Many feel that languages in fact cannot be taught, that they can only be learned. As language trainers, we know that to a large extent this is true: if a candidate feels that they cannot do something, do not like doing something, or feel that just by turning up to a course they will miraculously acquire language skills, then the training is lost, and no effort on the part of the trainer can achieve any results.
This means that the ‘set-up’ with language training is even more important than usual. Here are five ways EVERYONE can improve their language learning experience by setting themselves up to succeed.
Spend some time figuring out WHY you are really doing this. The company sending you on a course, having international conclusions are good reasons, but not motivations. You need to reach inside and find a passion for the process or it’s just going to be hard work. Find real motivation and keep reminding yourself of it.
Do The Work
Recognise that, without real effort from yourself, no learning takes place. The best trainer or teacher in the world cannot shovel knowledge into your skull. It is required that you actually do the required reading, pay attention to your trainer, and work hard on the exercises and tasks. That way, you can go somewhere.
There’ll be Homework
A couple of hours a week are not enough for you to significantly improve your language skills. The reason that trainers assign homework is not to ruin your weekends and evenings. Rather it is to extend the learning hours you are putting into the language course to increase your chances of success. Know this, plan for it and schedule time for it.
Get Your Hands Dirty
Adult learners learn best by doing. Find a way to put your fears and your ego aside and start putting what you are learning into practice as soon as possible. Speak the language, make mistakes and keep trying. There is no miracle cure, no overnight success. First you must start, then fail, then start again. With language, we really do learn from our mistakes.
Keep Right on Flying
With language, a course is just the beginning. You need to commit to on-going growth, practice and learning. Keep reading, doing exercises, talking and writing. Like newly acquired muscle mass, a new language will wither and die if you don’t continue using it. Once the course is over, you can build on those foundations to really improve your skills and move on from being someone who can be understood in a new tongue, to someone can live in it.
All new knowledge requires time, patience and practice. Languages in particular need to be exercised to be kept fresh and useful.
Taleninstituut Free Tip
It’s true that repetition is a good tool for improving your language skills. However, be carefully that you are not repeating mistakes like mispronunciations or leaving words and sounds out of sentences. Slow down. Give yourself a break. It’s NOT your mother tongue. Focus on accuracy at first. The speed will come later.
At TalenInstituut Nederland (The Dutch Language Institute) we understand the needs that companies face as well as the fears individual learners feel. This is why we offer flexible, fully customised Business English training to businesses and individuals. Through a process of interviews and meetings we establish the unique needs and competence of our clients and design each and every course around those. To find out more about our Business English and other language courses, visit our website and ask us for a quote: www.taleninstituut.nl.
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