How to Be a Successful Language Learner?
"Learning a language is easy. Even a child can do it!"
Most adults who are learning a second language would disagree with this statement. For them, learning a language is a very difficult task. They need hundreds of hours of study and practice, and even this will no guarantee success for every adult language learner.
Language learning is different from other kinds of learning. Some people who are very intelligent and successful in their fields find it difficult to succeed in language learning. Conversely, some people who are successful language learners find it difficult to succeed in other fields.
Language teachers often offer advice to language learners: "Read as much as you can in the new language." "Practice speaking the language every day." "Live with people who speak the language." "Don't translate - try to think in the new language." "Learn as a child would learn; play with the language."
But what does a successful language learner do? Language learning research shows that successful language learners are similar in many ways.
First of all, successful language learners are independent learners. They do not depend on the book or the teacher; they discover their own way to learn the language, Instead of waiting for the teacher to explain, they try to find the patterns and the rules for themselves. They are good guessers who look for clues and form their own conclusions. When they guess wrong, they guess again. They try to learn from their mistakes.
Successful language learning is active learning. Therefore, Successful learners do not wait for a chance to use the language; they look for such a chance. They find people who speak the language and they ask these people to correct them when they make a mistake. They will try anything to communicate. They are not afraid to repeat what they hear or to say strange things; they are willing to make mistakes and try again. When communication is difficult, they can accept information what is inexact or incomplete. It is more important for them to learn to think in the language than to know the meaning of very word.
Finally, successful language learners are learners with a purpose. They want to learn the language because they are interested in the language and the people who speak it. It is necessary for them to learn the language in order to communicate with these people and to learn from them. They find it easy to practice using the language regularly because they want to learn with it.
What kind of language learner are you? If you are a successful language learner, you have probably been learning independently, actively, and purposefully. On the other hand, if your language learning has been less than successful, you might do well to try some of the techniques outlined above.