The wheel of productive studies


If you want to learn Japanese, you simply need to get high volumes of consistent, level-appropriate exposure to the language over a long period of time. The NativShark system is designed so that this happens organically.

NativShark learning materials are organized in such a way that they are always level-appropriate, and features such as our study streaks and checks system make it easier to maintain consistent exposure to the language.

Imagine that you have a wheel.

Anything that we can call “studying" goes inside of this wheel.

Reading lessons; doing flashcards; practicing conjugations; listening to Shadow Loops; having conversations with friends, teachers, and co-workers — all of these go inside of the wheel.

The time you spend reading this article does not go inside of the wheel because we are not studying Japanese right now. We are being "active," but we're not being "productive."

All of the types of productive studying fit into three categories:

Learning — This is talking about any time we put new language into our brains. A phrase you hadn't heard before. A new grammar concept. The correct pronunciation of a word.

Review — This is talking about not forgetting language that we have already learned. There are active forms of review (such as flashcards), and then there are passive forms of review (like hearing words that you've already learned in a conversation, or recalling words as you read novels, newspapers, etc.).

Practice — This is talking about making sentences in Japanese. Talking to teachers and friends, struggling to find the right word, the right way to express yourself. Writing essays, articles, emails, journals. Any time we take the Japanese swirling around in our brains and try to put it out into the world, we are practicing.

Those 3 aspects of productive studying are in the wheel.

Every time you turn that wheel, you will get better at Japanese.

Days that you don't turn the wheel, you don't get better at Japanese.

It really is that simple.

Since this wheel is built into the NativShark system, you don't actually need to worry about what to put inside of it.

Let's say that you want to ride your bike across the continental United States. A Zen monk told you that if you rode your bike across the US, you would automatically become highly fluent in Japanese.

What's the catch?

Well, your bike has to be equipped with the study wheels discussed above.

So "pedaling" your bike would equate to (1) learning, (2) reviewing, (3) practicing, or all three of them.

Days you ride this bike are days that you get closer to completing your goals. If you go a day without riding the bike, then that's one more day that you won't be at your destination.

Smart studying means that you have a very nice bike. It has gears so that you can get over hills. You can go further by pedaling less. It's less likely to break down. You can ride it much further without getting nearly as worn out.

We give out these metaphorical bikes to all NativShark students.

Consistent studying is like riding this bike every day. Your muscles grow. It gets easier. The first day that you ride a bike, it might be really difficult to go eight miles. But if you rode the bike eight miles every day, then after a few months it would seem really easy. Because you get stronger. Learning a language is very similar.

Remember: You've just got to keep pedaling that bike. Turn those wheels 100,000 times if you have to.

Because those wheels will take you somewhere.

A simple way to ensure that you're turning the wheels of your bike every day is to form a habit via habbit tagging.