The secrets of motivation – Part 2

In the previous article called “The Secrets of Motivation 1”, we gave a few hints as per how to stay motivated to learn French in the long run. Here’s a little more about this topic.

1. Adapt your environment to use French straight away

Learning is much easier and motivating when we can use our skills straight away. The same applies to French. Learning a language we can’t use is a potential source of frustration. This is
particularly relevant when we’re learning for future projects.

After completing several French courses, if we don’t use our new skills straight away, what will remain of them after a few weeks? A few months? A year?

Here are a few tips for you busy learners to make learning French worth it even if you don’t live in a French-speaking environment.

Adapt your environment to create yourself opportunities to practice French straight away: find a language partner online, a local community of (native) French speakers, a community on a social network sharing one of your passions. You can also hire a private teacher to focus on language practice with you. This way you’ll always have an opportunity to use and speak FrenchIt’ll also be a great way to see how much you’ve improved as you get more comfortable.

Alternatively, why not hire a language coach who’ll give you a boost as soon as you need one. A language coach is someone with experience in language learning. They’re generally language teachers who are familiar with a lot of different language learning methods and can help you define yours. They can also help you determine the most relevant resources to reach your goals and strategies to adapt your environment to include language practice into it.

2. Challenge yourself (but not too much)

Having someone to speak French with isn’t enough. Most of the time they’ll be happy to talk to you but if you can’t follow the pace, it’s highly probable that both of you will quickly get frustrated.

What you should avoid at any cost, is to turn a conversation practice into a translation session. During a translation session, you ask your language partner every single word you don’t know and you end up with a list of hundreds of words which will be extremely hard to memorise.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is important when you speak a language. When you start experiencing difficulty to express yourself with ease, try to say what you want with the words you already know. When you can’t cope anymore with the words you know and need your language partner to translate words for you, it’s time to stop!

In a nutshell, you have to make a clear distinction between learning and practice. When learning, you can learn new vocabulary and grammar rules. When practicing, you try to use what you’ve been learning and develop communication skills.

By using in priority the language elements you’ve been studying, instead of trying to say too many things you don’t yet @master, you’ll immediately see how much you’ve improved or what aspects of the language you should keep studying.

Finally, create yourself a methodology toolbox. Learning French is one thing. Learning how to learn French is another story.

If you think about your native language, although you already speak it very well, it keeps evolving in your mind. When you have to face specific situations related to law, medicine or read any topic that’s not directly related to your daily life, you will for sure come across unknown vocabulary and language usage.

In these situations, you’re generally able to use different strategies to overcome these understanding/communication problems. You look up words, read more
about the topic, ask family and friends whenever possible.

Why should it be otherwise with French? It’s just new words and codes to communicate in new contexts. And if you’re able to cope in your own language, why couldn’t you in another language?

Learning how to learn a language will give you a sense of control and mastery that will help you overcome any learning difficulty and keep you motivated over longer periods.

Things with a medium level of difficulty are way more motivating than extremely hard things…

What about you? Have you already created yourself a suitable environment to practice
French? Do you think developing learning skills is also important to stay motivated in the long run? We’ll be happy to read your comments and we wish you all the best on your journey learning French.

Join us at Expatlang, your French Language school. We offer different French courses for expats, wherever you are on the French Riviera, in Nice, Marseille, Cannes and Monaco!