Simple And Easy Ways To Overcome Anxiety In Learning English
Learning a language is not easy. At some point, you may feel intimidated speaking a new language, or tongue-tied because you are experiencing xenoglossophobia or Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA). This fear may discourage you from practicing the English language due to a lack of confidence. You may be shy to express yourself thus makes you reluctant to speak and avoid participating in any English speaking situations. It can slow you down from reaching your English learning goals or even make you give up learning further. If this fear hinders you from practicing and improving your English language learning, it must be dealt with properly.
There are certain things you can do to boost your confidence and ensure your progress in English learning. Read on to discover the 12 ways on how to overcome your fear of speaking the English language.
1. Understand your fears and learn to overcome them.
Assess yourself and think about what exactly are you afraid of using your target language? Is it because you fear to speak in front of others, worry about making mistakes, fear of receiving negative feedback, or being judged by others? Most of the time, the apprehension of speaking in a foreign language is caused by ego. If this is the reason, then you have to free yourself from it. You can do this by realizing that your culprit comes from within, so you have to deal with it from within as well. Instead of worrying, think that there is nothing to be intimidated about because you are a learner. You are not a native speaker so lapses are understandable.
2. Determine your problem areas
It is easy to dwell too long on something that makes you stuck without finding any solution. You may find yourself staying longer than you should without doing anything but just being overly critical at your mistakes. If you just keep on looking at your mistakes and focusing on self-blame, you will only end up repeatedly stuck on that problem area. Identify your weak points and start working to overcome them. May it be vocabulary, grammar rules, word order, thought organization, or lack of experience in speaking English, rest assured that you can improve on it. By focusing on your weak points, you can master that part of the language that you find yourself having difficulty in.
3. Accept that mistakes will be part of your journey to learn English
Mistakes are inevitable when learning a language. You may find yourself mispronouncing a word, have a grammar error, or word-mixup. When this happens, don’t let it demotivate you even if it happens repeatedly. Every mistake you commit enables you to progress because it gives you a chance to be corrected. The greater the impact of the mistake and correction you experienced, the more you will remember the lesson. If you had an embarrassing mistake about a certain word, then most probably, you’ll never forget that word again because you will associate it with that related event. Hence, as soon as you decide to learn English, accept that you will definitely have some mistakes along the journey.
4. Stop striving for perfection and comparing yourself with native speakers
You may feel that conversing in English with an advanced or native speaker can be intimidating. When you are not able to keep up with the pace of the conversation you may even doubt your own competence. When this happens, remember that you will not be forever stuck in that situation. Remind yourself that you are a learner, who will get better as you keep on learning. But in the meantime, you have to embrace and accept your current English level. Do not set standards that are too high. Be realistic about your ability and how much you can learn each day. Just make sure that you keep on studying and practicing English consistently until you become a more advanced speaker. Comparing your speaking capabilities with other people, and competing who learns faster will not help you but will only frustrate you. Stop pressuring yourself that everything that comes out from your mouth must be correct. It will only make you too careful, that expressing yourself will be difficult because you are too focused on always finding the right words to say.
5. Enjoy speaking with native speakers
English learners may think that they have to speak English flawlessly when conversing with a native speaker. Contrary to what you think, native speakers actually understand if you can’t speak their language fluently yet. They don’t expect you to be perfect nor waiting for you to make a mistake and count it. Instead, they would focus on your message to comprehend what you are trying to say. Native speakers will respect you regardless of your English level ability and understand that it’s a work in progress. You might even be surprised that some would even help you to speak well. If you made some mistakes while talking to them, just smile or laugh at yourself and take your mistakes lightly. You’ll realize that they may just find you amusing.
6. Stop pressurizing yourself to learn too quickly.
Mastering a language doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to fluently speak English immediately. If you aim to learn fast, you may attempt to study excessively. Pushing your limits will only stress you out, that you won’t enjoy learning English anymore. This may demotivate you and perceive that learning English is hard. Give yourself enough time to learn and practice. If you need time to be familiar with English language sounds, learn more about grammar rules, or have to build your speaking confidence first, then do it. Take the process step by step and enjoy yourself as you work towards improving your English language skills. Don’t stress too much about achieving it quickly, as this will eventually happen in its own time. Just have a consistent daily practice.
7. Manage the pace of your conversations
Native speakers may talk fast. If you are in the process of learning English, you may be intimidated when you face this situation. For such instances, manage the speed of your speaking. Matching their speed by attempting to increase your speed also will only lead you to make more mistakes. Try to change the pace of your conversation by speaking clearly and slowly to give the other person a cue to match your speaking rhythm. If your conversation partner still speaks fast, you can courteously ask him to speak slower.
Moreover, don’t be pressured to answer right away. This will only make you try to formulate your response while your conversation partner is still speaking. Instead, listen carefully while the other person is talking. Take a moment to gather your thoughts then express your answer. This will help you to understand the message faster and organize your thoughts better. When you don’t understand something you can courteously ask for clarification instead of nodding and pretending to get it.
8. Listen more
Anxiety may trigger when you are exposed to an unfamiliar event. This also happens to language learners when they don’t understand the messages being said to them. To overcome your anxiety in using English, familiarize yourself with it until you become comfortable in hearing and understanding it. By doing this, you will eventually prevent being intimidated in hearing the language as it has become familiar to you.
Listening will help you to learn English before you can speak it. By listening to it regularly, you will pick up the sounds and become more familiar with pronunciation, accent, and even improve your vocabulary. Hence, if you want to get comfortable with the English language, listen to English programs may it be through radio, TV, or online.
9. Find an effective learning method for you.
If you have been studying English for quite some time now, you may find some learning methods not effective for you. However, since it is the only way you know how to learn English, you stick to it. The problem with this one is that you may eventually be demotivated and not make any progress. Also, you may develop anxiety because it makes you think that English learning is hard. If this happens, you may start looking for excuses not to study English because you don’t enjoy it. If one method doesn’t appeal to you or you think it’s ineffective to you, then start being creative and resourceful. Look for different methods that would work for you and try it. This might mean listening to a podcast about your favorite topic, watching movies or TV programs, reading a book, or understanding the meaning of lyrics in songs. Make sure that your English learning is fun to find a motivation to keep it.
10. Engage in one-on-one conversations
When speaking with native speakers, the flow of conversation can be faster and more complex. You may realize that when you finally engage in a real conversation using the English language, you find yourself lost or tongue-tied. To avoid being overwhelmed speaking with advanced or native speakers, start by engaging in a one-on-one conversation to practice. This will help you to get used to speaking and put all the theories, vocabulary, and grammar you learned to use.
One-on-one conversations will help you gain confidence. If you speak with someone who you can trust to understand you, you won’t be too stressed out while you practice. You can engage in a conversation that is more suited to your level and pace. To ensure that you can learn and practice speaking in English with ease, you can enroll in LingualBox. Tutors will help you to widen your vocabulary and know more about useful expressions to hone your English speaking skills.
11. Keep things simple
Start with keeping things simple to avoid being overwhelmed. Learn words and expressions that are commonly used in everyday conversations, so that when you encounter the need to use them in real situations when talking with a native speaker, you can express yourself using them. By learning the fundamentals, you can make your message focused and easy to understand. Avoid hifalutin words or complex phrases in the meantime. If you want to engage in intelligent and longer discussions, you can eventually learn these when you are already at ease with the basics of the English Language.
12. Stay positive and motivated
Different people may have different ways of reacting. If ever you experience being laughed at after mispronouncing a word or have been sarcastically corrected with grammar, realize that you made a mistake because you are still in the process of learning it. Instead of being demotivated, use it as a motivation to improve. It’s more helpful if you look at the bright side with every language learning situation. Appreciate your improvement instead of dwelling on how much you don’t know. Meanwhile, for those who correct you, appreciate them. Realize that their correction will lead you to learn better than feel bad about being corrected. Focus on your goal instead of being distracted with negative thoughts. The more focused you are with your goal the more you will keep on going.
It is natural to be anxious when speaking a foreign language, however, it is important to remember that fear will prevent you from improving. The only way to overcome it is by facing it. The suggested methods listed above will help you to deal with English learning anxiety properly. Do not be disheartened when you are stuck or challenged. Your way to English learning may be a slow process but taking small steps consistently will make you a fluent English speaker soon.
LinguaglBox offers one on one classes to help you start learning English right from the start. Try our free trial class to see how Lingualbox can help you. Sign up now.
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