How to take the most out of online classes

How to take the most out of online classes
13 May 2020

As most of the students at Liden & Denz come from a professional background, going back to school, doing homework and learning vocabulary is often a big change, but executed because of the high motivation to learn Russian. The current situation is forcing us to switch to online classes, and the group energy we could find in the classes diffuses less easily through the camera. So here are some tips and tricks to keep up with the focus and motivation.

  • Trick your head

During our entire life, the home has always had a literal and a figural meaning: it is the place we go after work, where we rest and where we enjoy our free time. Therefore, as we switched to online classes, a contradiction built itself in the mind: why do I need to learn this intensively when I actually am in the place I usually rest? Subconsciously, this will lead to us being less focused and less prone to learning, even if we have the same motivation and motivators, notably our teachers who also put a lot of effort in this new situation.

In order to avoid this effect as much as possible, there are some tricks easy to put in place. First of all, keep the routine you had when classes were still in school. This will help your mind to be ready and fit for the upcoming course. Therefore, I recommend you to wake up an hour before class, take the time to have a shower, breakfast, eventually some sport, and to stay in your pyjamas under no circumstances.  These recommendations come from experience: yes, I used to wake up exactly 5 minutes before the class and drank my first coffee while thinking about whether I should use the Russian genitive or dative. And from experience let me tell you it is not a good idea, neither for your knowledge nor for your mood.

  • Create your “study place”

This trick comes in the same spirit as the previous, which means tricking your head to make you feel as if you were in a work environment. Choose a calm place where few people will pass by, where you have a clear space and won’t be distracted. The important point here is that you do not use this place for leisure time: your mind knows where you focus and where you don’t. I used to be a great fan of doing everything in my bed, but I soon came to the conclusion this wasn’t a good idea: during classes/work I couldn’t focus because it’s the place I usually sleep in, and by night I couldn’t sleep because it’s the place I worked at. Easy to see it’s a loose-loose experience.

  • Take some leisure time

These quarantine times create a confusing routine mixed between absolute boredom and absolute pressure to use the free time as productively as possible. Many of us started the quarantine thinking they will finely be able to learn every vocabulary word our books withhold and know every grammar rule by heart. Long story short: it won’t happen. Keep the objectives you had before quarantine and execute them. Wanting to do too much will just take our motivation away, as “I will never be able to do all that” might turn into “I can’t speak Russian anyway”. Use your newly free time to learn Russian as much as you can, but let it stay a joy and don’t turn it into a burden. The joy we then feel when we get to know new things in Russian we couldn’t before will definitely be the biggest push of motivation we could have asked for.

  • Create a new routine

We are very lucky to have the online classes during quarantine: it helps us to have intellectual work, it gives us a Rendez-Vous we cannot avoid, it lets us see our class friends and by the way, we learn Russian. Take this fixed moment of class as a reference, and create a real new routine around it. Wake up at the same time every morning, eat lunch and dinner at the same time, and have a real list of things to do in between. This will help stay active throughout the day, and the more active you are, the more you will keep your motivation and focus during class. 

Posted by Kim Schierke

My name is Kim, I’m 21 years old and I just graduated from International Relations at the University of Geneva. I have always been fascinated by Russia, because of its language and its culture. During my studies, this interest has kept on growing and I even ended up writing my thesis about it. Learning the language, therefore, comes as an evidence.

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