Tag Archives: language journey

How to stay motivated when learning English (or any foreign language)

man looking at mountain

 

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:

how to reach your goals

If you really want to have a good level of English there are some concrete things you can do. (Besides having a good teacher!cat wearing glasses clip art)

  1. 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?
    1. Read one of my blog posts every dayScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 8.13.27 PM.png
    2. Watch one of my 4 minute videos (coming soon!)
    3. Listen to NPR News Now, a 5 minute hourly news update podcast.
    4. Buy a book or magazine and read for 5 minutes (sometimes you find yourself reading longer! :))
    5. Do 5 minutes of Duolingo or another language app.
    6. Use Quizlet to practice with flashcards and games on your phone or other mobile device.
    7. Read Speak Up, a magazine that is designed for English Language Learners and has articles based on your level.
  2. Make it easy.– like I said above, keep it short. There’s no reason to overwhelm yourself. Be patient with yourself.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. Reward yourself– My favorite magazine is Quo. When I finish the magazine, I get to buy the next month’s edition.
  6. Join a dance/painting/running/skating class that’s taught in English.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. Listen to music in English. The lyrics don’t always make sense, but at least you are singing in English. Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 7.04.47 AM
  10. 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!

today is a great day to learn something new!

 

 

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Two steps forward and one step back still puts you a step ahead!

I was speaking with a student of mine today and she felt frustrated and defeated. I told her, language is like a roller coaster, it doesn’t go in a nice straight line all the way to the top. We take two steps forward and one step back-but you are still going forward. You have to keep going. We all have bad days, we all have days where we are tired or stressed and we aren’t thinking as well as we could be. That’s ok!

Leave studying for the next day when you are fresh and are better able to learn!

You can do it! Never give up!

two steps forward and one step back-.jpg

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If you want to be fluent, you have to make it a priority….

A student of mine, who has b2 level, speaks well but there are gaps in her knowledge. I started working with her in April. She took August off, like all Spaniards. She just texted me and said she was too busy at work and couldn’t continue classes. I understand. I do. Seriously, I do. I understand letting some things go. Last year, I started taking skating lessons. I was also working, studying, going to language exchanges 2-3 nights a week and going to the gym with my personal trainer 4 days a week. Out of all of the things in my life, I let the least important go. Skating. I just recently had the urge to skate again…maybe because I’m training for  Madrid corre por Madrid, a 10K in the city.

My point in this blog post is…if your goal is to be fluent….YOU CAN’T GIVE UP! You can’t stop completely. The minute you stop English classes or studying on your own, your brain discards it.  Obviously, you can still speak but it’s no longer bouncing around in your mind. YOU HAVE LOST YOUR CURIOSITY ABOUT THE LANGUAGE. In English we have an expression “Out of sight, out of mind“. It means, if you don’t see it or if you aren’t exposed to it you forget it. I saw her one hour a week, which really isn’t that much. But it was something. It was enough to learn something. 

So, don’t quit. Cut back (reduce) if you have to. But don’t quit.  You will forget so much.  Once you realize how much you’ve forgotten, you will feel frustrated and embarrassed that you let yourself down. You had a goal and you gave up and lost a lot of the knowledge that you had gained. And it makes returning to classes that much harder. When you have a dream, you have to follow it! Don’t give up!

man on mountain

Be this guy!

 

man looking at mountain
Don’t be this guy!

So, tell me…what do YOU want to achieve this week??

If you are looking for an English teacher, here I am! If not, continue to follow my blog. I’ll do my best to help you! 🙂

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When learning a new language…

When learning a new language, you will make mistakes. Those who see them as a chance to learn, learn, those who see them as failures, don’t.

it's okay to make mistakes

 

I have found, in my own language journey, that if I look at my mistakes in a different way I learn more. I used to feel very upset if I couldn’t memorize the entire vocabulary list of the week…but now I know that language is more fluid and less strict. You learn, little by little, until one day, you look back…and see how far you have come!

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