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mlescano

You can't boil water by heating it a little bit each day

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Shelley

I agree with the idea in principal but with something as large as Chinese you can not hope to do it any other way but a bit a time. I do think that this idea can be applied to small sections at a time. When you get new characters in a lesson spend lots of time learning them.

I don't organise my SRS the way most people seem to, I use Pleco and it allows you to have as many categories as you like, so I make a new one for each new lesson and concentrate on these till I feel I have "learnt" them, I do revise old lessons but gradually they fall off of the list that need revising, there is always one or two characters that just don't stick so they go in category of their own - stragglers.

 

So maybe your analogy could be more along the lines of " To boil 10 gallons of water, boil a pint a day" this of course expects you to keep the water you have already boiled up to temperature so when you add your daily pint it remains boiling.

 

 

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anonymoose

I think you're right.

 

Another analogy would be a leaky bathtub. You have to be filling it with water at a rate faster than it is leaking to increase the total volume of water. I guess it doesn't really matter whether you have the tap on at a constant slow trickle, or turn it on full for short periods at a time. The bottom line is, though, that if average input does not exceed loss, the bathtub will never fill up.

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Shelley
15 hours ago, anonymoose said:

I think you're right.

Sorry, who's right?

 

I like your bathtub analogy @anonymoose

 

I think I worked out the answer to my question.

Edited by Shelley

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Wippen (inactive)

I get most results through short intense study periods where I will return to the same item again and again, but using different approaches so that I can get it into long term memory. With longer periods of intense study without coming back to the item again shortly after, I am not sure you will get it beyond short term memory.

 

What has helped me the most in retaining things is actually sleep. I need the deep sleep to process new material. An example about deep sleep and learning efficiency https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319657.php

 

 

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abcdefg

Interesting article. Deep (non-REM) sleep consolidates visual learning. Makes good sense physiologically. 

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Balthazar
8 hours ago, Tøsen said:

What has helped me the most in retaining thing is actually sleep. I need the deep sleep to process new material.

 

Sleep is crucial for so many things, and at the near terminal age of 29 I wish I'd been less neglecting in this area when I was younger.

 

Until fairly recently I only focused on number of hours of sleep, paying no attention at all to the circadian clock. But what a huge difference getting my sleep in the hours 10 pm - 6 am makes compared to 12 pm - 8 am. One of the things I really miss about living in Asia is the ability to fall asleep early enough, due to the lack of neighbors watching TV late into the night. (Or perhaps I've just been lucky those places I've stayed.)

 

As for the water-boiling analogy, I'm not so sure I agree. "Getting it right" four times, I guess it depends on the "it". If I want to practice pronounciation and find a Chinese article suitable for my level, would trying to master the pronounciation of the whole piece four times with no errors be a smart strategy? Id much rather go with a few sentences or paragraphs each day.

 

Of course I agree that doing a lot,  and intensively, is much  better than doing  little, sporadically. But if the options are between practiceing an hour a day or seven hours one day per week, I strongly believe the former is better.

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somethingfunny

For anyone interested in reading more about sleep, I recommend the following two books:

 

"Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker.  This goes into a lot of the science of sleep and discusses in depth the benefits on learning/memory gained by a good night's sleep.  (Likewise, the effect it will have on your memory if you don't get enough high quality sleep).  This book spends a lot of time discussing the outcomes of scientific research, so it has a pretty specific style, but I found the author tackled it pretty engagingly.

 

"Sleep" by Nick Littlehales.  This book is more about 'sleep technique'.  Unlike Walker, Littlehales is not a scientist but in fact a former mattress salesman.  This book basically runs through the most effective techniques for improving the quality of your sleep - some obvious, some not so obvious.  Littlehales spent a lot of time doing 'sleep consultancy' for major sports teams, and was a part of the practices they developed at Team Sky, for anyone who knows about that kind of thing.

 

Edit: If you have trouble sleeping, read these books and pay close attention to what they say.  I believe they have the ability to change your life.

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imron

As someone who is a strong advocate of regular daily practice being more important than irregular bursts of intense practice, I think the water boiling analogy fails.

 

The main reason being that you shouldn't just be doing 'a little bit', but rather 'a sustainable amount'.  You can still do absolutely follow this *and* "sit down and focus completely on getting it right. And it said not to stop the first time you get it right, but instead it said you should get it right 4 times in a row before moving along."

 

In fact I'm a big fan of both a sustainable amount every day, and drilling to improve technique.

 

On 2/19/2018 at 2:55 AM, mlescano said:

If you do this over several years, you'll spend way more time reviewing (or re-learning) than actually reaping the benefits.

I don't believe this, and I think you'll find that most people spend a number years before they have a solid grasp of 3,000 characters.  People might be able to intensively 'learn' a large number, but they won't have a strong grasp of them, or how to use them, unless they spend time using them over years.

 

I like the 'leaky bathtub' analogy much better.  You need to make sure there is more coming in each day than there is going out.

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abcdefg
21 hours ago, Balthazar said:

One of the things I really miss about living in Asia is the ability to fall asleep early enough, due to the lack of neighbors watching TV late into the night. (Or perhaps I've just been lucky those places I've stayed.)

 

 

My neighbors in Kunming stroll to the corner store in their pajamas after supper, between 7 and 8 p.m. 

 

1 hour ago, imron said:

I like the 'leaky bathtub' analogy much better.  You need to make sure there is more coming in each day than there is going out.

 

Unfortunately, my bathtub gets more leaky with each passing year. 

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hbuchtel

I mentioned the water-boiling analogy to a colleague, and he said something along the line of "doing it until there is a 'state change.'" 

 

The idea is appealing. Each time you sit down to study (or write, or exercise), stick at it until you feel a 'state change.' What exactly does that mean? Well, nothing really, but just like the "water boiling" image, it hints at a feeling that a certain point in the learning process has been reached -- when the knowledge has 'clicked,' or become transparent in some way...and stick at it until you feel that change happen.

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DavyJonesLocker
21 hours ago, imron said:

I don't believe this, and I think you'll find that most people spend a number years before they have a solid grasp of 3,000 characters.  People might be able to intensively 'learn' a large number, but they won't have a strong grasp of them, or how to use them, unless they spend time using them over years.

 

Agree, Chinese is no different that any other subject in that regard,  it just takes years before you simply "get it". I remember passing several professional exams (Microsoft, finance and others) but it was only years later I finally intuitively knew the subject. 

 

I personally believe you need both a passage of time + number of hours learning/exposure,  and not just the latter. 

 

20 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Unfortunately, my bathtub gets more leaky with each passing year. 

 

Must be very fancy down in Kunming with bathtubs, we only have showers in Beijing :D

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Shelley
43 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I remember passing several professional exams (Microsoft, finance and others) but it was only years later I finally intuitively knew the subject. 

 

It was very much like this when I passed my driving test, I felt all that had happened was I had passed a test that allowed me to learn to drive. The first time I drove my car on my own was bliss, I had driven my motorbike for 20 years and having someone sitting next to me telling me what to do was weird.

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imron
1 hour ago, hbuchtel said:

Each time you sit down to study (or write, or exercise), stick at it until you feel a 'state change.'

I think this hits the nail on the head.  You might only spend a short period of time each day, but you can still get several water boiling events that happened, and this is what leads you to make progress.

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Tomsima
8 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Must be very fancy down in Kunming with bathtubs, we only have showers in Beijing 

 

Check out you northerners with your fancy automatic water pourers, out here in the scenic hubei countryside each family member has a plastic bucket to 'shower' with! My analogy might be: wash slower and more carefully, and more water will stay in your sloshing bucket…

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somethingfunny
15 minutes ago, Tomsima said:

out here in the scenic hubei countryside each family member has a plastic bucket to 'shower' with!

Well la-di-da, here where I'm from we can't afford plastic so we dig a hole in the ground, wait for it to rain, and then jump in and wash ourselves.

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Wippen (inactive)
11 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I personally believe you need both a passage of time + number of hours learning/exposure,  and not just the latter

 Agree completely with this.

I just took pen to paper and calculated out my learning hours as being around 5000-5500 over 12 years, ca 1200 class hours.

Also looked at the money spent on lessons....shocked me.

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hbuchtel
5 hours ago, somethingfunny said:

Well la-di-da, here where I'm from we can't afford plastic so we dig a hole in the ground, wait for it to rain, and then jump in and wash ourselves.

Hole in the ground, you were lucky! I used to dream of having a hole in the ground! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue7wM0QC5LE

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somethingfunny

This guy gets it. 8)

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