Ask, ask ask!
You can probably relate: you talk to someone in the language you are learning, you understand the gist (or maybe not even) and you nod and smile.
Extremely understandable. However, it’s actually a very valuable missed opportunity to learn some language that is going to stick. Or positively put: you probably encounter many situations where you can learn some new language. Seize them!
We might use this mechanism because it’s uncomfortable to show that we did not quite understand everything. We also want to feel good (and maybe show) that we actually understood what was said. We also don’t want to bother the person we talk to with language learning issues. We don’t want to stop the flow of the conversation, or just wanted to understand the information instead of learning some language, and probably many more reasons.
And - we might just not be aware of the fact that we can actually learn so much from this opportunity.
Next time you catch yourself in this situation do the following:
Notice which word you did not understand. Or notice whether this was a sentence structure you would not have used that way. And then ask that person to repeat exactly how they said it or ask what a specific word means. Tell them not to say it in a different way, an easier way or with other words. You want to learn exactly how people actually use language.
And then give it some seconds before you move on, repeat it, take a breath and then continue. Try to notice when that word or structure comes up again and try to use it yourself.
For our customers: you are in the perfect situation with your local, where you have this opportunity often while you're learning German. Within one session of 60 minutes do this 3 times, maybe even note it down into your learning journal.
Ask, ask, ask! And start to become comfortable with this not so comfortable moment. It’s when you learn the most
Side note: it’s not that it’s much easier for kids to learn language than for you. They are just extremely curious and ask, ask, ask. They don’t care if they make mistakes or look stupid, and then they just repeat what they hear. You can actually do the same :)