At some point, you may believe that learning English isn’t for you and you won’t be able to master it. This mindset leads to loss of interest which in turn diminishes your abilities.
You’ll definitely encounter difficulties on your way to fluency in English, but it doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. Just look at millions of English learners who have overcome the same obstacles. So can you.
Let’s debunk the most common myths about learning English together, so you’ll realize that they shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals.
Myth 1: Native Speakers Can Teach You Better
Have you noticed that most language learners prefer lessons with native English speakers? It’s common disbelief, however, that native speakers are better teachers. Why?
First of all, native speakers didn’t have the experience of learning the language as adults. Therefore, they may not be able to understand and empathize with most struggles non-natives adults face.
Moreover, they can often use English grammar correctly without knowing why. It implies that they speak or write accurately but they can’t explain or teach it.
On the contrary, non-native teachers can be more helpful than a native speaker.
It doesn’t mean there are no excellent native teachers, but it’s important to pay attention to skills and qualifications your teacher possesses in the first place.
Myth 2: You Need to Live in an English-speaking Country to Learn the Language
Many non-natives believe that after living in the US, for example, they’ll become fluent in English. Unfortunately, going to one of the English speaking countries isn’t equal to mastering the language. Without learning grammar first, for instance, you won’t be able to improve it. You’ll probably be able to use simple phrases while buying groceries or looking for a restaurant, but that’s far from fluency.
In the Internet era you don’t need to travel around the globe to learn the language. Instead, look for learning opportunities where you are. Create an environment in which your mind always has to use English. Change the language on your smartphone and laptop, watch movies and read books in English, find offline or online friends who are native English speakers and so on.
Myth 3: To be Fluent You Have to Make no Mistakes
Some learners believe that they’ll become fluent only if they observe and correct all mistakes in their speech or writing. It doesn’t work this way as fluent English isn’t only about accuracy.
It’s actually the other way around: focusing mainly on accuracy negatively impacts your fluency and ability to speak naturally and rapidly. Additionally, by constantly eliminating errors or being afraid of making them, you may avoid using complex sentences with sophisticated vocabulary and structure. Not surprisingly, this complexity also adds to your fluency level.
Therefore, try to balance accuracy and complexity and remember that accuracy isn’t everything. Mistakes are totally acceptable and even necessary.
Myth 4: You’re too Old to Learn English at a Sufficient Level
Let’s rely on the studies of respected universities. For example, MIT scientists proved that adults learn language to fluency nearly as well as children.
Instead of limiting yourself by believing that you’re too old to learn English, think of exact difficulties that make you procrastinate? What are you afraid of? Maybe you don’t like offline lessons or learning methods are too tough?
Find what really stops you and modify your learning practice, so that it’s enjoyable and easy. Test different methods with your teacher or by yourself.
Myth 5: Learning English is Boring
If you still believe that English is boring, the problem lies in the chosen learning method, not the language itself!
To increase your motivation, change your learning strategies. Do something new, challenging and exciting. Find situations that force you to use your English skills.
Stop reading boring textbooks. Instead,
- Listen to favorite podcasts;
- Learn songs’ lyrics and sing them using correct pronunciation;
- Follow bloggers whose English you like;
- Video chat with study buddies, who are also interested in learning English.
These are just a few examples of how to make your learning more colorful and engaging. Find what excites and challenges you, and believe us, you’ll love the process.
Myth 6: After Learning All Grammar Rules You’ll Become Fluent
It’s another limiting belief that delays your ability to sound fluent. Many learners believe that when they have learned enough English grammar, the fluency automatically comes into play.
Yes, you’ll eventually be able to use complex, sophisticated structure in your sentences with hard work, but you don’t have to wait until you’ve learned every grammar rule. Take small steps towards fluency everyday from now on. Learned rules should be practised, otherwise you’ll forget it later. Think about every grammar lesson you learn as something you will apply the next day. Cultivate habits that will enhance your fluency on a daily basis and you’ll see the results much sooner.
Myth 7: Once You’re Fluent, You’re Always Fluent
Most people learn the language, spending a lot of time and money, but end up forgetting everything they’ve learned. The reason is that without creating an environment contributing to lifelong learning, the chances to forget the language are too high. Bad news, you have to literally insert English in your life if you want to maintain fluency.
Good news, however, is that you can learn to enjoy the process. Remember to apply methods that you like, experiment with video, audio and other ways of learning, dedicate some time every day and keep the language fresh.
Good luck in your English journey!