If you are finding your language learning is going more slowly than you wish, or not being as effective as you would have hoped, read on and find a key you can use to open the door to help you discover the best way of learning a language for you.
The vast majority of people (according to statistics) have so many difficulties with learning another language that they give up learning well before they reach their goal.
Don’t become one of them! Instead, start your journey by having a look at these 26 keys to transforming your language learning so it can become the best it can be. Not all the keys need to be employed for you to get there, but there is every chance that you will need to use more than one to become the learner you really wish to be!
As has been said so succinctly but so accurately- your attitude will determine your altitude. Develop, if you haven’t already, attitudes that will enable you stay positive.
As Henry Ford once said. “Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you can’t you are right.” So you may as well choose the belief that will move you forward!
The vast majority of successful people who wanted to transform their results employed a coach (not teacher!) to help them. Finding what is holding you back can happen much faster with some professional coaching
D: Deliberate Practice
Practice makes perfect they say, however if you are not deliberate about your practice, perfection will not happen even if you have mountains of practice. Find out just what that entails and see how it can help you.
E: Engage in what you are doing
Without feeling engaged and drawn in by what you are doing, the actual results from your learning will be limited and hard earned. So look for learning that engages you and shun the ones that don’t.
Learning to recognise and use the feedback you get from what you do is the mark of a skilled learner. A key to that is becoming less judgmental so you can use the feedback rather than dismiss it.
Guessing is crucial for any learner who wants to become a good language learner. Without learning to become good at guessing, progress will inevitably be limited.
Understanding that your habits are a key to your learning is a key to becoming a good language learner. They play a critical role in every aspect of your learning.
Immersing yourself in the language you are learning is critical. This means much more than living in the country where the language is spoken. It means learning to let go of your first language as the only way of learning your second.
Great learners always are assessing the effectiveness of what they are doing. Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results is a recipe for going nowhere.
K: Keep Going
Persistence is a key quality. Even if the going is tough and you make more mistakes than you think you should, it is critical to keep going and learn to value these experiences to learn what to do next.
Your listening abilities will determine how far you can go in learning a another language. Many of us let this skill degrade over our life for a whole host of reasons, mainly to do with how our character develops.
M: Measurable improvement
Looking for measurable improvement in what you do will enable you to refine your language as well as your learning strategies.
Without noticing what you do, how you do it and the results of your efforts, your learning will proceed very slowly.
There are some people who can learn a language just as easily as they can breathe, but for most people it requires efforts and organized activity.
If one of your first priorities is something other than learning another language, then it will be exceedingly difficult to learn one because your time will be consumed with your other priorities.
Learning to ask questions about what you are learning is another hallmark of an effective learner eg – “Why this and not that?”
Reflecting on your efforts at times is critical if you are to improve on what you do and how you are doing it. Otherwise it is easy to keep doing the same thing and not see that there maybe other and even better ways to do achieve what you want.
Becoming more sensitive to the subtleties of your experiences, thoughts and feelings will help drive your language learning deeper.
T: Transform your experience into language
Language at its essence is a representation of our thoughts, experiences and feelings. Learning to let these be your driver to learning language will make the journey more rewarding and interesting.
Understanding as clearly as you can is necessary so you avoid getting stuck with generalisations – these can lead to language use that is very basic.
How you learn your vocabulary will determine your success. Learn it in an ineffective way, like trying to use simple translation as the primary means, can make you believe your memory is poor which can put you off learning languages. Translation of course is necessary in learning and life but over reliance on it in learning is a mistake.
There are a lot of books, courses, ideas out there about learning languages. You need to be able to find what works for you. This might not be what you think or believe is the best…but is what actually works! This is the beginning of wisdom.
X: X factor
The X factor is understanding that you have everything you need within you to learn another language. The problem has been (if you are not getting there) that you are thinking or doing something the wrong way. Find out what and you can start to unleash your incomparable language learning powers.
Without a yearning to learn the language, you will be put off easily and not do all the things that are necessary.
Z: Zen of Language Learning
Awareness is at the heart of all learning. By cultivating your awareness, you hold a necessary key to help you achieve success.
Any one of these 26 keys could positively transform your language learning and put you on the way to becoming the best language learner you can be. If it does not, go and try another and another…. until you see changes in your language learning. This is a sign that you are on your way. Just make sure that you keep improving and then you can get there!
If you would like to put all of these in context and see how they work together, check out my recently released book Language Learning Unlocked.
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