Learning a language, not just English, is a lonely task that requires a lot of input. When studying alone, it is natural for even the most motivated people to feel frustrated or anxious during their studies. You don't have to worry about "Is this study method okay?" "I'm too busy to take the time I want" or "I don't know if I'm improving".
This time, let's pick up the problems that many people may have and think together about how to solve them based on my past experience. Of course, the solutions we propose are not all. I think that there are different advices depending on the person you ask, but I hope it will be helpful for those who have anxiety and worries about learning English.
Everyone has trouble learning English
Even if you have a strong desire to be able to use English freely, some people may be frustrated or have difficulty consulting with other people.
From the journey of a thousand miles an inch. It is important to continue without giving up. There was a time when not only I was having troubles, but also advanced English speakers and professionals had a lot of troubles. The starting point is all the same. Let's positively consider that it is a path that even English professionals have taken, and proceed with learning while solving each problem one by one.
What are the common problems and solutions for learning English?
We have listed the anxieties and worries that many would have felt. Let's look at each one.
Trouble about learning environment
Before learning English, many people may have the following problems regarding the learning environment.
I'm busy and don't have much time to study
"I am motivated to learn English, but if I continue to work overtime, I just go to bed." "I can't secure the scheduled study time due to housework and childcare." In that case, try the following:
The solution is this! → Effective use of gap time
There are surprisingly many small chores of household chores, such as commuting time, 5 minutes after lunch, and while washing or cooking stewed dishes . Please use these small pieces of time for learning English.
For example, if you are watching TV and want to use the time when you switched to commercials, you can do it. You can memorize some words during the commercial, and you can look back on the events of the day and write a diary in English.
It's a good idea to look back on your daily life and write down what part of your life you can take and how many minutes you can take . Even if it is 5 minutes, it will take 30 minutes a day, and depending on the person, if you include commuting time, you can spend more than 1 hour. Make effective use of your limited time.
The solution is this! → Don't be greedy with the amount of learning you can do
When you are motivated to learn English, you tend to be frustrated by making unreasonable plans. Even if it works for the first few days to a week, it's unlikely that your initial plan will last forever.
Let's start with the minimum amount of learning that you can think "this is absolutely possible". Unless you are planning to transfer overseas a few months in advance or have a qualification exam that requires you to pass, I think that English is an extension of your hobby in most cases.
Please set the minimum amount of learning that you can continue every day even if your schedule changes . When my daily learning becomes a habit and I feel that I can afford to increase it a little more, I will review my learning plan again.
I don't speak English on a daily basis, so my motivation doesn't last
If learning English is a hobby, many people are worried that their motivation will not continue, which is one of the major causes of frustration.
In that case, you have to take action to increase your motivation. Try the following two things.
The solution is this! → Clarify goals and objectives
If you are still learning English for some reason, let's look back on "What made you decide to learn English in the first place? "
"I was disappointed that I couldn't speak English at my travel destination."
"I received an English inquiry at work, but I couldn't handle it and left it to my colleague."
"There was some interesting information, but the source is English. I can't read English and I can't find out if the information in Japanese is correct."
I think that many people start learning English because they feel regretful that they should be able to speak English. Please remember your feelings and situation at that time. By doing so, you will naturally be able to see the purpose, what you should do, and the goal you should set.
The solution is this! → Make a learning plan
After returning to the origin and looking back on the purpose, set the goal derived from it. Along with that, if you decide the end first and then make it smaller and smaller, you have to do things like annual plan → several months plan → monthly plan → weekly plan → daily plan. It will be easier to understand.
There are individual differences in learning progress, and there are times when it grows sharply and times when it stagnates. Let's proceed with learning while making fine adjustments without changing the big plan.
If you take an English qualification test such as TOEIC at a turning point, you can objectively measure your growth level, and as your score increases, you will be further motivated.
Trouble about learning itself
Many people may have troubles about learning English, such as "Is this the learning method?" And "It is painful to see English." Here, we will look at four typical problems and solutions for learning English.
I'm worried if my learning method is correct
At some point, almost everyone asks, "Is this teaching material really powerful?" "Is there a better way to study?" "Is it really possible to continue this method and improve my English?" I have a problem.
The solution is this! → Focus on one method, not on people
A major cause of anxiety about learning methods is "comparing with people." Nowadays, there is a lot of information, and I see and hear all kinds of information, regardless of whether it is good or useless. And I'm in a state where I don't know what to do or what I've done so far.
In such a case, block all the information once and find one that suits you and that you can enjoy yourself and continue . The teaching materials will be firmly established if you repeat one thing several times instead of trying to do it here and there. Believe in yourself and don't be fooled.
I can't remember a word
I also experienced the problem of "I can't remember words". Here are some of the methods that have been tried and worked out. If you are not good at memorizing words, please give it a try.
The solution is this! → Remember by image, not by Japanese translation
Most everyday English conversations consist of simple word combinations that everyone knows. The method of imagining the meaning of a word is very effective in remembering idioms.
Let me give you an example. "Throw away" is throw away, but even if you don't know this idiom, you can understand that it means "throw away" by combining the throwing image of throw and the image of going far away.
It would be better to also train to read English sentences without using a dictionary . It is more effective to understand and remember the context in which the word is used, rather than memorizing each word or idiom by staring at the vocabulary, and it is more effective to improve your English and acquire "usable" English.
English does not improve as expected
The idea that "no matter how much you study, you can't feel your improvement in English" is a common problem for everyone. It is often said that English is like muscle training, but in reality it is more similar to practicing a musical instrument such as a piano. Musical instruments are not just about playing.
English is the same in a sense. There is no problem with everyday conversation, but when it comes to business and politics, I feel frustrated because I can't understand the subtle nuances.
The solution is this! → I believe that I am definitely improving even if I cannot see it
I think of myself a few months ago. Do you know more words than before, making listening and reading easier? You couldn't introduce yourself before, but are you able to relax and say something?
People who feel that their English hasn't improved are often far superior to the comparison. Instead of comparing to someone far above the level, compare to yourself a little while ago . You'll definitely see that you're improving, even if it's just a little bit.
Feeling that gap is proof of growth. Keep your ultimate goal high, but always aim for a little higher level and continue learning with the feeling of moving forward little by little.
Learning English grammar and reading English sentences are painful
At first glance, English grammar and reading may not be useful for English conversation, but understanding the structure of sentences and a lot of input are important for speaking proper English that makes sense.
The main reason why I am not good at grammar is that if I feel that grammatical terms are difficult or have difficulty reading English sentences, I will try to translate everything into Japanese.
The solution is this! → Start with the contents and length that you think is a little easier
First of all, with the goal of not feeling pain in the act of "reading English", let's add a habit of reading English with a slightly easier level that you can read fluently or a short one .
It could be for native kids. From there, gradually raise the level and try something that is a little more difficult or longer.
It's easy, so it doesn't mean you're not wearing it. If you can read it easily, you can read it at a faster speed, and if you have a habit of translating it into Japanese, it will be improved.
You can also use this site, which is also used in American schools. The level can be adjusted with the same content.
The solution is this! → Learn English grammar by solving many exercises
English conversation does not require grammatical terms, but it is very important to be aware of speaking grammatically correct English. The reason is that it is important for beginners to get used to speaking English first, so broken sentences are fine, but if you do not have grammar skills, your level will level off.
Boring grammar learning is more effective than just reading and understanding by solving more problems and re-learning what went wrong. Please repeat the study of one grammar book with abundant exercises .
A grammar book written in English is also recommended. The text of the exercises is also natural for natives to see. As I repeat the same exercise several times, I memorize it without knowing it as an example sentence, so it is two birds with one stone.
Trouble about English conversation practice
Finally, I will explain how to solve the problems related to speaking English, such as "I am embarrassed to speak English".
English doesn't come out
I think there are no people who have no experience of feeling frustrated even if they don't say what they want to say.
Even in my native Japanese, I sometimes get "Well, what are you talking about?" For a moment, so it is even more difficult to convey your thoughts and thoughts in a foreign language.
The solution is this! → Memorize and recite many example sentences!
The quickest way is to memorize many example sentences so that they come out of your mouth immediately . By remembering one short sentence and changing a part of it, you will be able to create a wide variety of different sentences.
In a very simple example, remembering the short sentence "I want to go shopping." Can replace shopping with swimming, hiking, camping, and so on. After that, if you connect these short sentences with because, but, and etc., you can make a long sentence.
If you are having trouble with words not coming out of your mouth to speak while thinking, please try this method. You should be able to feel the effect in just one week. If you continue for 2-3 months, you will be able to speak at a fairly good speed.
I can't hear English
The overwhelming reason why I'm not good at listening to English may be "I can't keep up with the speed in the first place", but there are other "I have a habit of trying to understand by translating it into Japanese" and "I can't hear words". When it comes, my thoughts stop there, and the words after that do not come into my ears. "
I can now hear double-speed English without any problems, but before, I couldn't hear English easily, and there were times when I felt frustrated and hated listening to English. ..
The following two methods were the most effective at that time.
The solution is this! → Listen repeatedly for a few minutes!
If you try to listen properly, you will need a lot of concentration and you will be very tired, so listen again and again until you can hear something as short as 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes at the longest .
Actually, this method was recommended by a native teacher. The teacher said, "No matter how much time you spend listening, it's just a waste. You can listen to the same thing over and over again until you can hear it properly. If possible, dictate." I tried it.
And when I continued to do that, one day I suddenly got into a state where I could clearly hear the English lines I heard for the first time.
The method of listening to short things repeatedly should be effective in a week or two at the earliest , so if you think you have been deceived, please try it first.
The solution is this! → Don't try to listen to each word!
If you come across a word or phrase that you don't know, you may not be good at listening because your thoughts will stop there.
You wouldn't try to listen to each word in Japanese. English is the same. Do not stick to each word, but first try to understand the whole content. If you come across a word you don't know, you can guess the meaning, and unless it's an important keyword, you can safely ignore it.
If you aim to be 60% audible, you may not be able to keep up with English conversation and discussions, so please aim here first. In addition, you can write down what you have heard in Japanese, so you can use it as a guide to check how well you understand the content.
Embarrassing to speak english
Many people may find it difficult to speak English because of the pressure of having to speak correct English.
Especially when the learning period becomes long, some people start to worry about whether they are wrong or not, and in proportion to that, they stop talking.
The solution is this! → Increase "successful experiences"
The only way to get rid of the "embarrassing feeling of speaking English" is to accumulate a number of small success experiences such as "I spoke!" And "I understand!" .
If you plan to travel abroad, actively talk to the local clerk or ask the locals for directions. It is also good to participate in exchange meetings where foreigners participate, or connect online and make voice calls.
If you say "I don't want to talk directly on the phone ...", try using voice instead of text in your chat message.
By repeating this “communicative” experience with different people, you will be less worried and afraid of making mistakes and will become more confident.
English is not indispensable in daily life, but it has various advantages such as expanding the range of work and making it possible to study abroad, and it may be necessary in the future even if it is not needed now. In addition to language learning, you will also have the advantage of being patient, improving your concentration, and being able to quickly obtain seasonal information from overseas.
It is natural that there are worries. Even those who seem to have never had a hard time with English actually continued to make efforts behind the scenes, and now they have a lot of worries and frustrations. In order to benefit from the benefits of learning English, please continue learning English without stopping or giving up even if you have a problem.