling, dancing and working what I like best, whenever and wherever I want, no wonder I glitter!

That is the answer!

What are your external sources of energy? What can always make you feel better? Leave me your comments; I would love to hear your ideas!

Bachata
Bachata

Memory Card Technique for Learning Foreign Languages

memory card technique for learning foreign languages

This time I will show you how to use my memory card technique for learning foreign languages. I started using it while I was still at the University. We were supposed to memorize huge sentences in Latin and ancient Italian language, and as long as they were written on paper in some kind of logical order I somehow managed to reproduce them.

However, as soon as I tried to reach them individually, without context, it became much more difficult. Then I started using these cards, and the results were so fascinating even to me personally, that I immediately classified them as one of my basic teaching techniques.

During my classes, when I finish explaining a new grammar topic, I always give my students a task to translate a few sentences from native to foreign language. These sentences always contain a new grammar topic, some new or less familiar words we mentioned during that class and an actual event, which creates an emotional connection between students and sentences, which they recognize then as close, interesting, and relevant. For me as a teacher, it would surely be much easier to use always the same sentences, already prepared, but then, I would not be able to create that precious emotional connection.

memory card technique for learning foreign languages
Memory Cards

After we check and correct them, their next task is to copy those sentences to small papers (usually 1/32 of an A4 format, meaning an A4 format folded in half 5 times), so that each sentence is written on the separate paper. In such a way we avoid the effect of the “memorized image”, I spoke about last time. The sentence in the mother tongue is always written in blue for example, and its translation is always red, with no intention to create any psychological effects, but to make it easier to pick them up and put them together if they scatter.

I insist on using small papers because it is the only way that we can have them with us all the time, on the plane, in the wallet, or simply in an empty box of chewing gums. Thus, whenever we find ourselves stuck in a queue or in traffic jam, during the day, we can take them out and use this time wisely instead of getting annoyed.

The next phase is, naturally, crucial. We read the sentences in our language (blue side) and try to translate them to the language we want to learn to speak. It is not something that we should learn by heart, because we are already familiar with the grammar and new words in them. We should learn them as an ideal basis for making hundreds of new similar combinations.

When we give the answer, we turn the paper and check its accuracy on the red side. If we make a mistake, we should try to understand why we did it, and then we put that paper on the bottom of the pile. If we are just insecure or insufficiently fast, the paper goes to the bottom again. Only if we give the answer promptly and accurately, we can put that paper aside.

learning foreign languages.

When we encounter the same paper for the second time, we should translate it easier. If this is not the case, paper will end up again at the bottom of the pile. After the second and the third round, the pile will start getting smaller, and our attention can concentrate on the most difficult ones. It is important to keep going through them, until we learn the last paper. We should repeat the whole procedure the next day, then in 3, and in 7 days. It is always amazing to see how well some of them manage to escape from our memory.

As a result, we will always have the latest 10 or 20 papers that we know badly, the next 20 that still torture us, but the pile of those ones that we know excellently will grow day in day out, and they represent our real knowledge.

What do we get with this?

  1. We learn some new grammar rules.
  2. We learn some new words.
  3. We create a basic sentence that we can easily adjust to new situations.
  4. Most importantly, we create an automatic response in a foreign language, and therefore spontaneous speech.

I will end this by sharing a personal experience of mine. After several months of studying with these cards, I went to my exam, got my questions, and naturally remembered everything without a problem, but what amazed me and my professors most, was the ease and the speed of my language. It was completely spontaneous and smooth.

Do try this simple system and tell me about your experiences.

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Language Learning Tips – Words

Talking to my friends who would like to engage with me in some sort of online business, I often encounter their lack of knowledge or insufficient knowledge of the English language, as an obstacle. The opportunities that a global world market can offer are far greater than any local and national ones, and therefore using English for work, for me was a logical choice. Furthermore, the system I have chosen to get the necessary knowledge and experience for this job, offers training, brand-new software and support of more than 2,000 members on the same path of growth, always ready and eager to help, but in English.

Hence my need for trying to share my 25 year long experience in language teaching and all the things that could make the learning easier, or even more interesting and entertaining, in the next blogs on the site. I am a professor of Italian language and literature, my mother tongue is Serbian, I learned English and Russian at school and now I am studying Greek for fun.

My students achieve remarkable results because we use all the resources we have to make studying easier and more enjoyable and we use some tricks to fool our own brain so that it does not deceive us.

How do you study new words? The answers I get to this question are fascinating. Some students repeat them a few times, or read them once and simply try to memorize. Some of them make lists with the words and their translation and keep reading them.

Imagine that you have a list of 30 new words, you learn them for a while and then, only after a few hours, during a test or in a conversation, you cannot remember many of them.

Then maybe you start repeating learned words, and your brain already knows which word is the next one below and which is the last one. This is because the brain memorizes the picture of the list and reproduces it at that moment, but it has nothing to do with real knowledge and it is not of a permanent character.

If you try to use a word from the list the next day, there are great chances that you will be very angry at your bad memory. After all, what did you actually do?

Imagine that you are a great fan of t-shirts and you are fond of buying them. Every day you buy some and put them in your wardrobe, without order. There is now a chaotic pile there, but you love it. Then, it happens that you need a yellow t-shirt with the green strips and you know you have it, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot possibly find it. The same thing happens in your head with words. There is no hook in the sea of them, which will draw the desired word to the surface.

However, if you hang the t-shirts in the closet, the situation will be completely different. No matter how many T-shirts there are, the sleeve of the one you want will still be visible and easy to find.

Thus, the most important thing in learning foreign words and languages in general is creation of associations. My younger students, after just a few lessons, become little experts in making them, and the older ones, used to repetitive learning, find it a bit harder, but they also start liking it as soon as they experience the first benefits of lasting and reliable memory.

associations

  1. Make a list of thirty words of a foreign language, and write their meaning on the right
  2. Read them and try to create a good association to each one of them. For example, the Serbian word for a monkey is “majmun”. Pronounced, this irresistibly reminds me of “my Moon”, so you should try to imagine the Moon in the sky that itches like a monkey. In addition, if you can “hear” the sound of it or “see” for example, the red color of its cap, the association will be better and more reliable. The more connected ideas to the desired word you make, the better the association gets. We can take for example, the Italian word for a tree “albero”. It looks like Albert, doesn’t it? Then imagine Albert Einstein sitting under a tree, rubbing his mustaches and thinking about relativity! It takes a little time and effort when you first encounter a new word but this way is far more efficient than learning it by heart, which usually, very soon ends up with forgetting.
  3. Cover the right side of the list and make sure you know the translation of each foreign word.
  4. Cover the left side now and try to translate the words in the opposite direction, from your language.
  5. Ideally, give someone to read them to you randomly to avoid the “memorized image”, i.e. what the brain has visually scanned, which, in most cases has nothing to do with knowledge.

Next time, I will introduce you to my “technique of small papers” that you will be able to use also for word learning later. From week to week, I will try to pass on to you many things that I have created for my students during all these years, that made their learning process of foreign languages much easier and much more fun. If you want to receive updates about new posts, leave me your email address in the “contact” section, and if you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.