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Using Trello for Language Learning and Maintenance

I have implemented a lot of healthy habits since the beginning of the year, and here it is mid-April already! Time goes by so quickly, so if I'm not careful some things that are important to me get left on the back burner and never seem to get moved to my priority list.

Living in Canada where there are two official languages it is important to learn and maintain both languages (English and French) in work and in life in general. In my job, there are language profiles, and I need to work hard to maintain those levels.

This spring I am aiming to renew my levels (comprehension, written and oral) and I have created a Language Maintenance Trello board to help me achieve this goal.

I have collected various tips, tricks, and best practices over the years from colleagues in the public service as well as through internet research and courses I attended. Instead of having all of the information in my head and in binders and notepads I spent some time organizing everything on this Language Maintenance Trello board so that I have all of the resources top of mind and at my fingertips.

Language maintenance trello board.png

Here are a few tips that have helped me along the way:

Expose yourself to the language as much as possible throughout the week. Listen or watch the morning news, read books, articles, even Netlix has a setting where you can change both the audio and sub-titles to your language of choice.

If you don’t use it, you will lose it.This could not be more true, I live in a province where I could speak English all day - every day, so I don’t have a lot of opportunity to practice. Last week I did 10 fact finding/environmental scan interviews with colleagues across the country and I did four of them in French. The first call was challenging as I didn’t have all the departmental vocabulary on the tip of my tongue, but the second one was much easier, and the third and fourth were fantastic. Pushing myself to do this helped to build my confidence and as long as I was able to get my message across, my colleagues were understanding of any grammar mistakes I may have made as the conversation flowed.

Get a language buddy or join/start a lunch-time group to practice. This is great for peer-accountability and to cheer each other on, as well as celebrating each other's progress along the way.

Try and try again. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t obtain your language levels on your first, or second time. Go back stronger than ever and keep your eye on the prize. This happened to me last fall where I worked hard all summer, missed my written communication level by one point, felt disappointed and then got busy with other things and my language study fell by the wayside. All of a sudden months went by and I now have to work harder to get back to where I was in the summer, and keep pushing until I reach my goals. But this time after all the testing, I will l aim to maintain my levels between testing periods so I won’t have to study so hard, it will become natural the more and more I use my second language regularly. 

Hope you found this helpful if you are also considering learning a language or want to knock the rust of your second language and start using it more often.

11 comments

Devon_Henderson Community Leader Apr 19, 2019

What a great idea, @Jodi LeBlanc ! I think I'll set one of these up for learning Spanish again. 5 years in high school, and now 10 years later and I've forgotten most of it. It's so true that you lose what you don't use.

Our Spanish speaking population is only growing where I live. You've inspired me to brush up on mi Español - gracias ;) 

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Apr 22, 2019

Thank you so much @Devon_Henderson I am so happy to hear that you are going to create a Language Maintenance board as well. Wishing you all the best as you get back into using Spanish again :)

Thank you for sharing the challenges of being bilingual. 

 

Many times I tell myself I'd like to learn another language and find the acquisition process intimidating. I'd never giving any thought to the ongoing maintenance of any gained proficiency! 

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader May 01, 2019

Thanks @Kat Warner _TechTime_ I appreciate your comment. Yes learning a language is definitely a challenge, but maintaining is quite challenging as well. As we say "if we don't use it, we will lose it" :)

What a neat way to use Trello. As a linguist and developer I appreciate novel uses of current technologies.

Thanks for sharing.

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Sep 15, 2019

Thanks so much for your positive words @Ruben A Sanchez - this board has helped me tremendously!

Alison Atlassian Team Feb 07, 2020

J'aime cet article @Jodi LeBlanc .

Maintenant, je parle franglais. I hope to one day be bilingual and I think the best way for me to do that is to move to France.. I studied French for three years in high school and my partner is French but so far I could use more diligence to fully learn the language - this board is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Feb 08, 2020

Thanks @Alison - in Atlantic Canada we call it chiac and in Quebec they call it Franglais. I have a friend that speaks chiac like this "Parker le car dans la garage". et "Phone-moi back quand t'auras la chance". 

Yes moving to France would be a dream for me as well, I have a friend that just got a job offer and is moving there soon. For me, small tiny bite size actions have made the difference. For example, choosing to watch the news in the morning in French, listening to French radio via Radio Player app, French podcasts, french novels, replying to emails in French, practicing with colleagues, etc... It is such an effort as it is difficult to fully express ourselves on every topic in our second language. My colleague shared a quote on twitter the other day " Speaking French is like dancing, you have to abandon yourself to it. Perfection isn't the goal, Connecting is."

franglais.jpg

Alison Atlassian Team Feb 08, 2020

Haha, I can totally hear that chiac as something I might say. I really like that quote- sometimes I get caught up with perfect French pronunciation and switch to English. Instead, I'd rather try and speak French, even with an accent, and build the skill in conversation.

Where would you want to move in France @Jodi LeBlanc ?

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Jodi LeBlanc Community Leader Feb 08, 2020

Thanks @Alison - maybe Paris, Montpellier or Nice. Any region where I could be immersed in the language would work. There are places here in Canada that would also work, I love Quebec City. I may see if I can arrange an exchange sometime with a colleague that may want to enhance their English and we could do a swap for a few months :)

Like Alison likes this

Hello!

Could i have this nice template for language learning that you created?

Congrats for you inspiration.and many thx in advance!

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