How we are taught language at school and what to do about it?

A few months ago, when I asked my readers what is their most burning problem with learning languages, I received tons of emails like these:

„I know that one has to be very methodical when learning a language, so I impose myself some targets, like I will learn 10 words a day, or I will read one page of text in Spanish”

„I can’t force myself to learning new vocabulary. All the time I persuade myself that I have no time and when I eventually have some free time, I rest, read, etc”

The bold print is deliberate. They are to show you how people talk about learning languages. What words they use. Most of them think it is a hassle, torment and all other terrible things altogether. Why so? Why is my little daughter so happy to learn new words, to repeat them, to listen to their sound? It is because language learning is fun in its nature until we go to school and we start learning Spanish to get good notes or to pass a test. Some may argue that this is because Spanish learning methods applied in school are boring and obsolete. Yes, this adds to it, but I strongly believe that the first and foremost reason is that young people enter into the word of coercion and doing things for someone else rather than for oneself. Yes, school can convert lots of fun into a boring chore.

At this point please accept my sincere congratulations and respect, that despite the fact that you went through the education system, you still want to learn this beautiful language – Spanish.

I went the same way as you are going now. I learnt my first language – Polish as a child and I do not remember it was a hassle. I took me maybe 3 years to reach the intermediate level. Then I started my education: when I was ten, I started Russian, being twelve I started learning English. And what? In spite of 4 years of Russian I could hardly say a few basic sentences about myself. How about English? It took me almost 10 (!) years to reach proficiency level. And the story goes on: do you think I liked learning Russian? Of course not! I scored the worst notes in Russian comparing to other subjects. After I finished elementary school, we had huge political changes in Poland, we no longer had to live under supremacy of Soviet Union and I did not have to learn Russian anymore! And what happened? Suddenly I realized how beautiful this language is and I wanted it back! I went through my Russian textbooks and this is why I still remember quite a lot of it (although my knowledge is strictly passive). My shift in perception, my ultra positive feelings caused that I still remember what I have learnt, although I do not use this language. This is a contradiction of the curve of forgetting.

How about English? Well, when we, Polish schoolchildren did not have to learn Russian, we had to learn… English. And the story began. I HAD TO learn it. Moreover, I HAD TO learn German as well. Adding on top of it the ridiculous methods of teaching English in school, no wonder it took me so many years… Moreover, maybe the last 4 years of study were really effective, when I started learning for myself and started enjoying it.

As you see I went the way from a natural passion for languages, through a hassle of language learning in the education system to approach shift and rediscovering the beauty and fun of language learning. So, when assumed learning Spanish, I did it because I decided to do so and I did it for pure pleasure. Result? I speak fluently 4 languages (including my native Polish) and I still cannot wait until I have time to resume my Russian!

So, if you already found your passion for Spanish, congratulations! I will give you tools that will help you to protect and develop it. To avoid burnout. If you are not yet sure if you like Spanish or you HAVE TO learn it, I will show you how to awaken that passion that drives your learning.

You will make it!

Martina

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