Staying motivated as a student is one of the hardest tasks and biggest obstacles to achieving fluency. Language learning is indeed a difficult challenge for most students. As a learner, it is important to work hard at acquiring fluency. Great teachers know this. The question is, do they always share this with their students? Do they fear that they are demotivating them by saying how difficult it is? Saying that learning is the student’s responsibility?
Even though learning a language can be difficult, focusing on improving your own motivation will get you to your goal. Here are some inspirational tips to help you get, and, remain motivated, so you will succeed.
You are the master of your own success.
Teachers can do many things. We can inspire, motivate and educate. Without a student’s effort and positive attitude, we can only do so much. You, the student, need to do your part to get motivated and believe in yourself. The best teacher in the world can’t force you to learn. It’s in your hands. Take the responsibility.
Plan your goals and stick to the plan.
Goal setting with a realistic, well thought out plan is a map for success. Set a learning target. Take a calendar and fit in 15 minutes to an hour every day to do some activity to help you reach your goal. Don’t just rely on your school’s syllabus and books to make you achieve. Add extra activities to your learning plan.
Actions speak louder than plans.
Now that you have your plan, you have to follow it. You have to take action to get results. The reality is that if you take 3 hours of language classes per week, this is only around 6 days per year. You need to do work at home as well. Watch TV, movies, read books, practice speaking even if it is to yourself.
Change your ”to-dos” into “been-dones”.
Achieving your own goals is one of the most successful motivators in the world. Making a plan of what you need to do and doing it is positive action. Staying positive is just as easy as being negative. Success comes from a positive attitude. Make a change to the positive.
Your goals are your dreams, shoot for the goal.
Most adult students are studying because they want to, or have to. This is your dream. You are the person who needs to do the work. Teachers don’t need practice speaking in class. You do. Make the effort to take every opportunity to practice in class and learn. If you don’t take the shot, you’ll never score.
Quitters never win. Refuse to quit.
Who sets a goal to lose? Who says, “Let’s get out there and fail”? Not winners. When you set your mind to learning and commit to it, you will learn something every time. It may only be 75% of your target today, but that is 75% more than a quitter has learned.
You can do it. You will do it. You are doing it. You’ve done it.
Nike had the right idea with their “Just Do It” campaign. For 27 years this slogan has motivated millions. Hmmm… there must be something to perseverance. Keep going, studying, reading and speaking. With practice comes improvement. Improvement leads to fluency. Believe in yourself and just do it!
Procrastination can be put off until tomorrow.
Stop making excuses. It’s not a problem to come up with reasons not to study. Excuses lead to nothing. Ignoring those leads to results. Failure is easy, success takes effort. Make the effort now.
When you reach an obstacle, always go around it.
Hit a roadblock? Having trouble? Find another way. There are thousands of sites, groups and people on the web to help you out. When my Brazilian step-daughter had trouble understanding what her Math teacher was teaching (in Portuguese), I recommended Khan Academy to get a different explanation of the rules (in English). Eureka!!! She understood. She still uses this site today for any subject that she needs help with.
Every problem is just a challenge awaiting your solution.
Find solutions. Don’t wait for others to help you. They don’t know or even understand your problems. Seek out help. Teachers actually like when students bring their challenges to them for help. It shows commitment, motivation and it challenges us to find new ways to help students, making us better teachers.
Every mistake is a learning opportunity.
You must understand that we learn from our mistakes. Don’t be afraid of making them. It shows you are trying. There is no need to apologize when you’re learning. What scares you the most: being afraid to try or being brave enough to commit an error? Be brave.
Only you can break your bad habits, and make good ones.
If you have bad study habits, change them. We can teach you how to learn, how to practice, how to study, but only you have control over your own dedication. Only you can change your mind. The good thing about habits is that good ones turn into routine.
When you have faith in yourself, others will join in.
Believe in yourself, don’t give up. Anything you want, you can do. Soon your attitude will show and people will be there to support you and help you stick to it. Keep the faith.
Today, you are one step closer to the finish line.
You can finish anything you put your heart to. Each day studying a language will bring you closer to fluency. Every step, every word, every bit of practice brings you further along on your learning journey. Some days, it might just be small steps, other days, it may be huge leaps. Either way, the end is always a little bit closer. Stay the course.
* It is a bit ironic that I have written this for English language students worldwide and yet it is in English. Here is my challenge for all of you teachers out there. Please translate this to your language and share it with your students. When you do it, send it back to me and I will post it. Use it as a class project. Have pairs or groups tackle the translation if they are advanced enough. Send me a photo of the class and I will add it to the Facebook page and the blog. What nicer project than to have students helping students. Let’s help to foster a community of motivated learners all over the world.
Rob Howard is the owner of Online Language Center. He is a teacher, tutor, trainer, material designer and author for English as a foreign language. He is also a consultant and has been a frequent speaker internationally regarding online retention as well as using technology in and out of the classroom. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts in the U.S., he is currently residing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.