Fear can be a hindrance in many aspects of life, and language learning is no exception. When learning a new language, it’s important that you approach the objective with an open mind and a thick skin. You need to accept the notion that you will make mistakes and you may sound silly at times. As an educator, I love when my students make mistakes, because it offers me the opportunity to do my job. Mistakes present terrific teaching opportunities.
Language learning can be stressful, so it’s important for you to acknowledge this before you tackle the surmountable task ahead. When we enter a new environment, we are vulnerable. We leave ourselves open to criticism, and if we’re not ready to accept it, it can lead to frustration and embarrassment. This can be damaging to our self-esteem and deter our progress
One major obstacle that ESL students face, especially in Asia, is pronunciation. The sounds can be difficult to recreate because the mouth movements, air flow, and tongue placements are different. When you practice, don’t be afraid to exaggerate the sounds and facial movements to help you develop better self-awareness. Pucker those lips to make the – “sh” sound. Stick that tongue out between your teeth to make the “th” sound. Stress and hold sounds to improve muscle memory and alertness. This may feel awkward and silly, but who cares when you’re making strides towards improvement.
Language learners can lack confidence in the beginning, and this is a very natural predicament. I too have encountered this while trying to learn other languages. I have had moments where I approached people with complete conviction in my language ability. I spoke to them in their mother tongue, and received only blank stares and looks of utter confusion. This can be damaging to a person’s self-esteem, and deter them from immersing themselves further. The positive thing to be aware of is that the majority of people you’ll meet are pretty patient and accommodating. They will be more than willing to help you, especially when you offer a smile, humility and a positive energy.[:]