Whatever it is in life that you don´t like doing, you probably won´t be too good at it.
If you don´t enjoy running, you most likely will not be the first one at the finish line. If you don´t like cooking, you most likely won´t be the next Jamie Oliver. If you don´t like English, you most likely won´t end up teaching it.
But what if you are somewhat “forced” to like it? What if there is no way around it? What if someone told you, you need to be good at English in order to get a visa to stay in Australia?
Suddenly whether you like it or not doesn´t really matter that much anymore, does it?
The mistake many foreign language learners make is that they let failures get in their way of enjoying the fun of learning a new language.
Many students -whether they are high school students learning English in a non-English speaking country or doctors and nurses preparing for an English test – actually enjoyed learning a new language when they first started. They enjoyed speaking and maybe even thinking in a new language and everything that comes with it. Those moments when you can´t think of the right word in your mother tongue but can think of it in English and are somewhat even proud of yourself.
But as soon as they are forced to prove that their English is good enough to pass a test, many start questioning their skills. They make mistakes and feel embarrassed. That makes them feel more insecure and with that comes making more mistakes ….
I have witnessed it many times that students whose English is actually really good, are very shy and question their skills to a point where they almost start hating the language. When they think of it, they think of the next test and the next failure. They forget about the fun and the only thing left is worry and frustration.
So how to get rid of that feeling?
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you are starting to get extremely frustrated, try to find a way to have a positive connotation with the language again.
Don´t read “pride and prejudice” or watch CNN if you are not at that level yet. It will only frustrate you even more. Watch and read things you like. It doesn´t matter if that means watching the Simpsons or The Big Bang Theory. It is all about you having a positive attitude towards the language.
You have to simply accept that learning a new language is nothing that happens over night. It takes many years and even after many years you will not be perfect at it and that´s good. That´s the fun about it. You will always learn something new. Every day.
And don´t make that mistake where you stop talking just because you made a mistake or because you can´t think of that word in English. So what? Think about how many times you couldn´t think of a word in your mother tongue and you couldn’t care less.
Don´t be afraid to repeat yourself again if someone doesn´t understand you. It is not necessarily your fault. How many times do you ask someone to repeat themselves in your first language? And how many times do you have to repeat yourself in your first language? You never question yourself then either, do you? You are more likely to blame the other person for not understanding you. And that´s what you need to keep in mind when speaking a foreign language as well. It is completely fine if you make mistakes.
We are all just trying to get a message across and that´s what counts, not so much how we actually articulate that message