Have you ever felt a little jealous of someone who can read a list of vocabulary words and immediately remember them all? What about those students who seem to master Arabic pronunciation without even trying?
The truth is, we have all felt like that at one point or another. The simple fact is that everyone learns in different ways, and if you feel like you haven’t been able to master a new language as fast as you want, it may just be because you haven’t come at it with your own personal learning style.
Just because someone can quickly memorize new vocabulary words from looking at a list doesn’t mean you have to emulate that particular learning style.
There might be a more effective alternative for you.
The question is: how do you determine your learning style, and how can you apply it to mastering Arabic?
The 4 Common Learning Styles
While the following are the most common learning styles, that doesn’t mean you have to fit neatly and completely into a single category.
Everyone is different, and even though you may lean heavily into one style, you might find that in some instances a different approach may help you really make the language yours.
In general, there are four basic learning categories:
- Visual learning – Seeing it for yourself is critical to understand it.
- Auditory learning – Hearing something said out loud can make a big difference.
- Reading/Writing learning – Writing the words out (usually by hand) and re-reading it helps your memory.
- Kinesthetic learning – Immersion is important to make a connection with what you want to learn.
How to Determine Your Learning Style
Don’t just sit back and assume that you fall into one learning style or another just because that’s what you’ve always done. You may have relied on writing copious notes by hand to learn things throughout school, but what if a different learning style could help take you to another level?
Ask yourself some questions and really analyze how you learn and how you like to learn.
- If you are watching a video presentation about Arabic, do you get more from reading the words on the screen, hearing the person speak the words, or making associations with the images on the screen?
- How do you remember full sentences? Would you mentally replace words in regularly used phrases? Would you write the phrase over and over? Would you prefer to examine the sentence as part of a complete conversation?
- Do you feel more confident repeating the words out loud on your own or interacting with someone who can give immediate feedback?
These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself to start zeroing in on your own personal learning style. If you’d like to go deeper, you might try some online questionnaires to get a better idea.
How to Use Your Learning Style to Master Arabic
So, let’s break it down and look at each individual learning style and the techniques within that category that can really help you start to learn Arabic your own way.
This is likely the most common learning style. If you are in this category, you probably learn by using pictures, images, and other visual media. Lists are very helpful for you, which means you might want to focus on the building your vocabulary and writing the Arabic alphabet instead of perfecting grammatical intricacies.
Some visual learners excel by focusing on the textbook approach and learning words and language structures right off the page. As long as they can see the words and sentences, they have an easier time remembering it all. Combine this with using colors and shapes to help you understand how the Arabic grammar functions, and you’ll start seeing a lot of improvements.
Movies and television shows are a great resource for auditory learners. However, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the images on screen, though, so podcasts might be an even better choice.
Of course, listening to native speakers use the language candidly and naturally may be even better than that.
For you, it’s not just about hearing the word spoken repeatedly, but hearing how it is used in regular sentences.
You may even try to record yourself so you can hear how you’re using each word and how your accent is improving. This will also help you detect places where you may need some extra work.
This is all about embracing words. If you learn this way, you likely take copious notes and find it helpful to return to them over and over again.
For some people, it’s enough to just read the vocabulary words over and over. Others will need to get out a pen and write the vocabulary lists again and again.
This is about more than memorizing vocabulary, though. Try writing out descriptions of the language concepts in your own words. Try writing full sentences instead of just the words without any context.
Learning for you is a “hands on” approach. While that could mean that you learn better when you have flash cards or other objects that you can physically touch, it goes a little beyond that.
Think of it more like “immersion learning.” You don’t want the subject matter to be a sterile, distant thing. You want to be right there, surrounded by it, and pulling it in from every direction.
Look for opportunities to surround yourself with the language. Whether that’s keeping a set of flashcards with you while you walk through the neighborhood or putting your skills to the test in a special foreign language program.
Stick With It
In the end, the most effective learning technique is to use the language as much as possible. Whether that means writing or reading a story in Arabic or memorizing 10 new words a day.
Consistency is your friend, and when you can stick to your lessons and apply your individual learning style, you’ll start to master Arabic in no time.