Czechs often make their New Year´s resolution – a promise they will do what they need, have to, want but they hadn´t had enough time, had been lazy… The resolution often concerns their study of languages: I am going to start learning, to learn more… And what about you? Would you like to learn Czech effectively? Great! Here are three tips how to start.

1. What is important to you?

The Czech word předsevzetí (resolution) is very old and meant „lift something up for myself“. Something interesting, something I need, something lying down very close – and I make it important to me.

If you plan to start study Czech or to study more this is your first question: WHY do I want to do this? Why is learning Czech important to me? Find a very good and very specific reason. Here are a few tips from my students for inspiration:

  • I want to order a meal in the restaurant in Czech in two months.
  • I want to go to the post office in May, to speak Czech and send a birthday present to my parents.
  • I want to visit a shop, speak Czech and buy a new coat in a month.
  • I want to travel to the Czech Republic in summer and know basic phrases in the shop, restaurant, at the airport, to ask how to get to…
  • I want to pass an exam for permanent stay in autumn.
  • I want to pass an entrance exam for a Czech university in June and to study in Czech.
  • I want to pass an exam and to get Czech citizenship in a year.

Can you see how the good GOAL looks like? It is specific, realistic and has a time limit. Take a piece of paper/phone/tablet… and set your own goal. I am sure you manage it without difficulty.

2. When am I going to get to study?

You have set a goal and now think how to achieve it. When specifically are you gonna to do it? Be realistic.

  • WHEN? Have a look to your diary and choose a particular short time for studying Czech REGURARLY. It can be 10 minutes a day or 30 minutes twice a week by your own or a 90minute lesson with a teacher + 15 minutes twice a week. Choose a part of a day as well: somebody is effective in learning in the morning, other people in the evening, I also have students learning at noon during their lunch break. It is good to have time just for yourself and Czech.

3. How am I going to get to study?

You have set a goal and you have known when to learn. And what specifically are you gonna to do?

  • HOW? Will you learn new words in Quizlet, write three grammar exercises, listen to the audio, read one page in a Czech book, watch 5minute video and do a few exercises to check your comprehension…?
    Choose activities and topics you like. It can be cooking, travelling, films, sport, cars… Look for information, read, listen, learn new words. If you have a teacher tell him/her what your goal is, what you want to do and ask him/her for a help.

On Sunday (Friday, Saturday… it is up to your convenience) write down these specific tasks and learning time for the next week to your diary. Set the reminder not to forget.

And most of all: HOLD ON! There will be days you won´t be ready for your study, tired, lazy… But you won´t give it up. You will keep on learning and in a month you´ll be very surprised with your new knowledge. And this becomes your new motivation! I keep my fingers crossed for you.

You can also read an article 10 tips for your effective study. And Lucie Gramelová wrote an excellent and very practical book Jak vyzrát na cizí jazyky (How to outsmart foreign languages – available in Czech).

So now: a piece of paper, pencil and first of all your answer: WHY…

1st January 2018

Czech version of this article

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