We all know the feeling of sitting in a language classroom or any classroom and feeling waves of nervous energy come over you. Your head might be filled with panicked thoughts about an upcoming exam, or it might even be your first language class and you are getting lost and confused with every word. What I try to think about when learning a new language is that everyone has to learn and making mistakes only makes you better and more knowledgeable. At the Easy School of Languages the teachers really make you feel so comfortable and reassured, because learning English should be treated as an adventure and great fun.
The truth is the more you try to speak a new language, the faster you will learn it. When you're lying in bed late at night worrying about speaking in your English lessons the next day, remember whatever you say in class, whether it’s right or wrong is absolutely okay. It takes a lot of courage and commitment to want to learn a new language, so here are some amazing tips on how to manage these feelings to stop it affecting your progress and happiness when learning English in Malta.
1. Remember every word or sentence doesn’t have to be correct…
When you are sitting in class and start to feel nervous when speaking English always remember that you are not the only one and it’s highly likely that most people sitting around you are too. It’s a big thing to speak in front of people, especially in a new language. What is vital is that you change your beliefs and realise that making mistakes when speaking is absolutely okay and actually an advantage in your learning process. When you stop worrying about making mistakes, you start to speak more freely and become more fluent. As a result of this your teacher can identify areas that you need more help in, therefore they can tailor lessons specific to your needs so you develop quicker. When I stopped worrying about all the mistakes I was making when speaking that’s when I started to really progress and feel good about learning a new language.
2. Record yourself speaking at home
When we start learning and speaking English, one of the craziest things is hearing yourself for the first time speak new words and the sounds. When we have to do a presentation or read allowed in class it can be scary but the more you practice the more comfortable you become. The best thing to do is record yourself! It’s a great way to learn new sounds and words and identify areas where you may need to improve. The more you hear yourself speaking a new language, the more natural it will seem to you and your skills in speaking will begin to really improve.
3. Be open to learning new topics and exploring ideas...
When we are learning a new language you will also be exploring topics from politics, to sport or even the environment. It’s an amazing way to broaden your knowledge and learn about other people's ideas and opinions. You might not be an expert on every topic but whatever your opinion is, remember it is valuable and the more you discuss what you are thinking the more comfortable you will become with the English Language.
4. Never be afraid to admit your struggling or ask for help
I have felt this feeling a million times, you know the one where you are really struggling and finding what you're doing difficult but you are too embarrassed to ask for help. Or maybe everyone around you looks like they know what they are doing and your just sitting there feeling so confused. The moment I stopped caring about what others thought of me and just asked for help was when I began to really progress and become better. I could solve any speaking or writing issues quicker and that resulted in myself learning and understanding the language more effectively.
5. Be proud of whatever you have learnt so far
It can be frustrating if you are not speaking as fluently as you would like or improving quickly to reach your English language goals. However it is so important to remember that learning a new language is an extraordinary thing to do and any progress you make is truly amazing. Everybody has high expectations of themselves and it’s what pushes us to achieve great things but at the same time we should focus more on what we have already achieved and take great comfort in that.
Always remind yourself that learning English should be fun and throughout life we will always have to face new challenges that make us uncomfortable but the rewards will be magical.