Like all the challenges we face in life, learning a new language can also be challenging. During this journey, especially at the beginning, feelings of distrust, fear, boredom and even stress can be experienced.
Unfortunately these emotions can interfere with learning and memorization skills, making the journey even more difficult and creating a sort of vicious circle.
As humans, when we sense a stressful and fearful situation, our nervous system reacts, provoking these unpleasant emotions and releasing a hormone called cortisol, which allows us to react instantly. Although this hormone allows you to be more attentive and concentrated, unfortunately it causes alterations in other parts of the nervous system, some of which are responsible for memory.
It is as if the brain shuts down those systems that are not necessary for survival, concentrating its energies in other areas.
No English book puts our lives in danger, but by experiencing emotions of fear and stress we activate this unpleasant system, which in the long run interferes with learning ability.
So what to do when you find yourself in a similar situation? If we look at this obstacle from another angle, we understand that English is not the problem. But our approach to challenges and difficulties.
We have many resources at our disposal to transform a difficult and boring experience into something fun and positive. And this is exactly where we need to start.
Without going into scientific details, there are several studies linking positive emotions and learning abilities. These studies have found that when people are immersed in a pleasant situation, they retain information better.
In other words, they are more efficient. They improve in less time and are able to transform the acquired information into action.
If we carry this statement in the field of languages, young people who study in fun situations, in pleasant and familiar environments, have a much better chance of improving and becoming fluent in speaking. Especially if they have interactions with other people, with whom they can talk freely, even allowing themselves a few laughs.
So one of the keys to improving your English is to create fun and enjoyable opportunities to learn. Not only therefore the classic lessons and daily homework sessions. It is important, if possible, to involve friends and to attend, for example, summer English courses.
Or focus on something even more engaging, like an English holiday. Just the idea stimulates emotions of curiosity, interest and spirit of adventure. Especially if you think that you will be able to stay with a local family and that there will be lots of new things to discover. Whether it's an English homestay or a summer English course, we've listed some fun ways to make learning English an enjoyable and positive experience.
When we think of “fun” and “laughter” the first thing that comes to mind is play.
But who said that playing is a waste of time? Playing itself is one of the best stress-busting activities out there. It can be done alone, with a smartphone, or in a group.
There are many ways in which we can take a break and distract ourselves for a few minutes from life's problems. And if we combine play with language learning, there are many benefits. From classic board games like Scrabble to smartphone apps, there are many ways to build your vocabulary while having fun and challenging your friends.
For this reason, many teachers like to let their students play, for example during summer English courses or language workshops.
One of the causes of frustration and negative feelings that can arise in language learning is mistakes. They can relate to grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation. Wherever the problem is, it is important to know how to play down and laugh about it. Otherwise you risk getting trapped in fear of making a mistake, which leads to getting stuck and not speaking fluently.
You learn from making mistakes, says an ancient proverb. But the opposite is also true, you have to learn to make mistakes, that is, to accept your mistakes with awareness. Only in this way can negative sensations such as fear and anxiety be stopped.
There is no rule on how long it takes to learn a new language. We are the ones who often set ourselves sometimes unrealistic limits and create anxiety and stress.
Everything has its time, and learning a language requires patience and perseverance. As in many other things, haste is an obstacle and you have to accept the fact that it takes time to achieve results. It seems paradoxical, but by studying calmly and serenely, taking all the necessary time, many more benefits are obtained in less time.
The same goes for when you feel lazy or unmotivated. In reality, perhaps we are just feeling tired and need a break.
There's nothing wrong with that. You can replace active study with passive study, i.e. watching movies or listening to music in English, for example.
Or find an online language partner, to text and share our moment of laziness.
Just like gaming, a stay in English can help make learning a second language a pleasant experience. Leaving for a holiday in English is a stimulating idea which in itself makes you want to concentrate your energies on studying in the previous months. It also means embarking on a new adventure, taking a plane and leaving for a new country. Like Ireland for example. If you think about how many times you've seen those beautiful unspoiled landscapes or the romantic atmosphere of Irish cities, now all of this can become a reality. Here on Hebe there are many families willing to host you for a few weeks. Homestays verified by both Hebe and authorities, already experienced in hosting students during their stay in English. An English holiday is so full of positive stimuli that students will be in the best position to learn. And they will be in continuous contact with the language, both with the host family and during the English courses. They will therefore not have to worry about active or passive study. Even in moments of leisure and breaks, English will always be with them and they will have many opportunities to develop positive emotions and useful for learning.