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"Optimized" learning for females

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Serpent
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 Message 1 of 46
07 December 2011 at 5:52pm | IP Logged 
Are any of the female members here familiar with projects/books like "The Optimized Woman" and "Hormonology"?

The main idea is that your hormones change during your monthly cycle, making certain tasks easier and others more difficult. Especially for independent learners, that's a very powerful tool.

Further reading:
http://www.optimizedwoman.com/ (see links in the middle of the page)
http://www.optimizedwoman.com/documents/Womens-wisdom-sample .pdf perhaps this free sample is the best place to start - if you're a woman you'll recognize the description. please note that i'm not saying it's necessary to do the e-course, or anything else they offer. The main information you need is there for free:)
http://books.google.com/books?id=kTR_n5DbxgYC&pg=PA59&source =gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
http://www.redmoonthebook.co.uk/miranda-gray-red-moon-articl es.html
http://myhormonesmademedoit.com/ (includes info on the male hormone cycle, which is daily rather than monthly)

Does anyone else apply this to language learning? How exactly?

I've figured out many things where this works, but so far only a few that related to language learning. For example, I'm more passive in my, erm, expressive and reflective phases - and I read a lot more during them. I finally learned not to feel guilty when I end up reading nothing the whole day in the active phase - the activeness makes up for it! :D

A specific example is how I deal with the so called individual reading we have to do for uni. We're supposed to read a 300+ page book, write out 300 expressions, translate several excerpts and then at the end of a class there's some time set for showing our lists of expressions (50-60 at a time), being briefly tested on them, showing your translations and speaking about the story. It's definitely fun but I imagine I'd struggle a lot if I hadn't applied the optimization principles to it.

So, in my active phase (starting with day 7 or so), I seemingly think in a more man-like way... I'm a "hunter" and I hunt for words! It's so easy to look at a page and just see the words I don't know, or don't know well. I'm reading The Hobbit this term, and I've found PDFs in Italian and Spanish, in addition to physical books in English and Finnish that I have. Because it's so easy, I also make it more interesting for myself by looking up the equivalents in the translations - the result is an excel spreadsheet in English, Finnish, Italian and Spanish.

Then the next phase starts and I'm more passive, accepting, I guess my boredom threshold is lower too. A positive side is that I'm no longer the perfectionist I was just a couple of days ago. If I need to hunt for some more words it is slow and inefficient, and I don't even dream of looking up every expression in various languages. So if possible I put this off till the next cycle and do the boring task of pasting each expression into an online dictionary and finding the Russian equivalents. I'm no longer a perfectionist so close enough is close enough - I'm not creating a glossary of the book, after all, I'm just making a list to show to the prof.

At the end of this phase and in the next one, I do the translation part. I haven't yet learned how to translate quickly (I don't think I'll ever work as a translator) but at least I do it when I enjoy it most and when it's the quickest I can do it, even if a couple of pages will take me a few hours, at least for a special book that I want to translate well. I also find myself thinking of equivalents while doing other things, and I have these wonderful epiphany moments sometimes.
I suppose if you don't have any translation tasks this could be a great time for doing some creative writing in your target language.

Oh and the expressive phase (I don't want to use certain terms here but it's around day 14, ladies;)) is when we're more outgoing. Even I am. If possible, this is a great time for hanging out with native speakers of your L2 or talking via skype. When you don't feel like it, you can do some reading or listening-reading. And if possible, this is the time to plan an immersion trip abroad.
Also perhaps this might be the best time for "detailed" reading, when you look up (almost) every unknown word in a dictionary? Haven't tried yet.

I've also divided my to-do list into tabs for each phase, so that for each task, I try to think what would be the best time for it.

Sorry I've been starting so many threads recently :P Even my hormone horoscope says I'm bossing around! Hopefully other female members here find it as useful as I did:)
Next year I'm hoping to do weekly updates in my language learning log, including how I optimize my learning:)

Edited by Serpent on 08 December 2011 at 3:03am

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Hampie
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 Message 2 of 46
07 December 2011 at 6:18pm | IP Logged 
Is this an established fact or pseudo-science and «contemporary medicine» mumbo-jumbo? I’ve never heard that
females would learn better during certain periods other than that they possibly would have a hard time learning
anything if they suffer from severe menstrual pains. The hormonal levels in males also varies, we just don’t bleed
or ovulate.
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Serpent
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 Message 3 of 46
07 December 2011 at 6:35pm | IP Logged 
Hampie wrote:
Is this an established fact or pseudo-science and «contemporary medicine» mumbo-jumbo? I’ve never heard that
females would learn better during certain periods other than that they possibly would have a hard time learning
anything if they suffer from severe menstrual pains. The hormonal levels in males also varies, we just don’t bleed
or ovulate.
As I mentioned, men's hormone levels change within 24h, rather than within a month. Testosterone is at its highest in the morning, which is why almost the whole world works in the morning.

It's something many, many females experience. That's basically the point - that PMS and the period are just two phases of the cycle, the most noticeable ones and sometimes quite difficult to handle. However, ALL phases have their good and bad sides.
The annoying PMS phase is also very, very creative. Miranda Gray, the author of most of what I posted, says she never expected to be able to write a book before she noticed that in this phase, writing is easy for her. Rather than seeing it as a limit, she saw it as an opportunity.

It changed her life. It changed mine. For me that's more than enough, but the hormonology site explains it from a more scientific point of view.
The thing is that it's ideal to keep a record of your phases for a couple of cycles, because the specific things vary between women. These articles are just a starting point, they just give some ideas.

Of course you haven't heard of it, many women also haven't, which is why I made this post in the first place.

http://www.optimizedwoman.com/the-optimized-woman-coaches.ht ml here's a quick article for men.

Edited by Serpent on 07 December 2011 at 6:39pm

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egill
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 Message 4 of 46
07 December 2011 at 11:57pm | IP Logged 
This seems quite interesting. Do you know if the author points to any research that has
been done about this?

Reading the website I can't help but feel it's, to put it bluntly, a bit woo-ey. That is
to say, short on evidence, long on platitudes and quick to promise the world for the low
price of £120.
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Bao
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 Message 5 of 46
08 December 2011 at 12:28am | IP Logged 
... from what I could read it sounded rather insubstantial to me. If it works for you, fine. I doubt it'll work for me as I never seem to manage to conform myself to one-size-fit-all approaches. And usually they have a big disclaimer telling you if it doesn't work for you it's your own fault.
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Serpent
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serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 6 of 46
08 December 2011 at 2:51am | IP Logged 
egill wrote:
This seems quite interesting. Do you know if the author points to any research that has
been done about this?

Reading the website I can't help but feel it's, to put it bluntly, a bit woo-ey. That is
to say, short on evidence, long on platitudes and quick to promise the world for the low
price of £120.
you can read a lot of it all for free, in the articles and googlebooks. there are also two books which cost 10-12 £ each. it's an e-course with personal coaching that costs that much, and for many this is probably unnecessary. though i would do it if it cost less. however, you can simply keep track on your own and discover in what way your cycle is unique :)

as for the research, i know she used surveys - asking women to keep track of how they feel (energy, creativity, attention span etc etc etc). the hormonology site explains it more scientifically, describing how the hormones affect us.
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Serpent
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serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 7 of 46
08 December 2011 at 2:58am | IP Logged 
Bao wrote:
... from what I could read it sounded rather insubstantial to me. If it works for you, fine. I doubt it'll work for me as I never seem to manage to conform myself to one-size-fit-all approaches. And usually they have a big disclaimer telling you if it doesn't work for you it's your own fault.
aw, but it's exactly NOT a one size fits all approach! :D i can't stress how much i recommend just simply keeping track of your cycle and recording your mood, experiences, what works well for you and what doesn't. the articles will just tell you what to expect.

perhaps a specific example will make it clearer how it works? :)

Edited by Serpent on 08 December 2011 at 3:00am

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meramarina
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 Message 8 of 46
08 December 2011 at 3:19am | IP Logged 
It's a good idea for any of us to pay close attention to biological changes and rhythms - we're all earthly organisms, after all. Certainly, we can learn and function better in some physical conditions than in others. But these are very individual experiences, and can be extremely unpredictable, and may or may not conform to an expert's (or non-expert's) description. Nevertheless, if you can effectively learn to work with the alterations happening in your physical self, that can only be an advantage. We all have to do that in some form, anyway; whatever our gender, we all age and change. Damn it.

But, let it be known: It is all true about the Rocky Hormone Horror Show.
* that's only a joke - individual experience may vary!

Edited by meramarina on 08 December 2011 at 5:29pm



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