People often feel like learning takes more time and effort from them than from others. The truth is that “being good” at languages takes a lot of time and effort from everyone.
🧠 Your brain just doesn’t work in a way that would allow you to learn English fast and with minimal effort. Here’s why.
🛒 📦 You need to manage to move the newly learnt information into your long-term memory since if you keep it in your short-term memory, it will soon slip.
🐙 Your short-term memory is like an octopus tossing balls. On average, the octopus can only deal with about 4 balls (aka pieces of information at a time).
So the only way for you to not forget something is to make sure it finds its way to the "storage" area in your brain aka your long-term memory. For that to happen, you need the neurons in your brain to connect and strengthen. Doing that requires a lot of repeated exposure to the material and varied practice.
⚽ ⚾ 🏈 Working (=short-term) memory varies. If yours can only deal with, for example, 3 pieces of information at a time, it will indeed make learning a little harder. But that alone won’t make you bad at learning.
📙 📓 Another time-consuming peculiarity of working on your English is that you want to learn using both your declarative system (e.g. learning through teacher’s instructions, reading the rules, etc.) as well as your procedural system (aka applying what you’ve learnt though different practice exercises, speaking, etc.).
⏱ When you learn through your declarative system, it’s easier to learn the information, but it takes longer to start comfortably using it. On the other hand, with the procedural system you face more #desirabledifficulty aka it feels more difficult to learn, but you can start using the new material sooner.
In learning English you need to use both of these systems to get the best result.
Even with the best teacher and the most effective and efficient methods that takes a lot of time — it’s plain and simple.
🤷🏽♀️ Most people that say that they’re not good with languages have never done what it takes to learn either because they don’t know how to or it’s never been a high enough priority, or both.
✍🏽 How long have you been learning English? What’s your current level? Let me know in the comments below.
Tina is a professional English Teacher with a Cambridge education and 10+ years of teaching English to adults in-person and online.
She wants you and English learners like you to develop a solid understanding of what you need to do to start speaking better English faster (and not fall for English-in-a-month scams).