Many of us dream of fluently speaking a second language, whether for personal, academic, or professional reasons. Besides the fact that learning a new language and using it engages and develops the part of the brain that helps you become a better problem solver, most people like the idea of being able to travel and speak to people in their native language. Whether you’re learning a new language for personal development, pleasure, or a combination of both, you’ve got lots of options for online learning. But what do you do when you’re getting stuck in your learning or you’re starting to lose motivation?
Set Learning Goals
Your first step is to set some realistic, manageable learning goals. They truly do need to be realistic though because setting goals that will end up discouraging you will work against your end goal. No one wants to feel frustrated or pressured, so figure out when you can study your new language and how much time you have each day to do so. Next, schedule it.
You’ll also want to establish what your primary goal is so that you know how to break your goal down and you’ll recognize when you’re making progress. Is your goal to travel and be able to effectively communicate? Is your goal to be able to speak to friends, neighbors, clients, or colleagues in their native language? How soon do you want to be able to reasonably speak to native language speakers? Once you figure out what your learning goals are, you can break them down into manageable steps.
Native Language Speakers
Another great way to make progress toward learning a new language is to engage in conversation with native speakers. With online resources available, communicating with native speakers of any language around the globe is possible. The world is so much smaller, and in most cities you can find grocery stores, restaurants, and a variety of other businesses run by individuals who speak any language you might want to learn. By purposely seeking out opportunities to try out your new language, you can practice while learning about the culture as well. Culture and language go hand-in-hand, so immersing yourself in a new experience can really motivate you to keep pushing yourself forward.
If you’ve got friends or family who speak the language you’re learning, you can ask to spend time with them where you primarily speak their native language. Give them permission to correct and teach you. They are very likely to appreciate your efforts and be some of your best motivators and teachers.
Think In Your Target Language
Once you’ve gathered a few words that you can string together, start making yourself think in the target language. Every chance you get, mentally narrate what you are doing in the new language. If you’re alone, go ahead and narrate out loud. We certainly don’t recommend narrating as you’re walking down the street, unless you’re good with getting some funny looks! However, thinking as a native language speaker would – in your target language – will help it become ingrained in your brain and a more fluent part of your life.
Music, Movies, & TV
One fun way to stay engaged in learning is by immersing yourself culturally through music, movies, and tv in your new language. Thanks to the internet, you can access tons of native language entertainment. You can listen to the lyrics of popular musicians and bands while you’re driving, running errands, cleaning, or working out, and you can watch movies and tv with subtitles on and then rewatch them without them to see what you can pick out. You can learn without sitting down with digital flashcards every day, so when you get bored and are feeling like skipping your learning, see what you can find online and enjoy some culture and entertainment at the same time.
Reading & Writing
It’s important to read and write in your new language, too, even if you’re primarily learning online. Checking out children’s books at first is a good way to practice reading, but once you’re comfortable, get online and read some websites, advertisements, and maybe even some novels. Even if you can’t figure everything out, as long as you are engaging with the language, you’re learning through problem solving. So what if you have to look up a bunch of words? That’s a wonderful way to acquire new vocabulary. What we work for, we remember better! If it takes you an entire learning session to read a few pages, so be it. Some things are worth taking the time to do.
Get A Tutor
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and you need some one-on-one support, connecting with a tutor is a wonderful way to learn and have a chance to speak with someone in your target language. Train The Brain offers one-on-one online tutoring so you can have your own personal tutor anywhere you’ve got access to the internet. If you’re looking for a way to stay on track and keep moving forward with your new language, one-on-one tutoring can be just the thing to keep you going.
About Train The Brain
You can give Train The Brain a try by registering and seeing how we fit through a free 30 minute session. Train The Brain is an innovative online homework help and tutoring service that you can access anywhere you have a solid internet connection. You no longer have to leave your home and sit around at a tutoring center. You can set up and attend tutoring or homework help sessions with our highly qualified content area experts in the comfort of your own home, the library, or office. If you want to learn more about TTB and the services we offer, feel free to check out our services and our blog. Additionally, you can reach out to our Train The Brain admins online. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.