Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges and bounce back from setbacks to continue working towards your goals despite difficulties. When it comes to learning English, resilience is a key factor in your success.
So how can we build resilience?
“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again”
Are you familiar with this saying?
Easier said than done sometimes right?
Why do we find it so difficult to fail?
The chances are that like me, you were conditioned to believe that failing and making mistakes was bad.
If you made mistakes you weren’t smart. You were stupid. You were lazy. You were “less than”
But here’s the thing, as you and I now know, that’s all nonsense. Failing is part of learning! What’s more we need to fail to learn.
The problem is, it’s difficult to “unlearn” what we are conditioned to believe.
So “to protect” ourselves we take fewer risks so we are less likely to make mistakes and if we do make a mistake we blame ourselves:
You’re an idiot
Why did you say that, how stupid!
Why don’t you know that?
You should know that by now!
We take even fewer risks to avoid the pain of making a mistake again.
The result is that we are less resilient – we find it hard to get back up and try again.
And so the story goes…
But it doesn’t have to be like that!
5 tips for building resilience as a language learner
1. Set realistic goals for yourself and be patient with your progress.
Learning a new language takes time and effort, celebrate the progress you make, no matter how small.
“Reward your successes and small wins as this positively reinforces the behaviours as the chemical dopamine is released when the reward receptor is activated which increases our sense of achievement, productivity, motivation and feelings of happiness and joy” Always celebrate your small wins! – Raphatherapyservices.com
2. Find ways to stay engaged and motivated
Do what you enjoy doing in life, in English. Watch films or TV shows, listen to music or podcasts, read books…
3. Accept (and welcome) mistakes as a natural part of the learning process.
Everybody makes mistakes when learning a new language, it’s unavoidable. But the good news is, making mistakes is an excellent opportunity to learn and grow.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Whether it’s from a coach, a teacher, a classmate… getting help when you need it can make a big difference. It can help you get “unstuck” and find the courage to keep going.
5. Find your tribe
Belonging to a community of like-minded people who support and encourage you can help you stay motivated and on track when things get difficult.
An interview with Tetyana Skrypkina
We recently had the pleasure in our very own community of listening to Tetyana Skrypkina: Polyglot, certified teacher trainer and creator of #teachingisfun based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Tetyana kindly agreed to join us to talk about:
How to build resilience and find the inner strength to keep going when things are difficult.
Tetyana helps foreign language teachers balance their personal and professional life, to be successful and happy focusing on areas such as self-management, time-management and productivity.
But as a polyglot with a Masters in Applied Neuroscience, Neurological Speech Therapy, and Neuropsychology she also knows a thing or two about learning languages, especially how hard it can feel sometimes and what we can do to be more resilient and keep going!
What’s more since she found herself in the middle of a war at the beginning of this year, Tetyana has had to call on all the tools and strategies she knows. Her bathroom and corridor have even become her office when there are air raid alerts (which is almost every day)!
Tetyana shared some great tips with us for building resilience including the importance of a support network, journaling and the power of reflection, replacing a to-list with a list of hopes being flexible and kind to ourselves and brain-training!
A big thanks to Tetyana for this inspiring interview. If you have any questions you can connect with her via:
I highly recommend you check out her blog post teaching during war
And remember, by cultivating resilience, you can overcome setbacks and continue making progress in your language learning journey.
Happy Smarter Learning
PS if you haven’t found your tribe yet, sign up for my YES mails to take your first step into our amazing community of English learners.
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