Bloom’s Taxonomy and Language Learning in 500 Words

Longtime readers might know that in my day job–the one I go to when I’m not blogging or fighting crime in Gotham–I develop documentation and training. Lately, I’ve been creating classroom curriculum for technical trainers. Something I’ve had to become somewhat familiar with is Bloom’s taxonomy. The taxonomy is so influential in educational circles that…


21-Day Bursts of Language Learning

All right, confession time: I’m not feeling too confident about hitting a B2/C1 level in German reading by mid December, and I’m anxious about being able to pass the test and reach my goal. I’ve made a ton of progress in the last six weeks. My overall German comprehension is much, much better than it…

Shirakawago Japanese Village
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Chill Out with Text Levels

Do you select which texts you read and listen to based on how “hard” they are? I suppose I do, to an extent. But going forward, I’m going to tone that down. In fact, I suggest the following for all of us: Don’t pay too much attention to text levels. If you’ve been around language…

Sign outside the Facebook HQ entrance.
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Create a Language Immersion Environment with Facebook

Yeah, Facebook is dying–at least that’s what the news keeps saying. But I spend a lot of time on there, and many of my friends do too. So I don’t really think it’s going anywhere for a while. And okay, admittedly, that headline is a little sensational. Yet I’m torn. On the one hand, I…


Five Common Problems with Language Exchanges (And How to Fix Them)

A language exchange is a session–usually over Skype but sometimes in person–in which two people practice speaking each other’s language. It’s been popularized in recent years by the site iTalki. For example, consider a Spanish speaker learning English and an English speaker learning Spanish who meet up. In a common setup, the first half of…

Ojiya Balloon Festival
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Day in the Life of a Language Learner

Here’s how I’m studying right now. So far it’s been extremely effective for my specific goals. I’m studying for a reading proficiency test and ultimately a translation test, so I’m tailoring my efforts toward passing my exams. I’m trying to improve my listening, as well, because I think that good listening skills lend well to…

US Soldier Studying Arabic
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Learn a New Language, Grow Your Brain

A Swedish study recently discovered something interesting: Learning a new language makes your brain grow larger. Researchers used MRI scans to measure the brains of students at the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy before and after an intensive 13-month training program. The students started out with no knowledge of their target language–Arabic, Russian, or Dari–and…