Learning a foreign language can be very liberating and empowering. It allows people to communicate better, and, as a result, to develop deeper and more successful relationships. The benefits are countless, and they can be applied both to business and personal life.
Yet, many studies reveal that adults often feel negative emotions towards the idea of signing up for classes. As they suggest, unconscious beliefs and traumas can considerably impact the way someone perceives language instruction, to the point of turning it into an unpleasant experience.
If you feel that way, worry not: it is a common mindset, especially among working adults. As you will see, there are many prejudices and emotional blocks that can be preventing you from learning a new language. The good thing is that they can all be defeated, especially if you have a considerate team by your side!
1. Bad experiences
It is quite possible that, as a child, you experienced shame or humiliation while learning a new language. Blame it on some evil colleagues, teachers, or even in your family environment – the point is that many adults are traumatized from past experiences, which makes them fear the idea of asking questions or having a bad accent. Our tip to overcome these negative associations? Simple: go easy on yourself, because no one is perfect! Learning a new language is tough and it represents a different journey for every human being. If you struggle, that doesn’t mean that you will fail. In the real adult world, mistakes are a crucial step in learning, growing, and improving. Embrace them and free yourself from the past!
2. Feeling that it’s too late to learn
Most adults share the belief that the older you get the harder it is to learn new things. But that is nonsense! In fact, there are many reasons why it can be even easier to learn a foreign language as a grown-up. To begin with, you have the benefit of previous learning experiences, which give you a greater capacity for understanding, observation, and deduction. Besides that, you have more perspective, clear goals, and, most importantly, you aren’t as easily distracted as a child.
So, next time you feel that your age is stopping you from learning a new language (or anything else), just throw that mentality out the window! You don’t need to possess a sponge-like brain to learn anything – you just need the right attitude and devotion!
3. Wanting results too fast
Learning a new language takes time. Even if you’re proficient in Spanish and Portuguese, you will still need plenty of time to have a fluent conversation in French. And by this we mean that you really need to take it easy! Besides, you also should consider that every language has its own learning curve and that some, like Arabic, Mandarin or Russian, can take way longer to master than others. Our advice for those in a rush to learn a foreign language? Find a professional learning program (and try to have sessions as often as possible) and immerse yourself in the desired language daily (with movies, music, or even socializing with native speakers).
4. Trying to be perfect
Here’s some food for thought: not even native speakers speak their language flawlessly, so how could you? Don’t waste all your energy obsessing over small details or trying to deliver a flawless accent. If you do, there’s a little thing called perfectionism paralysis that can turn your attempts to learn a new language into a complete failure. Contrary to common belief, the relationship between effort and results isn’t always linear, which means that you must deal with expectations more realistically… and smoothly! Have self-compassion and put things into perspective. Learning a new language as an adult isn’t about being the best or passing a class; it is about enjoying the process, and believing that it will allow you to communicate more efficiently and create stronger relationships.
5. Prejudices and negative associations
If deep down you believe that a certain culture is inferior or bad, or if you associate it with negative experiences, you won’t find the right motivation to engage with it. Learning a new language also means getting familiar with new traditions and ways of living. If you have prejudices and negative associations towards a country or culture, it is evident that you won’t enjoy learning its local language. So here’s our suggestion to deal with this matter: analyze all your negative feelings and try to understand where they come from. You will most likely find them to be unfounded. Then, try to have an open mind and to approach the new culture with curiosity and respect. This way, the learning experience is going to be much pleasant and enriching!
At Language Advantage we are very familiar with all these limiting beliefs. We know that each of our clients has emotional baggage that can hinder the learning process, and that’s one of the reasons why we focus so greatly on the concept of doing business with heart! By being empathetic with all our students, we can understand their fears, apprehensions, prejudices, and negative associations. Having that into account, we create tailored programs that address not only their learning needs but also their emotional demands.
Would you like to see it for yourself? If so, contact our team of experts and let us know your language goals and what’s preventing you from achieving them. Together we will find the best solutions!
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