Stay motivated when learning a language
- December 7, 2020
- Posted by: Shannon
- Category: Strategies for learning
We all know how it goes; we set a goal and make little steps towards it. It can be hard to stay motivated sometimes though.
In the case of learning a language, the end result is usually to be at least conversational in that language. Students often lose sight of their goal, and motivation wanes, resulting in either not working as hard or giving up altogether.
A study conducted by scholars at the University of Iowa may have found a solution to help students stay focused and on track to achieve their goals. The study looks at college and university students who were preparing for exams and research essays, however, their findings apply equally well to language learners.
Structure the learning timetable backwards from the goal to the present moment. The researchers found that this works well for people who have long term goals. That makes this a perfect strategy for language learners to stay motivate and achieve their desired outcome.
Don’t forget to read: 5 reasons to start learning online
By starting at the end and moving backwards it seems to take the time pressure off of students and the goal appears to become clearer and more within reach.
Students should decide on their goal, for example becoming conversational and then decide each step prior.
Setting a goal such as becoming conversational within 6 months, sets a time constraint that may be unrealistic, but by starting at the end and moving backwards students seem to have a clearer idea of how much time is necessary to commit to each step.
It might look something like this:
Goal: Conversational English Process: slang and colloquial phrases – 2 weeks, pronunciation and clarity – 1 month – basic common grammar – 2 months, prepositions and parts of speech – 2 months, vocabulary – 3 months
This schedule reflects what a timeline for a beginner student might look like. This isn’t a guide, but an example of what a student might feel is appropriate for their own learning. This kind of reference can be enough to stay motivated
By working backwards you can get a better understanding of what is important in the learning process and can focus on those areas. This way you won’t get hung up on topics that are less important and are just wasting time.
Like most subjects, in order to stay motivated, you have to have a clear view of your goal and how you’re going to reach it. A lot of students make the commitment to learn a language but then get lost or frustrated when they begin learning random vocabulary without a clear plan.
You can read more about this technique and how it’s helped other student in the blog post, How Reverse Planning for Goals Can Help Students Succeed in School
There are so many students who want to learn English and lose motivation because of poor planning or bad resources. It’s important to find tactics to help our students achieve their goals, and this may be a good start.