When learning a new language, it’s normal to run into roadblocks along the way. Getting past these struggles is an important step in becoming fluent. Here are five ways to avoid feeling discouraged when learning English or another foreign language.
1. Think About Goals
When you first started learning a language, you probably set a goal for yourself. For example, perhaps you wanted to know enough English to live in America independently. Even if you still feel far from that goal, considering your progress can help give you a boost. Think about how far you’ve come since you started learning the language, and try setting smaller goals for yourself along the way to reaching the larger goal.
2. Try Deliberate Practice
When learning any new skill, most people reach a point when they are able to perform the skill independently. If you’ve reached that stage in learning English, it can be frustrating to feel you’re no longer progressing. To push your skills forward, you’ll need to challenge yourself. Look at specific skills you’re struggling with—pronunciation, for example—and focus on those skills in a targeted way.
3. Track Your Progress
If you feel that you’ve stalled, try noting your progress in a language journal. Not only is this a great way to recognize gradual improvement, it also allows you to practice written English in addition to the spoken language.
4. Connect With Others
Try finding a new language partner to practice with, watch TV in the language you’re learning, or visit English-speaking locations you haven’t been to before. Joining a club or making new friends can help take you out of your comfort zone, one of the most important steps in learning English (or mastering any new skill).
5. Don’t Give Up
When you’re struggling with language, it can be tempting to set your study aside for awhile. Although taking a short break can be helpful, staying away from the language for too long can damage your progress. Keep pushing through your challenges. As you absorb new information, new grammar, and new vocabulary, your brain is working to organize what you’ve learned. Eventually, you’ll have another breakthrough and will notice substantial improvement.