Some days feel like this. The top of the mountain is fluency and you feel very far from it. It’s normal and everyone experiences it. Everyone learning a new language started from zero. At some point, everyone has a low level; it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
But this is how true success works:
If you really want to have a good level of English there are some concrete things you can do. (Besides having a good teacher!)
- MAKE IT A ROUTINE-This is soooooo important! I always recommend this to my students. You should spend 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening as the MINIMUM doing something-anything in English. What can you do in five minutes?
- Read one of my blog posts every day
- Watch one of my 4 minute videos (coming soon!)
- Listen to NPR News Now, a 5 minute hourly news update podcast.
- Buy a book or magazine and read for 5 minutes (sometimes you find yourself reading longer! :))
- Do 5 minutes of Duolingo or another language app.
- Use Quizlet to practice with flashcards and games on your phone or other mobile device.
- Read Speak Up, a magazine that is designed for English Language Learners and has articles based on your level.
- Make it easy.– like I said above, keep it short. There’s no reason to overwhelm yourself. Be patient with yourself.
- Think in the long term. If you study 5 minutes in the morning and 5 in the evening that’s 10 minutes a day and 70 minutes a week! And 300 minutes a month. DON’T THINK THAT LEARNING FOR 5 MINUTES IS LESS IMPORTANT. It all adds up! When you feel your motivation slipping, think about how great you will feel once you reach your goal.
- Go to language exchanges. These are events where people native in one language want to practice another. You speak a little, they speak a little and you both learn! Search for a language exchange in your city!
- Reward yourself– My favorite magazine is Quo. When I finish the magazine, I get to buy the next month’s edition.
- Join a dance/painting/running/skating class that’s taught in English.
- Find a “language buddy”. I have a language buddy. It started because I posted an ad on some website looking for someone who was also taking an exam and wanted to practice together. He had b2 level, I had c1. It worked perfectly and about a year later, we still meet twice a week. We are both committed to our goals of having a C2 level.
- Journal in English. Everyday, write 3-5 sentences about what happened during the day. Having English on your mind before you go to sleep just might help you remember the words better! And as an added benefit, you can look back and see your progress!
- Listen to music in English. The lyrics don’t always make sense, but at least you are singing in English.
- I saved the most important one for last. Don’t give up and be patient with yourself. Sometimes it’s easy, words flow out of your mouth effortlessly and other times you hit a brick wall…it’s normal. Take a break and start again the next day!
You can do it!