Students often tell me that they’re frustrated that they’ve been in the same level for so long. Last week I gave you 5 reasons why many students don’t advance and today I will give you a few more 🙂
1 – Have unrealistic expectations
The lower the level, the easier it is to advance. The higher the level, the longer it takes. If you were used to moving up a level every 6 months to a year and have now been in a B2 – C1 level class and have not advanced in a while, it is to be expected. Think of it like this: If you were great at a sport in high school, it could be comparable to a B1 – B2 level of Spanish. If you were great at it in college, it might be comparable to a B2 – B3 level. Now if you went pro in that sport after college, you might be a B3 – C1 level. And if you made it to the Olympics, it would be comparable to a C1 – C2 level.
If you think of it this way, you may realize that going from playing college ball to pro ball, or even the Olympics, is not any easy feat and takes a tremendous amount of dedication. If you’re not putting in the same amount of dedication, you will not be able to reach this level (unless you live in a foreign country for a few years and are forced to use it constantly).
But if you compare it to playing a sport, wouldn’t you be happy with college level? If you reach a B2 – B3 level in a language, you have reached a level that allows you to communicate in useful, typical, every day conversations. I’m not saying that you should just stay where you are and not try to advance, but you should take a moment to realize that you have reached a very valuable, beneficial, effective, functional, admirable level 🙂 And by continuing to practice, you will just get better and better!
2 – Do not repeat when you have been corrected
If you don’t take the time to learn from your mistakes, how do you ever expect to get better?
3 – Tune the class out
Many students check email during class, take calls, look up tons of info on the internet,, etc. If you’re not present in class, you will definitely not advance.
4 – Have a mental block
Many students have already decided that they will never get the subjunctive, or the preterit vs. imperfect, or understanding native speakers, etc. If you have a mental block about a part of learning a language, you will not be able to advance. I truly believe in the saying “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
5 – Let fear run your life
I know from personal experience that it’s terrifying to speak a foreign language when you’re learning it and making all kinds of mistakes. It can feel humiliating. Now that I’m older & wiser I realize that other people, the ones you’re interacting with, don’t see it that way. 95% of the world appreciates someone trying to speak their language and are just happy to communicate. They are not counting your mistakes, they are not judging you, what they’re thinking is “Oh good, we can communicate.”
I hope these tips help you on your journey 🙂