Lesson Transcript


Chigusa: Welcome to a special Inner Circle Audio Lesson! I'm Chigusa and I'll be your host. My co-host today is the founder of InnovativeLanguage.com... Peter Galante!
Peter: Hi everyone! Peter here.
Chigusa: In this Inner Circle, we’re talking about…
Peter: The Power of Textbooks and Digital Detox for Language Learning
Chigusa: You’ll Learn...
Peter: ...One, Why Textbooks Are a Powerful Resource in the Digital Age
Chigusa: Two, How Peter Reached His Monthly Goal
Peter: ... And Three, How to Apply Digital Detox and Learn Off-screen
Chigusa: So you can master your target language and reach your goals!
Chigusa: Listeners, welcome back to the Inner Circle.
Peter: Last time, you learned all about testing and assessing your language skills...
Chigusa: ...so you can get an honest look at your language progress...
Peter: ...and push yourself to the next level.
Chigusa: And Peter, you also set a 13 minute goal last time?
Peter: 13 minutes of French conversation. And, I hit it. And, I’m a little surprised that I did.
Chigusa: Really? Why?
Peter: Well, I used something we NEVER talk about. And if we do.. We talk about the downsides of it.
Chigusa: Hmm. I wonder what it could be. Not tests. We did that last time.
Peter: Not tests. But, it’s another T-word. Textbooks.
Chigusa: So, you used a textbook to hit 13 minutes of conversation?
Peter: Not entirely, but it helped a lot. There’s a story to this, actually. So, let’s get into the first part.
Chigusa: Part 1, Why Textbooks Are a Powerful Resource in a Digital Age
Peter: So, to give you a bit of background - work gets really busy at the end of the year.
Chigusa: Even in October?
Peter: Well, we start ramping up in October. For me, thats means a lot of time spent in front of the computer. So, when I’m done with work and I get home...
Chigusa: You still have to work on French.
Peter: And Chigusa, usually... that means MORE screen time.
Chigusa: So, once you’re done staring at the screen at work, you stare at the screen at home...
Peter: Exactly, either my phone or my computer.
Chigusa: I feel the same way. Like, there’s no off switch. You’re always on.
Peter: Right? And all this screen-time, late at night, is bad for your sleep. I needed to stop. So, if you remember, one reason why I started studying French was...
Chigusa: Yes, because your son is learning it.
Peter: So a month ago, I came across his French textbook. Picked it up kind of out of curiosity. And it’s a very simple book. He’s in elementary school so it’s written for kids. Chigusa, I was hooked!
Chigusa: Hooked on a textbook. Hmm, that’s not something you hear often.
Peter: Not anymore. But it was so easy to read through.
Chigusa: It sounds like it was a nice change for you. Because you usually go with digital lessons.
Peter: Exactly. Now, digital and physical content BOTH have pros and cons... but I think there’s a lot of overlooked value with textbooks...
Chigusa: Like what?
Peter: So, here’s what makes textbooks so powerful. First, digital detox. It gives you a break from the screen and all that blue light.... Burning into your brain.
Chigusa: Right, and if you’re learning on a device, you’ll get pop ups, notifications.
Peter: And if you’re anything like me, Chigusa, attention span of a little bug, flying late at night. So.. That’s kind of the second point. Focus. It’s easier in this digital age to focus with a book...
Chigusa: ...unlike a phone or a computer. Can you imagine learning on YouTube?
Peter: If you’re on YouTube, forget it. 5 minutes later, I mean... cat videos.
Chigusa: Next up, if the book has a really good story to follow...
Peter: ...it makes it more fun to learn. And sometimes, you just don’t that in a textbook. You know this is something you don’t get with online articles...
Chigusa: ...or lessons on YouTube where you just learn some words.
Peter: Also, textbooks give you a linear path...
Chigusa: ...so a clear path. From page 1 to 100.
Peter: You know where to go. And that’s powerful.
Chigusa: Just read and follow along.
Peter: Next, the content has gone through academic rigor. It’s been checked by teachers.
Chigusa: So, you’re learning the correct forms, the correct language...
Peter: ..and you can rely on it to be accurate. Otherwise, if you google for a blog about french phrases... the quality is... you may or may not know.
Chigusa: It may be questionable? Can we say questionable?
Peter: Questionable is a very good word. I was looking for that word. Next, textbook lessons are curated and organized so that...
Chigusa: What you learn on page 1 helps you understand page 2 and so on. It builds you up...
Peter: ...and teaches you crucial language skills that beginners need to know.
Chigusa: Like, how to introduce yourself first.
Peter: Then, how to grow that conversation.
Chigusa: Now, Peter, what about the downsides of textbooks?
Peter: There are quite a few. The content gets old fast.
Chigusa: Yeah language always changes. There’s new slang.
Peter: The book that I was reading actually had “making phone calls from a phonebooth.” A public phone. Can’t remember the last time I saw a public phone. This is one of the problems. It’s very hard to update a book. So, that’s where digital lessons do very well.
Chigusa: Also, books can be very boring... and overwhelming.
Peter: Very, very true. And that’s where I kind of went back. The story in this book was not very exciting. Usually someone shopping in a grocery store. There wasn’t a lot of drama to this textbook. But, digital detox, focus, no distraction, easy-to-follow and accuracy - these are strong points.
Chigusa: These are what make textbooks powerful in a digital world.
Peter: And as an added bonus, you can write in them. I don’t know if you’re supposed to do that. It’s definitely easier to scan through to review old lessons.
Chigusa: Peter, it sounds like you spent all of October with a textbook.
Peter: I did buy one. And it definitely helped me in reaching my goal.
Chigusa: So, how’d you do it?
Peter: Let’s get to the second part.
Chigusa: Part Two, How Peter Reached His Monthly Goal
Peter: It was a joint effort, Chigusa. Digital and physical.
Chigusa; Okay, let’s hear it.
Peter: So, I still have my current routines. I do FrenchPod101 lessons. Send in recordings to my Premium PLUS teacher. And I do the assignments.
Chigusa: And then you have your lessons with your Skype teacher...
Peter: Exactly. And I also added an in-person tutor. Where I practice speaking and do my timed tests.
Chigusa: So, this is all digital.
Peter: Correct. But work is getting busier. And staring at screens after work hours is...tough. Terrible for my sleep. Which has an affect on the next day. So, I need the digital detox at night.
Chigusa: Hm, maybe I should stop checking my phone at night too. So you went and got a French textbook...
Peter: I looked through the textbook my son is using, and went and got one for myself.
Chigusa: A beginner level book?
Peter: That’s right. I have some experience, so I didn’t need to start from chapter 1.
Chigusa: Okay, what’s the goal of using the book if you already have FrenchPod101?
Peter: Probably the biggest one is.. it’s digital detox. After 10PM, I try to avoid screens, if possible. That’s a big if too. So, at night, I try to do 2 pages. Read through. Try to have a minimum page per night. Screens aside, the secondary goal is to focus and learn in a linear manner.
Chigusa: That makes sense. It’s a lot easier to get distracted if you’re on your phone or computer.
Peter: Exactly. We don’t talk about focus and distractions in the Inner Circle.
Chigusa: Yeah, we don’t.
Peter: But, focus and being able to pay attention is huge for learning. It’s a critical.
Chigusa: If you can’t focus...
Peter: ...then learning probably won’t come easy. So, the book keeps me focused.
Chigusa: Okay, then you’re using it to maintain your routine and to avoid screens.
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: But, here’s a question. If you already have an app or a learning program, and you’re adding another resource... Isn’t it too much?
Peter: Great question, Chigusa. FIrst, you’re right. Adding too much to your plate will make learning harder. So, if you’re a brand new learner, I don’t advise it.
Chigusa: Okay, when would you advise it?
Peter: When you need to scratch your own itch.
Chigusa: You’re tired of looking at screens all day...
Peter: ...but you still need to learn French. And... need another solution.
Chigusa: Ah, so that’s when.
Peter: And, when you’re able to change your routine without falling off.
Chigusa: That makes sense. Sometimes, changing a routine or adding more can throw you off. So, what did you do?
Peter: So, this past month, I did 40 pages. About a chapter. And it gave me some new grammar rules and new talking points that I could use.
Chigusa: Alongside with the FrenchPod101 lessons?
Peter: Exactly.
Chigusa: Did your textbook teach what you were already learning with FrenchPod101?
Peter: There was an overlap... and that was a good thing.
Chigusa: Is it good to re-learn the same thing? I feel learners would think it’s a waste.
Peter: It’s powerful because you get the same grammar point taught in a bit of a different way. With FrenchPod101, I’m listening or watching videos. With the book, I’m reading. And because the creators are different...
Chigusa: ...their teaching styles are different.
Peter: So, learning the same thing through different ways helps me understand it better.
Chigusa: I wonder if any of our listeners are using textbooks too.
Peter: Listeners, if you are, you should know that we will release our own textbooks.
Chigusa: Sometime next year?
Peter: Exactly. Early next year, for several of our languages: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, English, Spanish, Italian, German and French.
Chigusa: So stay tuned for 2019.
Peter: These textbooks will follow our “can do” learning model where in every lesson...
Chigusa: ...You’ll be able to do a certain task. For example, introduce yourself..
Peter: ...give your phone number or make an appointment.
Chigusa: Okay Peter, what can our listeners do here? What’s the take-home lesson?
Peter: Let’s jump into the 3rd part.
Chigusa: Part Three, How to Apply Digital Detox and Learn in New Ways
Peter: Now, that you’re in your 10th month of learning....
Chigusa: ...should you go for digital detox and get a textbook?
Peter: ...if you can handle a bit of change to your routine, then the answer is yes.
Chigusa: And if you’re worried about learning the same thing from two sources...
Peter: ...don’t worry. Because being able to learn something like a grammar rule... from multiple angles...
Chigusa: ...will only help you understand it better and reinforce your memory.
Peter: A book will give you a clear direction of where to go, what to learn...
Chigusa: ...and challenge your mind in ways that digital lessons cannot.
Peter: Exactly. For example, it’ll improve your ability to focus.
Chigusa: Now, another way you can learn offline, without a device, with us is...
Peter: ...by printing out our extensive reading books.
Chigusa: Extensive reading is a learning tactic where you read books that are appropriate for your level....
Peter: ...and the goal is quantity over quality. You should read a lot.
Chigusa: You should not stop at every single word.
Peter: So, It’s important to have books that are easy enough for you.
Chigusa: If you’re a Premium or Premium PLUS user, visit the lesson library.
Peter: Download our extensive reading books and print them out.
Chigusa: The next way is, download our PDF lesson notes and print them out.
Peter: The lesson notes give you the lesson in writing. The dialog, the vocab...
Chigusa: ...grammar explanations, sample sentences and cultural insights.
Peter: Find the Lesson Notes in every one of your Lessons. Download them...
Chigusa: And print them out.
Peter: Listeners, the ultimate goal here is to go for digital detox...
Chigusa: ... challenge your brain in a new way and try new resources.
Peter: And remember, we’ll be releasing our own textbooks in 2019. So keep an eye out for them.
Chigusa: Alright Peter. Let’s get back to your goals. You hit 13 minutes of conversation.
Peter: And just two months left in the year. Let’s aim for 17.
Chigusa: Sounds great! Deadline?
Peter: November 30th.
Chigusa: Listeners, how about you? Have you tried a digital detox?
Peter: And what’s your small, measurable monthly goal?
Chigusa: Let us know.
Peter: Email us at inner dot circle at innovative language dot com.
Chigusa: And stay tuned for the next Inner Circle.


Chigusa: Well, that’s going to do it for this special Inner Circle lesson!
Peter: Bye everyone!
Chigusa: Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.


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RussianPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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In this Inner Circle Lesson, you'll learn:

1. Why Textbooks Are a Powerful Resource in the Digital Age

2. How I Reached my Monthly Goal

3. How to Apply Digital Detox & Learn Off-screen

And listeners, let me know: What’s your small, measurable monthly goal? And what’s the deadline?

Send me an email at:


See you next month!

Peter Galante, Founder
Team RussianPod101

RussianPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 01:27 AM
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Hello Joshua,

Thank you for your comment 😄


Team RussianPod101.com

Wednesday at 01:29 PM
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This is very true'...... Kinda like "it takes a Village." Mirrored in the overall progress, of learning.... The balance is key'... I like the digital-detox observation.