These past few weeks I have been reading quite a lot of blogs regarding language learning. Recently, I stumbled upon this amazing blog and it got me thinking, how does this happen? Where did it go wrong? More importantly, why did I let it happen? I’m sure some of you can relate to my 3 signs of developing bad habits in language learning below.
Earlier this year, I was working diligently on Spanish grammar and I set my goal to finish learning the basics before June. But then, I got distracted by lots of things. Finished one and there were more lining up. As a result, I have not been able to achieve it and it’s August already!
I knew and I see the sign, but the reality didn’t hit me until I read the above blog. So, below are the 3 signs of me slowly developing the bad habit.
Once I finished my daily tasks, I’ve got some free times before moving to the next one. The thought of continuing where I left off did come through my head, but I ignore it and do something else instead. The phrase there’s always tomorrow has become the biggest influence.
Isn’t it similar to the first one? Not in my dictionary. This is the phase after the first one. I did continue the next day, but I lose interest. I studied it, but my mind was rejecting it so I stop. It’s like listening to a lecture where it “goes in one ear and out the other”.
3- Taking a break
When I continue again the next day, it’s still the same. I practically forced myself and my brain was screaming “take a break for god sake!” to me. So yeah, I took a break… a really long one.
I’m guessing the reason my brain was acting like that was because I had started to develop a bad habit and my brain kind of slowly picked up the pattern.
What started as a small habit turn into a big messy one and worse of all, I allowed myself to be controlled by it!
Am I really taking a break?
No, in fact, I started to learn another language. The funny thing is I enjoy learning it because I was using a totally different method.
I was supposed to find out how to make the Spanish grammar lesson more enjoyable but no, I rather took a different route 😀 By the time I finished with basic German, I have completely forgotten about it.
Things I Could Have Done To Prevent It
Give a Second Try
I should not have given up too soon and give myself a second try on the same day, at a different time rather than waiting for tomorrow. I wasn’t strict enough and I certainly wasn’t disciplined enough either.
Find Suitable Time
People say morning is the best time to study because our mind is fresh and it’s easy to absorb new information. That’s indeed true and I have experienced it myself when revising for exams.
Since morning is where I do my daily routine, I studied either in the afternoon or sometimes at night after dinner. The thing is studying at times like this sometimes works but not always. What I should do is:
a. Make an experiment and set a fixed time to study rather than studying irregularly.
b. Find the best time of the day where my brain can absorb information easily.
Know When To Ask For Help
I was self-teaching myself using an app called Spanish Grammar. I admit there were times I struggle because I couldn’t understand what’s being written.
I should have reached out to fellow language learners or native speakers when things get tough and ask for clarification.
But instead, I kept it to myself and that was why my brain can’t handle it anymore. I was hard on myself and that’s just who I am.
I won’t ask for help until I figure and compile all the problems so, I don’t have to ask repeatedly. I did the same with English, so I thought why would Spanish be any different. I was wrong! That’s a lesson to learn.
I should have solved the problem one by one and not saving them all up. I should not have moved to the next one until the current one is crystal clear. After learning a couple of languages I should have known better that rushing into things won’t work.
Diversify The Method
A few months ago, I just happened to chat with a Spanish native speaker and it came to my mind to ask him about the grammar stuff. He explained them in really simple English.
The method I used to learn grammar (an app called Gramática Española) took me a few days to understand while with this method, I easily understood within a few minutes.
The reason I chose to stick to one method is that I’m afraid I will get more confused if I add a different one. I started learning Spanish using Duolingo and they also explain the grammar stuff a bit. At that time, I focused more on just learning and adding more vocabulary.
So, when I started to dig deeper into the grammar using the app after almost 7 months of using Duolingo, I noticed they explain it differently.
Getting out of the comfort zone isn’t always easy, but with language learning I should have braved myself, take the risk and experiment with various methods. That’s the only way to succeed.
I did mention I learned a couple of languages and you may be thinking why don’t use the method you’re already using? Have you ever heard of what works for one might not work well for the other? Well… this is it.
I’m sure there are a lot of language learners out there that can relate to all of the above situations. People are sharing their success stories and here I am sharing with you the ugly process of learning a language.
But hey, I just want you to know it’s perfectly normal because this is part of the learning process. No one is perfect from day 1.
You should embrace your mistakes and have faith in your hard works, it will pay off. If I can find the right word that best describes my situation, it would be “work smart, not hard”
So, what are your worst situation and how do you handle them? Feel free to share them below.