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How not to lose motivation while learning a foreign language

How not to lose motivation while learning a foreign language

Learning a language is a complex and time-consuming process. We share with you proven strategies that will help you stay motivated and successfully master a foreign language.

When learning a foreign language, it is motivation that helps us to stay strong, improve and hone all our skills. Motivation encourages learners to take action, overcome difficulties, and achieve goals. And the most important place to start is to set a clear goal for yourself.

Goal setting

A clearly defined goal gives us a long-term direction in our quest to learn a language. Sometimes we forget why we started this time-consuming journey when we are already in the process of learning. Then we should stop and reconsider what our original goal was. In general, there are four most common goals of language learning.

  • Career. If you want to find a job abroad, language skills are an essential tool to help you do so. It doesn't matter if you are looking for a job in the country you have moved to or if you are trying to work remotely. In addition, English language skills are important to most companies, even if they are not from English-speaking countries. It has long become common to communicate in English as an international language, it is the language in which all correspondence, negotiations or information search are carried out. So even if you are not looking for a job in a foreign company, cooperation with foreign partners and knowledge of the language will always be considered an advantage in employment.
  • Travel. If you like to visit new places and countries, a foreign language will help to make your travels more comfortable and open up many previously unseen opportunities. For this purpose, first of all, knowledge of English will be indispensable, as you will be able to explain yourself in it in almost all tourist places. However, for visiting more exotic places, it is not superfluous to know the local language.
  • Self-development. Sometimes there is a desire to simply learn something new, get your brain working in a new direction. It is not a secret anymore that learning a foreign language is a good way to prevent brain aging and the development of such ailments as Alzheimer's disease. Besides, in today's world, a lot of information is presented in English, so its knowledge opens up the world to new sources of information.
  • The opportunity to make new acquaintances. Knowledge of a second language allows you to connect with millions of new people, learn a new culture firsthand, and share your own. New acquaintances abroad can also stimulate career opportunities or offer new travel destinations.

When setting a goal, it is important to be honest with yourself and remember to look for a goal for inner motivation. While external motivation is something that is imposed on us by someone or something from the outside and we sometimes do not see the value in it (for example, mom says we should learn English), internal motivation corresponds to our true needs.

Next, the goals can be made more specific. We realize that "career" or "new acquaintances" mat sound too broad. But setting the goal "learn a language to read my favorite writer" or "learn a language to get a job in a specific field/company" is already more realistic and tangible.

Steps to achieve the goal

Large goals often seem difficult to achieve and discouraging, which can be very demotivating for students. Therefore, a large goal should be broken down into a series of smaller sub-goals. For this purpose, you can use a step-by-step strategy to achieve the goal: write out individual tasks with deadlines. For example, a goal could be: "I will read a story in English by summer" or "I will learn two hundred new words in May."

The method of visualization also helps. That is, not just to wish to "speak a foreign language fluently", but to visualize the situation clearly: with whom the expected conversation should take place in the future, in what circumstances, what it will be about, and so on. The more visible the goal becomes for us, the easier and faster it will be to achieve it.

When we first start learning a foreign language, every new word is a discovery, and every short sentence we construct seems like a huge achievement. However, as language learning becomes something habitual for us, and new discoveries cease to bring us initial excitement, we risk losing motivation because we stop seeing the situation of success. This is why it is important to regularly monitor your progress. A good habit to help with this is to keep a log book, which indicates the date and duration of the lesson, the topic studied, the number of new words and so on. By revising your knowledge once a month, you can keep track of your progress and see what knowledge and skills you have acquired over time.

Reward ourselves for every accomplishment

The most important element in maintaining motivation is reward. Celebrate significant progress in language learning: a new grammar rule learned and practiced, a public performance in a foreign language or successful communication with a native speaker — nothing should go unnoticed.

Rewards can be of several types:

  • intellectual ("If I go to a conversation club meeting, I'll buy myself a new book");
  • emotional ("If I finish this group marathon of learning Finnish, I will buy myself a ticket to Finland");
  • regular ("Every three months of uninterrupted English study, I will buy myself a video game").

In this way, we will get reinforcement of our motivation in our intended path.

Clear schedule

Lack of a clear routine in learning a foreign language can be a serious threat to motivation. It is important to make lessons a regular, even routine, part of your life. Therefore, you should make a weekly or monthly schedule for yourself in advance to include several language classes, as well as make time for additional assignments.

It is very important that the sessions are not episodic, it is best to fix certain days and times, as well as the duration of the sessions. This will not only help you to reach your goal faster, but also to organize your time productively.

Enjoying the process

Maintaining motivation also depends on the methods we choose. First of all, the process of learning a foreign language should be fun. Monotonous exercises performed over and over again are more likely to cause boredom and frustration.

In addition to the classic textbook exercises, you should also consult other sources. For example, you can listen to podcasts or watch educational YouTube channels. These activities will not only help you develop new skills, but will also entertain and inspire you.

Communication with speakers

This is a very important step for foreign language learners, as it is live communication that allows us to put our knowledge and skills directly into practice. Once the vocabulary and grammar we have learned are put to use in live communication, it will give us a new burst of motivation to continue learning.

If you already live in the country where you are learning the intended language, it is easy to communicate with native speakers by going to the nearest store or café. If you do not have such an opportunity, then in the modern world you can always find many other ways to find a conversation partner, for example, you can find special sites and applications where you can communicate with native speakers.

Search for like-minded people and feedback

Learning can go easier and faster if you are surrounded by people who share your interests, in this case, an interest in the language. It is also important to get feedback from both like-minded people and a mentor who can monitor and evaluate your progress from a professional point of view. In this case, the ideal solution is to study the language in a group with a teacher.
If you are interested in learning English, we can recommend the Canadian English Language Academy ILAC. The school's courses are taught in groups, where you can study with like-minded people of the same level as you, and an experienced native English speaking teacher will carefully monitor your progress towards your desired goal. ILAC can be studied remotely, and if you live in Canada, evening courses are also available. Whatever your goal, ILAC has a course to suit you, from general English to preparing you for a Canadian university.

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