I can help…just read below!
Create clear and realistic goals:
For many English learners, they feel like they stop making sufficient progress once they hit a specific level, especially for intermediate learners. There is a reason for this. When you first start learning a language, you pick up new words, vocabulary, and ideas very quickly. However, once you reach a certain level, your fluency slows down and you see many words again and again. The first time you unbox a new computer or phone, you might spend all day playing it, but after a while, you might not use it much at all. The novelty has worn off, and it is no longer as interesting or fun as when it was new. This is the same with your English learning journey.
So, the solution? Set clear and realistic goals. It is a good idea to set 3 goals you can follow, one that is easier, one that is challenging, and one that is hard. By doing this, you can start to make progress again quickly, while reaching the second goal a little later, before ultimately reaching your final goal at the end.
Track your progress:
How can you make progress if you do not track your steps?
The first step is to set a routine to improve your English and keep a track of what you have done each day. If you read for 20 minutes, make a note of it. What did you read? A book, an article, a magazine? What did you enjoy about it?
When listening, how long did you listen to the video, podcast, or radio show? What were the topics discussed? Was it easy to understand? Can you explain its content to someone else? Or write a short summary of it, to check your learning/comprehension.
If you have a conversation or do some speaking practice, record it, get feedback, and check your errors, so that you can improve upon them later. Try to speak with a native speaker, or your teacher, so that you can track your progress more easily and so you are able to clearly identify which areas you need to keep working on.
If you like to write, keep a learning journal or an English diary, where you can write down your ideas in English. Writing is a great way to better understand your thinking in another language, foster stronger retention and not only keep a note of what you learned, but also expand and develop it when writing it down.
Many times, we plateau because we don’t push ourselves enough. This makes sense, as we are not robots. When we do not challenge ourselves, it is easy to give up and lose motivation. So how can you challenge yourself?
We start to make real progress when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Many of my students found that by creating a clear plan, and working on it day by day, they were able to make progress quickly, especially when they have short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals to work towards.
When you read something, do you take time to check the vocabulary you do not know? Do you put those words into sentences, then put them into a paragraph, and then record yourself reading it? This can be a great way to challenge yourself to go beyond your usual approach.
When speaking or listening, do you check and ask questions if there is something in a conversation you do not understand? Do you know how to get ‘unstuck’ when you are lost, or how to get the conversation back on track?
Do you regularly write summaries or a journal of things you have read, seen, or heard? Do you challenge yourself to try reading more difficult texts, turn off the subtitles to your favorite TV show, or only listen once to a recording or podcast?
Of course, these steps can seem difficult at first, but once you build practice and confidence, you should be able to succeed very quickly!
Get expert help to get you to the next level:
If you want to run faster, do you run more? Do you buy better shoes? Or do you get a specialist coach to help you understand ‘how’ to run faster, looking at mechanics, skills, and techniques? Just like running, the same is true when you have hit your language Plateau. If you are looking to improve your speaking, take a professional speaking/communication course with a teacher on italki. If you want to be more effective in your writing, get an expert writer to help you. Just like anything in life, if you have an expert by your side, coaching you and giving you the right information, you can soon begin to see progress!
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Feel free to share your comments below, and if you would like to learn more, feel free to reach out to me. I’ll be happy to help!