It’s not easy to reach a high level of a language, and unfortunately many language learners give up when things get tricky and they never push past that intermediate level. Language learning seems to be a little like long distance running – it gets harder and harder as you get faster or as you acquire more vocabulary, until you reach a wall where you either give up, or thrive! With running, physical exhaustion is often the reason for giving up. So what is it that makes so many people give up learning languages when they reach that wall?
Language learning is time consuming. You can take a relaxed course where you study an hour or two a week, or you can take intensive classes where you are studying a few hours a day. Either way, the time that you would have spent working, socialising, doing chores and other tasks, will now be very obviously set aside for your language. The point where you reach the wall is a particularly time consuming moment because if you don’t make an effort to improve immediately, you may start to forget vocabulary or simply get out of practice. This can be demoralising for people who don’t have much time on their hands and often results in them giving up.
Not enough guidance
While some people may have the gift to self-teach a language, this is not the case for most of us. If you have tried, well done, it’s not easy! Many people find it hard to reach a good level without the guidance of an experienced and professional tutor. Likewise, some learners may even feel unmotivated by their teacher, if they find that the teacher’s style is not dynamic enough and doesn’t manage to adapt to the learning style of the student. You may not even realise this is the case, and simply think that, “It’s me, not you!”. Lack of understanding leads to lack of progress, which in many cases, leads to giving up.
So what can you do?
So, how should you make sure these common reasons for giving up don’t bring you and your language down? Firstly, set aside your language learning time from day one and make it clear to anyone or anything that may distract you that you are 100% “off duty” during this time. That way, you can make a good plan to ensure that when you hit the wall, you are ready for it. Secondly, make sure you have the right support from the beginning, whether that is in the form of textbooks, language apps, foreign language films, conversation groups or professional tuition. Also, don’t be afraid to adapt the materials and people who help you to your level and specific needs.
If you have any doubts or need some advice when you embrace the language wall, The Spanish Academy is here to help you – don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can support you throughout your journey.