Are you stuck with your English?
Do you feel that you are often paralyzed when you are around native English speakers?
Even though you have spent hundreds or thousands of hours in your life studying English, do you feel confused and insecure, making the same mistakes over and over again?
If you feel this way, you are not alone!
Today I want to share the story of my student, Alfonso. Alfonso and I worked together this spring for about 2 months and during that time, we learned how you can go from "stuck and discouraged" to "unstuck and motivated" in a short period of time.
The truth is, Alfonso improved dramatically during the two months that we worked together and I am going to share with you exactly what he did so that you can do the same thing!
How Alfonso Went from Stuck to Motivated in 2 Months
#1) He recognized his problem
Alfonso knew that his old methods of studying English weren't working. He had spent many hours studying English with no results.
In this situation, some students continue and they believe that they just need to work harder.
If your current methods aren't working you need to stop, think about exactly what's not working, and change it.
No matter how hard you work, if you are using the wrong method (maybe that's memorization or boring grammar exercises), it will never get you to your goals.
Alfonso was smart enough to recognize this and he made a change. That change put him on a new path with his English.
#2) He invested in his dream
It is very easy to find English-learning material on the internet for free.
Just go to You Tube and type in English and you will get THOUSANDS of results. Does that mean that those videos will help you reach your goals? Not necessarily!
Alfonso recognized that he needed one-to-one practice and a customized course with a beginning and an end.
He also knew that he needed to spend at least 3 or 4 hours per week practicing English.
This type of learning plan cannot be found for free, but sometimes it's far more expensive (wasted time and energy) to take the free options than it is to invest in your own dream of speaking fluenty. Read more about why learning English for free (or cheaply) is a bad idea
#3) He set a specific goal
When we began working together, Alfonso already knew what he wanted to accomplish.
He wanted to be able to take online courses from MIT. I thought that was a great idea and a perfect goal.
We set a goal that by the end of our course in 2 months, he would be able to take an online MIT course and would be able to understand at least 75% of the English.
Because we set the goal, our work became very clear and it became much easier to work toward that goal in the class. Many of the activities that we did in class were directly or indirectly related to this goal.
#4) He showed uncommon dedication and intensity
I havent' seen many students who work as hard as Alfonso worked. He was extremely determined and dedicated.
He spent hours before and after the class reviewing our notes and corrections. He was also curious about the language and about new words and expressions.
He seemed to truly enjoy the process of learning.
That helped him to stay motivated and to keep doing homework outside of the class.
#5) He immersed himself in English (from Spain)
It is possible to improve your English without living in the United States or the UK!
Alfonso took our lessons by Skype from his home in Madrid.
In Madrid it is not easy to find opportunities to practice English.
Alfonso found a way to use English outside of our classes.
He watched movies and documentaries in English. He started a blog and wrote a few posts in English. He occasionally wrote emails in English. He found a way to use the English skills that he had learned in class and that helped him to become a more natural speaker.
What happens now?
Alfonso is on a new path with his English!
It is now mid-June, two months after Alfonso began his class and he is in a different state of mind when it comes to English.
We learned that so much of your English success is determined by your state of mind while you are learning.
If you feel that learning is a chore and that it is boring, you will not improve much. If you have fun in class and work hard toward a specific goal, you can go from being stuck to feeling new possibilities and a new sense of freedom in your learning.
Alfonso has started to think about English in a new way and I am confident that he will continue to improve in the future! I had so much fun working with Alfonso and I hope you will think about learning in a similar way.
Thank you, Alfonso, for your hard work!