The Language Tutor: How to Learn a New Language

Posted by Juan Rivera on 4/27/15 10:16 AM

whoThere are better ways to learn how to speak a foreign language

Having the capacity to speak multiple languages has shown not only cognitive advantages but also has become an important skill to make your résumé more competitive. In my experience both as Spanish language tutor and in trying to learn a third language, I have found three fundamental qualities that help make the whole learning process a smooth one.

1) Motivation

Whether you’re coming back inspired from your Europe trip or just want to finally understand the Spanish words that “Dora the Explorer” says, we all have that initial moment of motivation to learn another language. The problem comes once we’re in the middle of the learning process and the laziness takes over with the constant “I don’t have time today to practice today”. But the key in beating those thoughts is to constantly be reminded of that initial moment of inspiration—why you decided to do this in the first place.

Another great way to keep your motivation is setting short-term goals. For example you can propose that by the end of a week you will learn how to say the numbers and the days of the week. You can complement this by adding a small compensation at the end of each short-term goal (sweet treats are always a good choice). Also being dynamic with your sessions, such as seeing movies with subtitles or changing the settings on your phone, will help make the learning process more effortless. Just imagine how much confidence you will have ordering churros during your next trip to Spain.

2) Discipline

Not the most of exciting qualities but definitely a necessary one. Learning a language requires constant practice and organization. Setting up realistic goals with a specific daily time, not only helps your motivation but also sets up a discipline system that will make the whole process more fluent. Another effective way to exercise discipline is to set up daily reminders in your phone or in your agenda so it keeps you on track. Some commercially available (and free) applications promote this quality in all its users by sending a daily email reminder. Another way to not slack off in the language is to practice with a dedicated friend. It’s always easier to get motivated if you have someone else who will keep you in track and practice with.

3) Perseverance

Whether it’s due to laziness or just lost in translation, we all face the learning block at some point. While learning a language, frustration is inevitable (particularly when learning all the different verb tenses). Just because the kid next to you can watch Mexican Telenovelas without subtitles after two weeks of Spanish does not make you any less competent in any way. As a tutor, I always tell my students that it’s ok to make mistakes and that we all learn in our own time. The people who really thrive in learning a language are the ones that don’t give up and constantly practice regardless of the time it takes them to complete it.

Learning a new language can be a frustrating experience but if you exert these qualities it will make the whole process a more smooth and enjoyable one. If you need any help with learning a new language, feel free to contact any of Cambridge Coaching’s highly qualified private language tutors in New York, Boston, or online!

For more relevant reading, check out these other blog posts, written by our private language tutors in NYC, Boston, and online: How to Learn a Language From Your Living Room, Why Should I Study Latin?, and Simple Tricks for Summer Language Learning

Tags: language learning