Learning a new language is difficult! It takes commitment and perseverance, but it can be made to be more enjoyable too, and the result can be so rewarding and open up a whole world of opportunity. These suggestions may just help you get there a bit more smoothly.
1. Learn like a child…
Some things get better as we get older. We no longer need to have a tantrum when it’s time to have a bath, going to bed doesn’t feel like the worst thing in the world and if we want a messy room we can have a messy room, OK!
But something that isn’t such a perk, is how much harder it is to learn something new.
The sponge that once absorbed new information without much of a second thought has become a little rocky around the edges. Where possible, re-creating that child-like wonder when learning English can really help your enjoyment and progress. Put yourself in new environments where things around you are fresh. Research shows that when we are doing something we haven’t done before; new neural pathways are triggered making our brain better at its job.
Take your Direct English Live! app with you to spend time on it straight after your new experience, or better still – participate in your new experience using only English! Yes, it may be scary as an adult, but I bet you wouldn’t have found it as scary when you were younger!
2. We have two ears and one mouth
Which, as the saying goes, means we ought to listen twice as much as we speak. While this is also good practice in conversation – the same goes for learning English. If we don’t listen when we’re learning a new language, we won’t be able to speak it.
So, listen as much as you can. Find authentic materials that you enjoy – English music, radio stations, a children’s’ TV series (with subtitles if it helps) – anything where you can listen to as much English as possible. You will be surprised how much you will start to absorb while combining this with your English learning.
3. “The biggest mistake you can make is to make none”
Making a mistake when you’re practising the way you learn English is inevitable so it’s best to accept it right now and understand that the trade-off for – at worst, a bit of embarrassment, is to get better faster at communicating in English. And the truth is most of the time you’ll still be understood.
You might not like to admit it, but you will probably make mistakes in your own language when speaking all the time!
Only if you’re talking to a pedant would the person you’re talking to stop you to correct you. If it’s a mistake that does affect understanding, you will find out – and work out how to correct it. Of course, when you’re working towards final tests or qualifications then these mistakes matter a bit more. But how will you find out what your mistakes are until you make them?
So, go for it. Mistakes and all!
4. Set specific goals – both little and large.
Setting only one large goal might begin to feel overwhelming and dent your motivation.
Try breaking it down into smaller, daily goals and make them specific and measurable. A little bit of study or immersion every day is better than one long slog once a week…
Set small habits that you can easily build into your daily routine to get some additional study time in. For example, set the alarm a little earlier to spend time half an hour on the Direct English Live! app before breakfast. Carry a bi-lingual dictionary with you to learn 5 new words on your journey to and from work. All of these smaller steps will make the big one easier to take.
Of course, with Direct English you will be encouraged, guided and supported by the team every step of the way.
With our multiple resources in centre and at home, you will be able to widely vary the way you learn and study to keep you motivated and on track to improve your English to the highest level you want to get to.
Good luck! I’m off to practice what I preach and use these tips to brush up on my Japanese…
5. Alice Williams
Learning Development Manager | Direct English
Linguaphone Group Ltd