The 3Plus1-Formula is my system for learning a foreign language fast and learning what really matters. It consists of 3 key ingredients and 1 additional ingredient, which can make all the difference.
Want to know more? I'm regularly hosting in-depth German classes about this method! Click the button below to register for the next one :)
I have been trying and reading about countless different methods of language learning, absorbed hundreds of ideas of "how to become finally fluent" and have talked to countless people of how they learned their target language.
The reality is this: There are hundreds of different methods out there: The mimic method, chunking, Michel Thomas' method, TPRS, just speak the language, learn a language with music, learn a language in the shower, learn a language on the toilet (ok, not sure if this exists yet, but I am sure that it will be invented soon). And the list goes on and on….
At some point I got so frustrated "digging" through all these methods and finding out "What's the best method?" and "What method would be best for my students?" that I decided to sit down and ask myself one simple question:
I currently speak 4 languages: German (my mother tongue), English, Spanish, and French.
I learned all of these languages before knowing of any language learning methods. But it still worked.... so the question is: HOW?
The answer is very simple and is the foundation for the 3Plus1 Formula:
I learned English before living in the US as an exchange student, I learned Spanish before going to Mexico and I learned French before going to France. I had a clear goal. I wanted to learn these languages. I was motivated. Basically: I had the right mindset. Also, luckily, I was blessed with fantastic teachers for Spanish and French (English not so much). They made it so much easier for me to fall in love with the languages and to actually have fun learning.
The right mindset means: Having a goal, being motivated, but also: Be patient with yourself! Although I learned these 3 languages in school, I still made a lot of mistakes in the beginning and was very shy speaking (especially English)... Learning a language takes time, so the right system to stick to it can help immensely. That's why we usually host challenges to "trick" people into actually accomplishing their German goals!
What do I mean by this? Relevant are things you can actually apply. So I looked for relevant content. Not just any random content, but real-life dialogues. For each of the 3 languages, I bought a book with real-life dialogues and audio (back then we still had CDs). I sat down, went through the dialogues, kept pausing the audio and repeated after them.
The key is here: RELEVANT content. In many textbooks they teach you the names of furniture before they teach you how to order food in a restaurant. Why?? Ordering food in a restaurant, asking for directions, asking about the price,... these dialogues are so much more relevant than what you often learn in German textbooks.
The content was in dialogue-form, just like in real-life. The good thing about that is that you can observe the exact word combinations (we call them chunks) that native speakers use in the dialogues. And once you've observed these chunks, you can just memorize and copy them... and start using them yourself! That way, you won't have to think about grammar rules so much, and you won't be translating in your head anymore. AND you'll speak much more naturally... like a native.
This is exactly what we do in my Academy: we create relevant, real-life dialogues that mimic situations German students will come across in their own lives. :)
Repetition is another key Ingredient for your success. Do you know how many times kids hear the language before they actually start speaking?
Tony Robbins always says "Repetition is the mother of all skill" and I agree with him 100%. I would repeat those dialogues until they started to "grow out of my ears". Repetition doesn't have to mean that it is boring. No, repetition can happen in so many different and exciting ways. In my Academy, daily repetition is one of the main things we focus on to make our students learn German quickly. I talk more about this in my free workshop.
At the end of my learning I had a reality check. What does this mean? A reality check is something where you put into practice what you learned and whatever you wanted to accomplish. If your goal is to speak German, then the reality check is to speak to native Germans. What did that mean for me? I went to the country of each of my target languages. That was my reality check and it really was tough at times, but so worth it.
Does this mean you have to go to Germany? No, it does not. But you do need some kind of reality check at the end of your learning. Why? Because they keep us motivated, give us feedback and make us improve. And ultimately, they make our goal become reality.
We've been using the 3Plus1-Formula with thousands of students in my German courses in the 3Plus1 German Academy.
I regularly host free online classes where I show you in detail how you can use the method to learn German and give away some free learning materials!
If you'd like to attend one of these classes, click the button below to see the schedule and register: