Students often tell me that they’re frustrated that they’ve been in the same level for so long. Today I would like to address some of the main reasons why this may be. Next week I will have a few more.
1 – Inconsistency.
Signing up for classes is great, but you actually have to come to class consistently if you want to make progress 🙂
2 – Lack of practice.
Coming to class once a week is great, but if that’s all you do, your progress is going to be excruciatingly slow. Imagine wanting to lose 500 lbs. by going to the gym once a week. Just like working out, learning a language is something that needs to take priority in your life a minimum of 3-5 days per week (at least you don’t get sweaty learning Spanish).
3 – Avoiding weaknesses.
Many students say “I don’t understand native speakers, so I don’t watch tv” or “I have a hard time expressing myself verbally, so I would rather listen.” Working on your weakness is the only way to improve!
4 – Keeping the same routine.
Many students love DuoLingo, so that’s how they practice Spanish outside of class. Some students love to read, so that’s how they choose to practice. These are both great ways to improve your Spanish, but you can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect to get different results. The better way to approach it is to concentrate on one thing for about 3 months and then switch to something else. Just as you cannot improve your running time by lifting weights, you cannot improve your listening skills by doing all the talking. You have to change it up.
5 – Inappropriate level practice.
The higher the level, the more difficult it is to advance. This is because you need to step out of your comfort zone and start working on the part of Spanish that may be uncomfortable for you. Trying to move into a higher level by not adjusting the ways in which you practice is like trying to understand trigonometry by working on your basic math skills for 10 years. There is a point when you need to read newspapers, watch tv, use complicated verb tenses, etc., or you will not advance past a mid-high intermediate level. Ever.
Are you guilty of some of these practices? What will you change?