Self-Paced online learning can be hard, and learning a new language as an adult is even harder than learning calculus! We all get stuck sometimes.
Let me tell you about a time I was struggling:
Years ago I was working on my thesis, and I was just a couple of months away from the deadline with NO IDEA on what to write about. I had spent hours in the library and online researching and trying to find a topic to get me started. My brain was saturated with all the information I was getting, and I was getting nowhere. I found myself frustrated, upset and eventually I lost my patience and gave up searching. I thought there was no way I was going to present the thesis on time. After much fretting I started to relax…
And then it struck me! I had started watching my favourite TV show (Vikings, of course), and a simple scene showed me the path I had been looking for months. You see, Vikings used translators in all their conquests and raids in England – since they only spoke Old Norse. That small bit of information was just the sparkle I needed! The final title of my Master’s Thesis was “The Role of the Interpreter and Translator in Conflict Situations.”
My brained had relaxed because I was doing something I loved. It started building new synapses and helped me get un-stuck.
If you’re feeling frustrated or seem to have lost your drive for practicing your English skills, try some of these tips to help you get back on track:
1. Find something you like doing… unrelated to languages, so that your brain gets a chance to disconnect. Remember my struggle and tell yourself it’s okay to take a break every now and then!
2. Enrich your favorite hobby or interest with English.
Do you like cooking? Think of how you can “spice it up” by adding English to it. Look up recipes online in English, look up the names for ingredients you are using in English, or practice your verbs while you are cooking – like bake, fry, chop and sauté. Without realizing it, you will learn how to use the Imperative, Present Simple, and Present Perfect, and you will add plenty of new vocabulary to your list.
You can also try searching the Extra Content in myEnglish for articles and lessons on Cooking. In the Elementary levels, there is an article called “What’s Cooking”. In Intermediate, there are stories called “The Empty Plate” and “Time for Dinner.”
Cooking is not your thing? What about photography, shopping, movies or car racing? No matter what you like, as long as you do it in English, you will end up learning. Try watching the latest Formula1 race or reading about the newest Tesla model. You will find plenty of material out there in the language you want. Take my word for it!
3. Remind yourself why you started learning English in the first place.
You’ve got goals in life, and learning English is an important step toward achieving them. Take a minute to remember where you were and how you felt the day you signed up for myEnglish.
Now think of how far you have already come.
Don’t lose sight of your goals, and don’t begrudge yourself the progress you are making. Take time to celebrate each small accomplishment along the way.
4. Set a small goal for something you can achieve in a short period of time.
Take a look at where you are in your coursework. Are you in the middle of a unit? Set a goal to complete the next Progress Test by the end of the week.
Each small goal helps you get stronger and boosts your confidence as you achieve it.
Short-term goals minimise procrastination. They lay down a clear and defined path to success, allowing you to focus on one thing at a time. This focus will not only help you stay motivated, but it will also help your productivity and have you achieving your long-term goal quicker.
5. Change where you learn.
Have you been completing most of your lessons in the same place? Try going mobile! Pull out your tablet or smartphone and head outside. Or move to a different room. Sometimes a simple change of scenery can re-charge your mind and get you engaged in a new way.
6. Reach out to your Dynamizer.
Your Dynamizer is here for you. They are full of great advice and tips to help you stay on track. In fact, if you’re stuck and your learning pace has slowed down, chances are your Dynamizer has already checked in on you.
Send him or her a message telling them how you’re feeling and asking if they have anything that can help you.
In conclusion, do not give up! Just give yourself a break, find something that makes you happy, and use it to inspire your struggle with learning a new language.