Want the inside scoop to language-learning? Read on for tips and tricks created by your very own Team FLC!
GOOD NEWS! Though there exist certain given traits behind any “good language learner” such as previous experience, learning curve, motivation, etc., we see many great language learners who simply exhibit a range of general habits (listed below).
**Cliché alert! #1 & #2
1. Plan to Practice
Take advantage of opportunities (FLC events, at-home activities or resources, travel, Saturday Cafes) and vary ‘skill’ practice – movies for listening comprehension, simple articles for reading, other native speakers of your ‘target’ language for speaking, everything counts! Even exercising while you practice could help you retain and understand new vocabulary, read New York Times Article to learn how! Practice sets a positive spiral in motion: the more you practice, the more you learn, the more you love it! Sadly, the opposite is true as well; with no extra practice, disappointment in progress sets in… Pratiquez!
2. Practice Patience
Language-learning takes time, period. The general ACTFL guidelines reflect 500-700+ hours of language learning to reach intermediate – advanced levels depending on the skill, language, etc. Those language learners who make progress appreciate the step-by-step process and stay positive while doing it. Rome wasn’t built in a day…but the language there is worth spending months, years learning!
3. Be Flexible
The notion that language learners have only one way to learn is simply ‘old school.’ Are you someone who struggles with certain ‘types’ of learning styles? Well we have good news! There’s no such thing as different learning styles. KUT debunks this myth, explaining that “identifying with a specific category of learning style allows us to sit back in our comfort zone and never break the boundaries that restrict us.” Répétez classe! Oui, find your strengths, but please say adios to ‘I don’t learn that way.’ Flexible learners also avoid the trap of trying to be perfect – they more easily learn from their mistakes.
4. Sharpen Social Skills
Outgoing, chatty people learn languages faster. Extroverts love to connect, even if only to be minimally understood. They like to hear and tell stories and jokes; they will generally strike up a conversation with a stranger. Qualification! This does not mean shy, more introverted people can NOT be great language learners. Rather, it’s a general, global finding. As our favorite language acquisition specialist, Stephen Krashen says, it’s the face to face ‘negotiation for meaning…’ that makes a difference. S’il vous plaît , don’t be afraid to put yourself out there at our next wine tastings, happy hours, or game nights!
5. Set Goals
‘Go-getters’ decide to be active learners with measurable goals in mind. They know what they want and set strategies accordingly; they prioritize their life in such a way as to set themselves up for success. The dreamer / procrastinator (we all have some of that…?!) may have to be a little more realistic about fast progress, but should not be ruled out as a good language learners! Allez!
NEWSFLASH! Everybody with a certain level of motivation can indeed learn a 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) language – #GoPolyglot!