Language Learning….Having The ‘L’ Factor…
The ability to learn a language, is driven by a number of factors;
1. The personal motivation you have – why do I want to learn this language, how much do I want to learn it
2. The needs and reasons for learning it – are you moving abroad for work, are you going backpacking, do you need to learn it because you have been told to by your boss?
3. The interest you have in the language and its cultural / geographical context (No point learning Arabic if you are going to live and work in Japan)
4. The encouragement (or otherwise) you receive from others – do you have friends who speak the language and are keen to practice also. Or do children refuse to practice French with you because…’Dad, it’s embarrassing…’?
5. The environment in which you learn (to learn Spanish in Andalusia, to live and study /work immersed in the culture and landscape of the language is better than an hour a week in an office in Birmingham)
5. The time and opportunities to practice (interacting face to face or via Skype, reading or listening or watching information in the language, the presence or absence of stress / pressure from work or family commitments.)
6. The teaching methods used, or your own approach to learning (Do you write long lists of words with translations or do you select a handful of words and expressions and try to actively incorporate them in a conversation / email exchange etc?….ie actively engaging with the language as opposed to passive learning and not using it.
7. External Factors: Can you find 2 hours to sit and study, free of distractions, the television in the corner, your children playing, fighting, shouting, the dog insisting on that walk, the emails stacked up unanswered, the project deadline looming? Our brains are amazing things, but in order to be most effective at any task, they need a clear, uncluttered, focused approach. Too many distractions and things going on, will limit any effective learning. You need to create the time and space and provide you mid with the freedom to learn.
8. Confidence to use the language, and enjoying making mistakes – We all make mistakes. I do. Every day. Even as native English speaker of 50 years and an English language teacher of over 20 years. So don;t expect perfection. Nor worry about making mistakes. Mistakes are the lifeblood of learning. I once asked for a cup of tea in Indonesia, without sugar;
“Satu gelas teh, tanpa gila” There was a look of disbelief, followed by a broad smile and a laugh. I repeated my request. More laughter
“Oh mister, satu gelas teh, tanpa gula?”
You see I had asked for “A glass of tea, without crazy.” Gila is ‘crazy’, Gula means sugar. Easy mistake, a funny mistake and one I immediately remembered the next time. The mistake and my confidence to make the mistake led to my learning. If I had just read the word ‘gula’ in a dictionary, it would not have had the impact, the positive impact, the mistake had.
So be confident. Try the language out. Make your mistakes and the learning will come.
Don’t forget, if you are looking to improve your English, for any reason, from work, to university studies, to travel, my online English classes are right for you. I will work with you to tailor the right course for YOUR needs.
Get in touch and let me help you learn English more quickly and effectively.
And by the way, when you are practicing your newly learnt English, mistakes are positive things. Make them!