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DavyJonesLocker

What's your method for dealing with "burnout"?

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DavyJonesLocker

My friend is currently dealing with the inevitable Chinese study burnout and just about quit.  I tried telling him that he is not alone in that! 

 

In these situations I usually completely ditch it for week(s) but then the inevitable uphill climb when I restart back is draining.

 

Also in my view the biggest offending components towards burnout is using SRS consistently and expecting constant improvement. 

 

I am never sure whether to "turn the tap off" or just reduce it to a trickle for a while is the best method to deal with the negative psychological aspect that can occur at times. 

 

Thoughts?

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ChTTay
10 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Chinese study burnout

How long have they been studying?

 

After 4 years on and off using Chinese textbooks I don’t think I can ever go back to having traditional textbook based lessons. Just can’t take anymore of the old pattern “look at the new words, make sentences, read the text, answer the questions”. Repeat. 

 

If your friend feels similar maybe they can just switch methods. Try using a TV show to study for example. Take going to a place and using Chinese as “study”. Etc

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PerpetualChange
3 hours ago, ChTTay said:

After 4 years on and off using Chinese textbooks I don’t think I can ever go back to having traditional textbook based lessons. Just can’t take anymore of the old pattern “look at the new words, make sentences, read the text, answer the questions”. Repeat. 

 

If your friend feels similar maybe they can just switch methods. Try using a TV show to study for example. Take going to a place and using Chinese as “study”. Etc

I agree with this, after 3-4 years of textbooks, there's not much books can teach you anymore. Time to graduate to full-time reading novels, talking with people on skype, watching movies, etc. A textbook can be helpful if you lapse and need to get back on track, but ultimately you should be engaging with media and native speakers now at this point. 

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DavyJonesLocker
20 hours ago, ChTTay said:

How long have they been studying?

 

After 4 years on and off using Chinese textbooks I don’t think I can ever go back to having traditional textbook based lessons. Just can’t take anymore of the old pattern “look at the new words, make sentences, read the text, answer the questions”. Repeat. 

 

 

part time 6 or 7 years here in Beijing, I think and two years before that full time. His level has dropped a lot due to work and time constraints (HSK5 he thinks)  In my view he is too much text book focused and is falling into this vicious cycle or "I can't remember the words  so I'll spend more time on SRS / reviewing textbooks hence no time for non textbook activities" I have been there and failed miserable like that so suggested he change approach temporarily. 

 

16 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

I agree with this, after 3-4 years of textbooks, there's not much books can teach you anymore. Time to graduate to full-time reading novels, talking with people on skype, watching movies, etc. A textbook can be helpful if you lapse and need to get back on track, but ultimately you should be engaging with media and native speakers now at this point

 

 

after about 5 years here in Beijing I have a low tolerance for text books too but there is still a lot of valuable information. I found going through Standard Course HSK5 textbooks tough going and really needed a teacher. However, with the HSK6 text books, there was little I didn't understand (as grammar just become minor language points ) but I found frustrating to read a chapter, forget all the words despite being in an SRS system , reread, repeat, so packed it in after the first book. May come back to it some time. For now I read novels only, i don't think it's the ideal approach (as the unknown word count can be a very high compared to HSK 6 say) in terms of learning but its stops me packing it in completely!

 

 

On 9/6/2019 at 11:59 AM, imron said:

If SRS is a drain.  Stop it, delete your decks, and then start again when you've had a break.

 

 

Although I don't agree with deleting the decks, i agree with shelving it for sake of sanity. The reason why i say not to delete decks is that you don't want HSK1 words popping up as "new" ones and also in my case I have a fairly complex spreadsheet  which has been years in the development.  

 

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imron
1 hour ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

The reason why i say not to delete decks is that you don't want HSK1 words popping up as "new" ones

It doesn't matter whether a word is HSK1 or HSK6.  When you come across a word, either you know it or you don't.  If you know it you don't need to add it.  If you don't know it, then even if you learnt it before but have forgotten, and even if it is an "easy" word, you should study it to make sure that you don't forget it next time.

 

The criteria for learning a word should be based on the reality of whether you know it or not, rather than linked to some arbitrary list that may or may not be above or below your perceived Chinese ability.

 

Also, if you're forgetting HSK1 words, deleting the deck actually surfaces that problem so you can fix it, whereas keeping the deck around lets you believe you know words that actually you don't, but they're hidden behind the algorithm.  It's a false sense of achievement.

 

1 hour ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

shelving it for sake of sanity.

Deleting decks is what lets you regain your sanity, because there is no weight hanging over you of days/weeks/months of unfinished reviews that you need to catch up.  It takes the view that it's ok to forget some things because the useful/relevant things will come up again soon enough, and if they don't, then by definition they are not useful/relevant to you.

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重大雷雨

I think your approach is spot on.  It is easier to burn out if study is boring and repetitive.   Go grab a few beers, find some pretty girls and only speak in Chinese.

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889

Sort of meaningless without knowing the motivation. If it's just learning Chinese because I'm in Beijing and everyone says I should learn Chinese, then "burnout" may just be coming to grips with the realities that I have other interests and better things to do with my time, even in Beijing.

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PerpetualChange

Maybe this is wrong, but I've stopped with decks totally. Instead I just spend an hour or so per day reading. I highlight words I don't know. If I don't know a word, I look it up, I practice writing it in a few sentences. Sometimes I go back to stuff I've read and generally I've forgotten some things that I had learned before. Then, I do the same thing, write a few more sentence and move on. The thing is, if you spend 20-30 minutes per day on your SRS, you are spending that time learning words out of context. Even if you review 100 words in that 30 minute span, you are still not reviewing them in an authentic setting. By choosing instead to simply engage with written materials at your level, you are reinforcing your reading comprehension in general, instead of just hyper-focusing on some problem words that may or may not be all that useful. Spending 30 minutes reading something at your level and your eyes would cross hundreds if not thousands of characters in that time, reinforcing your understanding of them, and you would still come away with a vocabulary list of things that were not quite clear to you. 

 

As with most things, the thing you practice doing is the exact thing that you will get better at. Practicing reading isolated words on SRS help you get better at doing exactly that. Practicing reading gets you better at an actual application of the language. Granted at a lower stage you really do just need to roll up your sleeves and start memorizing since there aren't really any written materials outside your text book that you can engage with until you know a few hundred characters. 

 

Full disclosure: I spent tens if not hundreds of hours cramming hundreds of handmade flashcards my first year of Chinese class. I didn't start to make real headway until I realized that the actual dialogues and example sentences in my Chinese Textbook were by far the best resources at my disposal, and I had for more to gain just by reading my textbook inside and out.

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Jan Finster

Do things you enjoy.

 

I do not enjoy textbooks, but I love movies. So, I started watching Chinese TV shows on Netflix and Viki. Massive input and fun. 

 

 

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PerpetualChange
7 minutes ago, Jan Finster said:

I do not enjoy textbooks, but I love movies. So, I started watching Chinese TV shows on Netflix and Viki. Massive input and fun. 

 

I love this as well. How do you balance watching TV and just "letting it go" when you don't totally understand with pausing to make sure you really understood what you just heard?

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Jan Finster
2 minutes ago, PerpetualChange said:

I love this as well. How do you balance watching TV and just "letting it go" when you don't totally understand with pausing to make sure you really understood what you just heard?

 

I replay scenes over and over. Plus, I actually import the Chinese subtitles and audio into Lingq. Thereby I can read sentences I did not understand again and again and/or listen to the actual audio. 

When I am tired or cannot be bothered to "study", I just "let it go" and watch the TV show with Chinese audio and English subtitles.  

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