Boosting your confidence as an English learner

I’m currently working on creating more visibility for my courses, part of the work involves determining the biggest needs of my clients. This, of course, leads me to think about those needs. So what are they?

Apart from the most obvious question of learning or perfecting English, one very big concern that I hear about from 80% of my learners is a lack of confidence. Many of us are much more aware of our weaknesses than of our strengths. So, someone learning English is often very aware of what they don’t know. However, as important as it is to know where we need to improve, it is also imperative to know what we know! There is always going to be a world of things we don’t know, but there is also going to be more and more of what we do know. Learners should zone in on their strengths.

One way I like to emphasize this in my lessons is by frequently reviewing points we’ve already looked at: by going over what we know we gain confidence and solidify those skills. We reinforce our knowledge and gradually add to it.

This process also reminds me of something I read in a book once: one character asked another to make a list of everything good in her life, everything she was thankful for. This helped her overcome difficulties she was experiencing. Similarly, you, as a learner, can keep a list of everything you can do in your second language. Then, add to the list. Be sure to jot down the date, and keep adding what you can do. Refer back to this list every once in a while, remind yourself what you can do, not just what you have left to learn!

Entrepreneurs do something similar: Every time you fail, you learn something from it. So we should always ask ourselves: what did I learn from this particular failure? Just because you fail in something, doesn’t mean you fail in life.

In languages it’s the same- some words/concepts stick better than others, but that doesn’t mean that the stubborn ones will never stick, they just take a little more time. In the end, you probably won’t even notice when you stop making those mistakes because you’ll be focused on the next ones. Remember to acknowledge what you’ve learned: we have to celebrate our wins, no one is going to do it for us.

So here is what I’m celebrating this week: I no longer feel nervous to speak to some over the phone in French. It took me many years to overcome my fear of communicating over the phone in my third language, and I think it’s worth celebrating! Don’t you?

What knowledge do you want to celebrate this week? For example, did you learn a new word, expression, or did you successfully use a new tense? Let us know!

*Thank you to Guille Álvarez for his photo from Unsplash.

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