September 16

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EP6: Busy People

 

Hi, I’m Kristian, and welcome to the Learners of English Podcast, episode number 6. I’m Dutch, I’m 43 years old and I live in Prague, the Czech Republic. I teach English, mostly to adults, but also to teenagers.

In this podcast I want to communicate one simple message to everyone who wants to improve their English, but is too busy doing other things.  

If that’s you, than listen very carefully to the following sentence: 

If you want to improve your English but you are busy doing other things, you should forget about your language goals. Instead, learn how to be happy with the process of English language learning.

Let me repeat that:

If you want to improve your English but you are busy doing other things, you should forget about your language goals. Instead, learn how to be happy with the process of English language learning. 

I’ll explain this message by telling a short story about my own experience with learning Czech.

This year (2020) I decided to learn Czech. In January I bought a course book, and two months later I started individual lessons with a teacher.

So far learning Czech has been an interesting journey with different emotions. Sometimes I felt happy, other times unhappy.

Some days I wanted to go faster, but then I had other priorities. Other days I wanted to study harder, but then I had no energy.

After a few months I discovered an interesting fact: I realized that the more I studied, the less I knew.

Because there is always something new to learn when you learn a language. It just never ends.

At first this realization was very frustrating. I felt really bad about my progress.

But then, after six months, something changed.

I was still unhappy with my progress, but I also realized that I always felt good about myself right after I had finished a self-study session.

Now, there was an interesting thought! I quickly understood that I needed to use this emotion to motivate myself to keep going, to keep learning Czech.

But why did this happen? Why did I feel good about myself after a self-study session? Well, it’s because I had learned to love the process of learning. In other words: I had figured out the things I like doing to improve my Czech. 

In my example, it means that I love listening to short stories in Czech (with a transcript), so I can learn more vocabulary and practice my pronunciation at a pace that suits me. As a beginner I prefer reading and listening to stories, because I get annoyed if my learning process gets interrupted all the time during a conversation with a speaking partner.

So, that was the big breakthrough for me. Eventually I came to the following conclusion:

The goal to speak Czech (or in your case to speak English) is not the most important thing, but how you feel about yourself when learning Czech (or in your case English) is the most important thing.

So now, when I wake up, I want to study Czech. Because it makes me feel good about myself.

Even if I know that my Czech will never be perfect. But that’s not important.

What’s important, is that I’ve learned how to love the process of learning Czech every single day. 

Learning Czech has become part of my identity. It’s become part of who I am.

So, right now, at this very moment, I can tell the whole world: I’m Kristian, and I’m a learner of Czech.

OK, that’s it. I hope the message is clear. You can think about big language goals for a brief moment to get yourself motivated, but then you should put them on the back burner.  

Start focusing on the process. Figure out what you like doing and do it every day. Make learning English part of your identity. Make it part of who you are. So you can tell the whole world: I’m (your name) and I’m a learner of English. 

Let me know your thoughts on this episode in the comments or via email. And if you want to get in touch with me, you can send me an email at kristian@learnersofenglish.com. 

All right. Take care of yourself, and each other, and I’ll catch you in the next episode!

P.S. If something is on the back burner, it is temporarily not being dealt with or considered, especially because it is not urgent or important.


About the author 

Kristian

Kristian is a Dutch guy who teaches English online. He relaxes with audiobooks, music and podcasts. Kristian still has a lot to learn, but he's happy to share what he has learnt along the way.

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