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Block 5: Overcoming bad experiences


"I hate English."

"English is impossible."
"Studying English is SO boring."

You'd be surprised how often I hear these phrases. And you'd be even more surprised when I tell you that I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH YOU. Okay, well, I don't really hate English, but sometimes I hate everything that is connected to how it is taught, and subsequentially learned by students. Most of the time, these sentences are said by adults who were traumatized in school, or by students still in school who are unlucky enough to have a horrible teacher. It is so unfortunate that one bad teacher can completely ruin a subject for a student. In my case, it was French. I still remember how stupid she made me feel in class, and how much I hated her guts. I have to admit, I've had a mental block towards French ever since. Which is a shame, because it's a beautiful language and it would be nice if I could speak it. Anyways. My goal is to change your opinion of English, so here are some things to think about the next time you want to burn your English book (or teacher😂).

 

3 Steps to overcome your "pain"


As I said above, it's quite common to feel unrest or even anger towards a language due to a bad experience or a bad memory. Remember though, you are now an independent adult, and only YOU are in charge of your mindset. You can decide to try to change your prejudice against English (or whatever other subject), or to continue suffering when you try to learn it. You are now in control of your learning. Remember that. No more parents telling you that if you don't get X grade in X subject, then you'll be grounded for eternity. No more teachers telling you that you'll never be able to learn X subject (if you, as an adult, have a teacher like this, CHANGE immediately!). Follow these 3 steps to start shifting your mindset, and you'll be surprised how much difference it makes!

  1. Find your WHY. Why do you want/need to study English? How would your life be different if you didn't have any difficulty communicating in English? Don't lose this image, it's going to be your motivation to continue learning.

  2. Choose HOW you will learn. You have complete freedom to learn or improve your English in any way you want! You can take individual lessons, you can take group lessons, you can study alone, you can join a Conversation Club, you can use Apps, you can use music/films/podcasts/series/etc.....the list goes on. Thanks to technology, we have so many choices, and I guarantee that if you try a few out, you'll quickly find the best method for you.

  3. Choose WHEN you will learn. As a student at school, you were forced to wake up early, pay attention to lessons all day, and then do homework all afternoon/night. For me that was alright, I'm a morning person. But SO many people hate the mornings, and are much more productive in the afternoon, evening, or even at night! Choose a time of day when you feel motivated and energized, and set aside an amount of time that works for you to study. Even if you only have 5-10 minutes.

These may seem insignificant, but trust me, they work. And do you know the best thing about learning something as an adult? If you don't like something about the learning process, you can CHANGE! You don't have to stay with a teacher if the chemistry isn't working for you. You don't have to stay at a language school if their offer isn't working for you. You don't have to finish reading a book or watching a series in English if you've lost interest in it. You have the freedom to make ALL the decisions regarding your learning, which is directly connected to your self improvement. So I challenge you today to make a choice, and take back full control of your learning.

 

My language learning story - the "final" chapter


I've put "final" in quotation marks because you never actually stop learning a language. I learn new words every day! In all of the languages that I speak. Trust me, even in English. I had a conversation just the other day with my husband (after he corrected something that I said in Italian) where I said,

You know what? In Spanish I always tried to be perfect, but now in Italian, even though I know the right word, if it comes out wrong, it's not a big deal. I'm happy that I can communicate without any problems, even though I sometimes make mistakes.

This is a good place to be. I make mistakes even in English, you probably make mistakes in your first language, and who cares? As I said a few posts ago, my learning focus changed to suit my life. Spanish was my second language, and I wanted to be absolutely perfect, and I got close enough to that (unachievable) goal because I had the time to dedicate to reaching that goal. Italian for me is like the 2nd or 3rd child. I was wayyy more relaxed about learning it, and didn't (and still don't) stress about being perfect. My focus shifted from perfection to function. I'll repeat that. My focus shifted from perfection to function. And that's what I want for you. You don't have to be perfect. You have to find your sweet spot. Nobody can decide that for you.


So if you need some help figuring out where you are on your language learning journey, or what steps you should take next, sign up for a free coaching session with me here. If you can't find a free slot, feel free to get in touch with me in the comments, or on my Instagram, and I'll try to give you some more alternatives. Here's to your learning!

 

Glossary

  • subsequentially: an adverb to say that something directly follows something else.

  • guts: an informal way to call your internal organs

  • a shame: a regrettable or unfortunate situation or action

  • unrest: a feeling of dissatisfaction or agitation

  • to be in charge of [something/one]: a phrasal verb - to be in control of/to manage

  • to be grounded: a punishment given to children by their parents - not being able to go out, use their phone, see their friends, etc. etc.

  • a morning person: someone who likes and functions well during the morning

  • to take back: phrasal verb - to reclaim possession of something

  • sweet spot: an informal expression to say - the perfect place or balance


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