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Friday, February 10, 2017

Staying Encouraged While Learning English

So you just started your new ESL class. Maybe this is your first time taking English classes. Maybe not. Either way, every ESL class will be a new experience, and the way you feel each time will be different. Learning English can be a difficult or fun experience depending on many factors: the teacher, the classmates, the location of the ESL class (if the location of the class is not comfortable this will affect your learning ability), and YOU. These factors can hinder you from feeling confident in learning English. It can also make you feel discouraged. Here are some ways to stay encouraged while learning English.

Be open to the learning process
There is not just one way to learn English. Each person learns a new language differently and at their own pace. This is okay J Take your time and go with the flow. There are good and bad things in the learning process. Be patient. You will become more comfortable as time permits. Remember, you are learning a NEW language, and that takes time and hard work.

Note: With positive reinforcement and guidance from the teacher (and sometimes from classmates), students can learn effectively and won’t give up when things become difficult.

It’s very important as the ESL student to communicate with both your classmates and teacher. Whether you’re working on a class assignment, have a question or problem, talking to your classmates or teacher can be beneficial.

Talk to your classmates: Talking with your classmates when you’re feeling upset or not understanding the lesson can be a good way to not feel alone. Many students feel the same way as you, but may be too shy to say how they feel. Talking to them about your frustrations will not only help you feel better, but relate to classmates who feel the same way as you do.

Talk to your teacher: Many students don’t feel comfortable talking to their teacher. It’s normal. You want to let your teacher know about your concerns. For example, you feel the teacher is going (or talking) too fast, you don’t understand the lesson, have questions about a class assignment or homework, etc. Remember to be honest and respectful.

Tip: Teachers were once students too so they can relate to how you feel. When teachers know how their students are feeling, they can adjust the lessons accordingly.

Working with your classmates
You will be working with your classmates whether it’s through pair work or group activities. That is part of the learning process. Working with your classmates is a great way to meet new people, learn about different cultures, languages, and ideas, and share common interests. It’s also a way to help each other in understanding concepts like grammar, reading or writing activities, and conversation practice.

While getting to know your classmates, be careful to not become too personal. Sharing is a nice way to learn about someone, but sharing personal information is risky. Be mindful of what you share with your classmates or teacher.

Examples of personal information
·         Relationships
·         Where you live (address)
·         Your social security number, bank information
·         Politics (unless it’s part of a lesson, do not discuss your political views)
·         Religion (unless it’s mentioned in a lesson, do not discuss your religious views or encourage your classmates to join your religion)
·         Sexuality

Note: There are some ESL lessons I have done where the topic of politics and religion came up. It was in a formalized manner and students DID NOT discuss their personal views on the subject but rather on the lesson. For example: discrimination at the workplace

Tip: You want to be careful NOT to offend or disrespect anyone by discussing these topics. In many cultures such topics are NOT allowed.

Dealing with frustration
You will feel frustrated while learning English. This is natural and affects all ESL students as well as teachers. Coping with frustration will help you to keep trying and not to give up.

·         Remember your purpose for learning English. This reminder will motivate you to continue learning English despite how you feel
·         Pace yourself/Take your time
·         Breathe
·         Ask for help (classmates and your teacher)
·         It is OKAY to make mistakes. Making mistakes is part of learning
·         Try your best
·         Don’t give up

Note: Teachers make mistakes too J

My advice to ESL students
Learning a new language is not easy but it’s possible. Be proud of yourself. Many people cannot do what you’re doing. You are only human. You will not understand everything, you will make mistakes, and you will feel frustrated. You will NOT learn English in a day. Remember your purpose for taking English classes and pace yourself. Don’t give up…you WILL get there. TRY YOUR BEST J

For more tips, check out my latest video here

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