I was on the phone with my friend today. We were talking about German and he asked me "Carm, when are we going to have a full conversation in German"? I professed that I had not been studying much over the summer. We started talking about new study methods, and he gave a great suggestion I tried out today.
Find a podcast, music video, movie, or show in the language you are trying to learn, something you haven't seen before. Start writing out what you're hearing (in the language you are hearing it in), then write a summery of what you have heard. He said that this was an important skill because your incorporating passive and active listening skills.
When I do try to speak German to someone I often get flustered. It becomes hard for me to express my wants, feelings, thoughts and opinions clearly and effectively. When practicing, I'm usually talking to people online, and that gives me time to go back, make corrections and even spell check what I am about to say. I may be communicating, but I'm not doing as much thinking as I probably should.
The method he suggested worked well for me. I listened to one of the news stations that is streamed on Itunes. Incidentally the report was on the American government, but I still wrote everything out in German on a scrap piece of paper. I am going to stick to this for a few days and see what comes of it.
Do you have any study methods that have particularly worked for you?