I watched a very interesting Ted Talk the other day titled "Why having fun is the secret to a healthier life", and I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and thought that I would share it with you, and also remind you to apply this concept to your language learning! As adults, I feel that we more often than not apply the concept "all work and no play" to our lives, simply because we have so many responsibilities to manage that fun unfortunately has to take a backseat most of the time. I'm the first one to fall into this trap - eat, sleep, work, repeat - sounds familiar right? I'm not saying drop everything and live Y.O.L.O. style, but I'd like to invite you to find your inner child and remember that learning doesn't have to feel like a chore, at the end of the day, learning English as an adult is your choice, right? So it should be something that brings you satisfaction!
S - make space for fun. Learning English shouldn't be all about memorizing grammar structures and phrasal verbs! Think about why you want to learn another language. To communicate with more people. To be able to watch movies in their original language. To read books, magazines and the news in English. To understand song lyrics. To feel free and relaxed when you travel. But you don't have to speak perfect English to already enjoy all of these activities. Incorporate the activities you enjoy doing into your daily routine and enjoy your learning!
P - pursue your passions, hobbies and interests by doing them in English. I sound like a broken record, I say this ALL the time, but it's so true! Do you like cooking? Read recipes in English. Do you practice Yoga? Follow a yoga course in English. Are you a sociable person? Find a language exchange friend or group to meet up with for an after work aperitivo and practice your English at the same time. The options are endless.
A - attract fun. Sounds obvious...or does it? In life, if you have a positive attitude, you will attract positivity. On the contrary, if you're a pessimist, you may attract negativity. So the same applies for fun. If you try to have fun or be a fun person, you will attract more fun towards yourself. Fun squared, right?
R - rebel a little!!! This one is my favorite. I'm a bit of a rebel. I don't like rules. I know it's ironic that an English teacher doesn't like rules but it's the truth. THROW YOUR DICTIONARY AWAY and stop worrying about being perfect. Nobody is perfect. Not even Cambridge, though they'd like to think they are. Make mistakes. Use slang. Say things the wrong (yet acceptable) way as we Americans often do. Languages are made to be used in practice, not studied only in theory. If you're a perfectionist, I get it, I'm not saying go out and make mistakes like "He go to work". I'm just saying stop focusing so much on making mistakes, make them, learn from them, and have fun using English to communicate.
K - keep at it. Don't give up! Learning a language isn't easy! It's often frustrating and sometimes just downright irritating. Whenever you feel like throwing in the towel, remember why you started learning, and look back on how far you've come in your language learning journey. Maybe even take a break from studying for a few weeks, give your brain some time to rest, and then get back to your study routine. But never give up!
So there you have it. S.P.A.R.K. applied to learning English. Here's the video, check it out and let me know what you think! Will you try to apply these concepts to your life? Are you up for the challenge? Bring the fun back! Let out your inner child! Okay, I'm done, go watch the video and have a fun week :)
more often than not: expression to say that something occurs quite frequently
take a backseat: expression to say that something has less importance
Y.O.L.O: acronym - you only live once
a chore: something that you have to do, like washing the dishes or doing the laundry
[to sound like] a broken record: to repeat something so much that it can be annoying
fun squared: squared - 2x2 - this is like saying fun al quadrato
downright: synonym for completely, absolutely
throwing in the towel: idiom to say give up or quit