Studying isn’t easy, especially when we are adults and we have to force ourselves to it. Nevertheless, learning a new language can be an awesome and, if you like, endless journey.
I heard once that we couldn’t control all situations in our life, but we can control how we react to them. When it comes to learning, the equation is quite the same. You can’t control the fact that some ‘tenses’ in English, for instance, are harder than others, but if you have a positive attitude towards them, you know that no matter how hard they are, you will eventually understand them. Although, there are much more that can interrupt your learning drastically other than the grammar part.
In this post, I will briefly talk about 6 habits that have been trapping many students and stopping them from getting the best from their learning experience.
1. Pay attention to people’s mistakes.
I must confess that I pay attention to native speaker mistakes; however, I do that to forgive my own mistakes, in other words, to be easy on myself. Sadly, though, I’ve seen learners who point other non-native speakers’ mistakes and sometimes even laughing at them. I know that people love pointing other people’s deficits to feel better about themselves, but there are so many other ways to feel better about your language; you don’t need to laugh at anyone. If you can go to the supermarket and talk to the cashier or watch something without subtitles, that’s more than enough to make yourself feel proud. Besides, paying attention to other people’s mistakes may feed your ego it won’t make your English any better.
2. Compare yourself to other learners
Even though it’s an awful habit, I dare to say that 99.9% of us have it. Thanks to social media, this has become more and more acceptable in our society, but it shouldn’t have! We are all different; we have different backgrounds, different cultures, different believes, and believe it or not, all these things work together, influencing our habits. Sometimes we will cross paths with people who learn faster and communicate well, and, of course, when you see these people, you will compare yourself to them, especially if you are working hard to learn. Still, those same very people may have other issues that you might not know, or better yet, you might not wish to have, but most importantly, we are all different. We are here on this planet to complete each other and not to compete with each other.
3. Be around people who make you feel small
Surround yourself with positive people. People who will say: don’t give up, instead: Yeah, I know it’s hard, I couldn’t do it. The way people react around us impacts how we feel about ourselves. I have a theory that people who are often putting you down, even when they are not aware of it, feel bad about themselves, and they feel the need to make people feel the same so they can feel better. Be careful; these people can stop you by pointing out failures and issues you should never focus on. Back off from these people, find people who can remind you about how far you have come instead of people who remind you how far you have to go yet.
4. Think that your English is somehow better than other’s
We all know the word for it, right? Arrogance. It can stop you not only in language learning but also in everything else in your life. Like many other teachers, I like to spoil my students, I like to emphasize their qualities and achievements, but there’s a downside. Sometimes they can get trapped in the thought that they are better or are doing better than others, and unfortunately, it can happen to anyone! That’s the scary part.
If someone compliments you too much, you might end up thinking that you are ‘too good or that you work harder than everybody else. Let’s be careful with this kind of habit; we are all learners, and there is always room to learn more, but if you start thinking that you know more than others, you will end up stopping the learning journey earlier than you should, and as a result, you will miss more than you could ever imagine.
5. Don’t prepare yourself for your classes
What happens if your train arrives when you are not ready? A mess, right? So let’s put it this way, starting your class without preparing, whether mentally or physically, won’t be any different. Your heart will be racing fast because you were not ready; your brain will take a while to understand that you are in a class, and when you finally managed to calm yourself down and pay attention, your time is up. Preparing for classes will make it much easier and fluid, so make sure to take some deep breathes and get yourself ready for your class.
6. Stop your classes every time things get harder
Life is busy, life is crazy, and it won’t change. Sometimes we tell ourselves things like: ‘when I have less work to do,’ or ‘when my kids are older, but truth be told, you will always have a busy life, you will always have many things to do. When life gets harder, English classes are among the first things people tend to drop off, but is it really the right thing to do? All of us struggle with something in life, whether it is English or learning how to drive, but one of the most beautiful abilities of human beings is the ability of learning; it can be different in each one of us, but we all have it so don’t give up.