Spanish – Relax. Engage. Learn.- DEC 06, 2017
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Learning another language is not easy.
For some, it comes naturally; their brains are wired for it. For the rest of us, it is time to come to terms with the fact that language learning is more a mindset than memorization. Unless we’re among the few whose brains are made for language, we need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and chill out! You don’t go to yoga classes to become a yogi. You go because it provides fitness and makes you feel good. Language learning is similar. You do it for lots of reasons, but becoming fluent is too big a goal and tends to hold you back.
Language learning is good for your brain.
The process of language acquisition is a whole-brain learning activity. It offers your brain the opportunity to flex its muscles and grow. When you push your brain, it will grow. It grows by making new neuron connections. Language and math learning are hands down the most efficient methods of making this happen.
Why can language learning seem so daunting?
It is because it is a whole-brain activity. You can learn verbs and vocabulary but when someone talks to you or you need to say something, you blank. This is because you need the new information to be used holistically. When you listen or read, your brain throws out images, thoughts and memories to make sense of what is happening. This is accomplished by calming down, laughing and not taking yourself or the current situation so seriously.
Keep it simple.
Say what you can say, not what you want to say. Simplify your language to the level you are in. You will sound like a caveman in the beginning and that is exactly what you are supposed to sound like In the first steps of learning. You have no need to conjugate and you have no need to get it right. It is about giving it a try, chewing on the new sounds you need to make and settling into being a fool a better part of the time.
Stress is the killer; you stress and you blank.
When this happens, you are feeling your brain trying to level up to whole-brain thinking. It can be frustrating and at times maddening, but if you never push your noggin to do this, it never will. The more you ask of your brain and intend for holistic learning and thinking to occur, the closer you get to success.You’ll know it’s working when you have your first five-minute conversation — a definite reason for celebration. Relax and play and use translation apps when you need to communicate something important.
Language learning should be fun, engaging and interesting. If it isn’t, you are wasting your time.
Take classes, play Duolingo and watch TV. Learn verbs and vocabulary, pick up a dual-language newspaper and just keep trying until each part of the language comes together naturally. You should engage in language study at least 20 minutes a day. Each day, you should vary the activity and it should always be engaging. We don’t learn when not engaged. It should be a lifelong process and a change in mindset, not something that will happen overnight or miraculously. Lucky for you, you are in the right place at the right time!