Motivation plays an important role in the tasks that we perform daily. It is the fuel that gets us to wake up at 5:00 am, endure traffic, public transportation and 8-10 hours behind a computer or cash register 5 times a week. Also, it is the reason why many of us may decide to take out student loans or even work more than the recommended 12 hours as a full-time university student. In other words, when we are aware of the purpose behind a task, we become more determined and we are not easily discouraged by the necessary lengths we may have to take for success.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Yes, you got it. Motivation is also a factor when we are learning another language. According to an article that I came across in an Educational Linguistics course that I did last semester, motivation is the driving force behind efficient language learning. As human beings, most of us are faced with learning a language at least twice. The first time as a child and the second as an adolescent in secondary school. As a child, our motivation for learning our mother tongue is to get what we want. For example, we all would have made sure to learn some sort of word to get the attention of our parents, whether it was “dada”, “mama”, or “baba”. On the other hand, in secondary school, we are faced with learning more academic vocabulary with our motivation being to obtain the job of our dreams in order to survive.
Without further ado, here are 3 tips that I guarantee will help you to achieve, restore or maintain motivation while learning your target language(s).
1. Clearly identify WHY you are learning your target language(s)
Sometimes merely deciding to learn a language just to be able to speak it doesn’t cut it. If the latter remains your only motivation, then when the obstacles begin to rain, you are definitely going to scurry off seeking shelter. What I am saying is that it is okay to start off with the desire to speak the language as your initial motivation. However, it is important that you add other goals along the way such as working or living in a country that speaks your target language(s). For example, I have learned Spanish and I’m currently studying Portuguese and French with the goal of working as an English as a second language teacher in Colombia, Brazil, Canada and Spain among other countries. With goals like these, rain becomes an illusion and whenever you feel like giving up after you lost your 5-day streak in Duolingo, it would not be difficult to regain your composure and continue your trek towards fluency.
Our newest teachers in Myanmar got to put their TESOL course knowledge to the test during the 2nd week of the course. They visited a nunnery outside of Yangon to teach some of the youngest Buddhist nuns living there. (Pictured is Greenheart Traveler @ali_isinwonderland!) #greenhearttravel #teachinmyanmar #myanmar
Image by @greenheart _travel
2. Switch up your routine
Change is good. I repeat. Change is good. The same way that changing your workout routine or even the route you take to get to work or school on mornings can boost your mood and your motivation is the same way switching up your study routine can impact you. There isn’t one way or a right way to learn a language. What is useful is that you expose yourself to as many resources and tools as you can and pinpoint the most effective ones. For example, I never used language learning apps or language exchanges to become fluent in Spanish. However, now this is an essential part of my study routine for both Portuguese and French with the assistance of apps like Italki, Mondly, Duolingo, Skype and Whatsapp. Also, about a week ago, I started singing songs to practice my pronunciation in Portuguese, using a textbook to brush up on my French grammar, and exploring other language accounts on Instagram for inspiration and tips.
For more information about the mentioned apps you can check out my previous post, “Language Hacking at its best!“.
Image by @lindsaydoeslanguages
3. Have FUN!
If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen the post that I shared 1 day ago that promoted the message about not being too hard on yourself when learning another language. I know I just said that knowing the purpose of studying a language was the most important thing. Now, I want you to forget that I said that because having fun is the key. Yes, you can have fun learning your target language(s) by simply incorporating your hobbies into your study routine. For example, if you love music, you can listen to covers of your favourite songs or even watch The Voice in your target language(s).The same thing applies if you’re a gamer, you can try playing FIFA 18 with Spanish or French commentary, and if you are into makeup and hair, you can watch tutorials dubbed in your target language(s). I for one love music and I often spend my free time looking for new music in my target languages or I ask my friends for their favourite songs so that we can have Skype karaoke sessions. Having fun in anything we do makes the obstacles worth overcoming.
These tips are just 3 out of many that you can use to combat your dipping motivation levels. If you know any others, please share in the comments.
– Un saludo afectusoso, Jer.