How Attitude Affects Language Learning

So you are learning a foreign language! Maybe it’s a core requirement, or maybe you really do want to improve your skills in this new language. But you feel you are progressing slower than you like. Is there anything else you can do to move things along more quickly? I believe so. One of the areas I would suggest looking at is your emotional response to learning a new language. Or this particular language. Here are my thoughts on how attitude affects language learning.

The article How to learn English effectively goes into the principle in depth, so even if English is not the language you are learning, it’s worth reading the article to understand the underlying factors around language learning.

Attitude and language learning

Identify components of past language learning experiences

How would you rate your experience the last time you learn a new language? Or this particular language you either want to learn or required to learn?

If your answer reveals some internal ideas that may be holding you back around language learning, read on.

For many of us, learning a foreign language was a requirement in school. And depending on the teacher, we might have learned it more as grammar rules to remember. We might not have opportunities to actually use the language with a native speaker. And having to pass an exam to get credit for a foreign language requirement does not really help in how we approach the learning experience.

Think of your favorite class. Why was it your favorite class? You like the teacher’s way of teaching. You are interested in the subject. The learning atmosphere was pleasant and encouraging, etc. etc.

Apply successful components to your current experience

Apply those insights to your current language learning experience. Which element can be transferred? The atmosphere? Can you create the kind of encouraging environment for yourself with this new language learning experience? What about surrounding yourself with opportunities to observe the language in action? Visiting an ethnic store where you can hear native speakers using the language?

When you give more attention to creating this positive, encouraging atmosphere for your new language learning experience, the results you see will uplift you. Even motivates you. And the old barriers will gradually be replaced by the new positive doors you are opening for yourself.

If you find this blog helpful, here is one on How ESL students can get higher writing scores.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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