You’re getting ready for an international trip and decide you want to speak the language. So you do a quick search and start watching a few videos on YouTube, take some time learning vocabulary on Duolingo, maybe even purchase a few supplies. You begin learning the language with so much motivation and drive because you want to learn fast and be able to speak when you get to this lovely country.
Then somehow, as the days and weeks pass, your “streak” on Duolingo ends, you begin learning only occasionally, and your dream seems so much further away than you originally imagined. What happened? How did you lose so much steam when you were ready to learn so fast?
The first reason you aren’t learning as quickly as you would like is that you don’t have a specific plan. Saying “I want to speak _____ for my next vacation” and then diving into whatever you can find is not a plan. Flying by the seat of your pants is also not a plan.
When you learn a language, you have to be very intentional about what you are learning and how you are learning it. You need to know what you need to learn so that when it is time to study, you can actually accomplish what you need to progress.
STEP 1: You need a study plan. Your study plan must include content that gets progressively more difficult as you learn and grow with it.
STEP 2: If you want to learn fast you have to focus primarily on listening and speaking. Skip the reading and writing for now and focus only on listening and speaking. Make sure you chose to listen to audio in your new language that will help you progress the most. If you want to learn fast, you don’t have time to mess around, so choose wisely.
Want help choosing? Comment below or email me (email@example.com) and I’ll help you out.
STEP 3: Remember, you actually have to practice speaking your new language. It’s a muscle memory thing and it will take a while for your muscles in your mouth to learn how to form these words. Start speaking your language today for the best results.
This one is absolutely essential if you want to be ready to speak by the time you are in this new country.
Weird, right, you need to practice speaking to learn how to speak the language? Who knew! And no, talking to the robots on Duolingo is not going to cut it. You have to actually practice talking with live individuals.
How fun is it really to speak a language only to robots and screens. Isn’t the whole point of speaking a language the ability to communicate with other people?
You Aren’t Enjoying it . . . Yet.
Another reason you are losing the motivation to achieve your dream is that you aren’t enjoying it. You haven’t reached FLOW.
What is FLOW, you might ask?
I’m sure you have heard of it before, and just didn’t know. Work flow, runner’s high, in the zone.
FLOW is the phenomenon where you are so engrossed in your work that you lose track of time. You are absorbed by what you are doing, and you begin to lose your sense of bodily awareness. Have you ever experienced that before? At work, climbing a mountain, or even exercising?
This is a theory used often times in recreational settings to help you become fully engrossed in the task at hand so you can then learn from what you are doing. It is the total experience of the task.
Did you know that you can actually use this theory and make it work for you? It’s not as happenstance as you thought. You can actually intentionally create a language learning plan that helps you reach a FLOW. How?
The Language Learning Motivation Sweet Spot
This chart illustrates how flow works. The basic idea is that the challenge needs to match, and be slightly above, your ability level. If the challenge is below your ability, you get bored. If the challenge is too far above your ability, you feel overwhelmed and stop. Read more about FLOW here.
Unfortunately, this happens a lot when you learn a language. There is a lot of information out there on learning French, but the problem is not everything and anything French is appropriate for your level right now. If the information you come across is too detailed, you can get overwhelmed and may even stop learning for a time until you can re-muster the motivation.
You need to have appropriate stepping stones, know your expectations, and not get too lost down any one black hole.
The key is to make FLOW work for you.
Find material that you are comfortable with, then take it one step up to make it a bit of a challenge. Just enough to grow, but not so much that you feel buried under a pile a dirt. Beautiful dirt, but dirt you don’t know how to use yet.
Match it up right, and you’ll get a beautiful FLOW that will keep you in a place of wanting to keep learning more and more.
FLOW keeps you motivated.
The #FindYourForeignVoice Method
Introducing the #FindYourForeignVoice Method. This method basis is FLOW. While you won’t experience FLOW every. single. time. you sit down to learn a language, you will find FLOW within your studies. That FLOW will keep you going.
- To use the #FindYourForeignVoice method, you need to sit down and create a learning plan. Or get your own pre-prepared plan here. Start learning step-by-step as you improve and grow.
- Next, with your learning plan and a notebook in hand, get to studying. Complete some self-study on your own on each topic. Learn how to conjugate the verbs in a simple way, and learn grammar as you go.
- After you have completed your foundations and are able to have a simple conversation about your family, start finding people to practice the language with. Make sure you find a tutor that helps you attain FLOW. If your tutor is not encouraging you to speak at least 50% of the time (which yes, you CAN do even if it’s slow), find a new tutor! Don’t be paying people just to talk at you in your new language. A great tutor who uses the #FindYourForeignVoice method will get you to speak at least equally in the conversation.
Remember, you absolutely CAN learn French and you can stay motivated to learn quickly. Really, the greatest enemies to learning French fast are the overwhelm of something that is too complicated or the boredom of something that doesn’t challenge you enough. Once you make your learning plan using the #FindYourForeignVoice method, you’ll be able to learn far more quickly than you thought possible!
**DISCLAIMERS: This post may contain links to affiliate content. Please note that I always recommend products that are in your best interest and not mine. Please also know that I am not a native French speaker and my pronunciation is not perfect, however, I can definitely help you improve your pronunciation and get to a point where you can converse with native speakers and they can fine-tune your pronunciation.