About 20 – 25% of the students at my school are taking one class per week (1 – 2 hours/class). Ideally, we need to put more effort into studying than just having class once a week. But if your schedule doesn’t allow you to do more, yes we can still make it work.
Here're three wonderful suggestions from Annie!
1. Don’t skip your class
Always make your class one of the things you must do, not an optional extra that you feel you can drop when you’re busy. When you skip one class, it’s already two weeks out of practice. Have to go on a business trip or running late and can’t come to class on time? We can always do a Skype lesson instead. Too tired for a one-hour class after a long working day? You’re not alone! That’s why we offer 30-minute classes.
Remember, doing even a little is better than doing nothing. You didn’t do your homework? Go to class anyway! You still get that one hour practice, and that’s way better than nothing.
2. Don’t stop
I was busy and I decided to stop going to my Chinese lessons for a week or two. It was four months before I actually resumed my lessons. And I’ve seen many of my students do the same. Sometimes worse: a one week break becomes a forever quit.
Once you stop, the chances are high that you will stop forever. Remember: meeting your teacher, practicing speaking and reviewing previous knowledge is far better than skipping a class.
3. Do a little every day
Apart from your weekly class, here are six things you can do every day to maximize your learning:
a. Watch a video and learn some basic vocabulary
Check out 365 Vietnamese Lessons from Annie. There are 26 of them. Each video is only 2 - 5 minute long so you can easily watch one everyday.
Another great series is Learn Vietnamese Vocabulary. There are 11 of them at the moment. Each video covers 5- 8 useful phrases and you'll be tested at the end of the video.
b. Read something
My elementary students love a series of kids’ stories called Bubu for its simple language. You can go to Fahasa bookstore and get 5 or 10 books of this series (it’s very cheap, about 10,000VND/book) and maybe try to complete one book each week.
c. Read panels and banners and signs on the street
From simply looking out of their car windows my students have learned many useful phrases, such as “cà phê mang đi” (take away coffee), “sửa xe” (motorbike repair service), “xin giữ khoảng cách an toàn” (please keep a safe distance), “trả góp” (pay by installments), etc.
d. Ask your Vietnamese colleagues to teach you one new word a day.
For example, you can just point at stuff in your office and ask “Cái này là cái gì?” (What is this?). After a week, you may already know “bàn” (desk), “ghế” (chair), “máy tính” (computer), “cây viết” (pen) and “máy in” (printer).
e. Establish a two-minute practice habit with your partner or spouse
Two minutes every day, starting with simple things like “Hôm nay em có bận không? Tối nay mình ăn gì?” (“Were you busy today? What shall we eat tonight?”). If you learn something new, try it with your other half. Make achievable goals: two minutes is short enough not to feel like a major task, but long enough that you feel a sense of achievement from getting in some practice.
f. Create flashcards on your mobile and practice at least one time a day.
Many of our students are using Anki and they love it. You can review 10 words in one minute with Anki and that helps a great deal with remembering new vocabulary.
g. Listen to our podcast
A full lesson is usually 12 - 15 minutes long for elementary level and you can listen when you’re travelling, waiting for a meeting, during lunch time, etc. If you have a bit more time you can do more with the podcast: listen to the dialogue (only one minute long), pausing to repeat each line after each line; do the exercises; test yourself with the vocabulary review; look at the English translation and try to translate it back into Vietnamese. There is so much you can do even when you only have a few minutes.
Try out our sample lessons here!