Consider this a public service announcement for anyone who is feeling negatively about their language learning experience. Here we want to provide you with 3 simple methods for getting your mind out of a rut about your abilities.
3 Essential Confidence Boosters:
1. Create an environment
The first step is to create an environment that does not encourage negative feelings about your learning. If people are embarrassing you for making mistakes when learning something new, then you have the wrong kind of people in your life! Never tolerate a teacher, a pupil, or a colleague that will belittle you for trying to improve yourself! The first step towards feeling more confident, in this case, is to surround yourself with an understanding group of people, like fellow learners and English teachers, who will see your mistakes as steps towards becoming a masterful user of the English language. Give yourself the space to make mistakes, mistakes are steps towards improvement.
2. Look silly before looking Professional
The second step is to accept the fact that you have to look silly before you can look professional! It is absolutely essential to remember that no one starts as a professional. Everyone starts as being bad at something before they can become good at something. Feeling embarrassed is perfectly normal. You, and every single adult learner, will feel silly or ashamed for not knowing something. And that is perfectly okay. You have to feel silly before you can feel good! The silly and embarrassing feelings will pass, and we are here to help you through it! Keep persisting, persevere, and know that you are building yourself up towards competency. It just takes time!
3. Tangible forms of evidence of Progressing
The last step is to give yourself tangible forms of evidence that you are progressing and improving your English language abilities. In a classroom, if you have a good teacher, they will make sure that all their learners are aware of how much progress they are making. You will receive marks, praise, and feedback from a teacher who will keep track of what you are doing. If you are an independent learner, you can produce marks for yourself! Find activities that you will do on a regular basis. Just like in a classroom, and make sure you keep a record of the fact that you did those activities.
Sometimes the way you feel about your progress contradicts the reality: you might feel like you are making no progress at all, when in fact, you are steadily learning. A physical mark or tangible record of this fact will help your mind see the reality of your progress and make you a more confident speaker of English.
By Thomas Marais
Thomas is a native English speaker from South Africa, who graduated cum laude and uses his honors bachelor’s degree in the Humanities to provide professional English tutoring to children and adults. He is a TEFL certified teacher and teaches teach both children and adults at any language level.