YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Do you get nervous, anxious, or scared when speaking your second language? YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

This phenomenon is called Foreign Language Anxiety and it is based on three main constructs: fear of negative evaluation, test (performance) anxiety, and communication (speaking) apprehension. Foreign Language Anxiety can manifest itself in negative thoughts, feelings, and (self-) perceptions about language learning.

Because of Foreign Language Anxiety, you may have certain thoughts and/or beliefs that stop you from feeling confident in using your new language. Maybe a couple, or all, of these thoughts have crossed your mind:

· “There’s something wrong with me; I can’t learn a language no matter how hard I try.”

· “Every time I speak I make too many mistakes and nobody understands me.”

· “I always feel like other students learn faster and speak better than me.”

· “My accent is terrible. It’s so embarrassing.”

· “I’m afraid people will laugh at me if I speak this language.”


Let’s address each of these misconceptions one at a time.


1. “There’s something wrong with me; I can’t learn a language no matter how hard I try.”

While it’s true that there is such a thing as a language learning disability, most likely what is going on in your scenario is poor language learning strategy use. Take a moment and reflect. Are you using the same study techniques that you used when you were younger? Are they still effective? Are they the best use of your time? New technology is just a click away to help you on your language learning journey. Why not try a new technique and see if you can’t improve your vocabulary retention or boost your listening skills? Why not hire a language coach who can teach you language learning strategies along with the language of your choosing? These strategies could be just what you need to break through your language learning plateau!

2. “Every time I speak I make too many mistakes and nobody understands me.”

Let’s take another moment to reflect. Do you speak your first language perfectly? Be honest. Think about the last conversation you had with a friend. There was probably a lot of repetitions and “huh?!?!’s”, “what’s?”, and requests for clarification. We make mistakes while speaking in our first language quite consistently, so why can’t you make mistakes in your new language? Here it’s important to set realistic, attainable goals for your language learning. I suggest that your goal should be to communicate with other speakers of the language, not to attain a superficial level of perfection that even native speakers don’t have.

3. “I always feel like other students learn faster and speak better than me.”

Language learning is not a race. You may learn vocabulary quicker than your friend and he/she may learn grammar concepts quicker. The important concept here is to compare your progress to your own language learning journey, not that of anyone else in your life. You should strive for continual improvement (even with set-backs sometimes!) and forward movement toward your goals. Remember, even if you fall on your face you’re still moving forward! That’s progress! Celebrate your friend’s success, of course, but remember that this is your life to live, not his or hers.

4. “My accent is terrible. It’s so embarrassing.”

Reality check. You are not a native speaker of this language and you will never be a native speaker of this language. Why are you trying to sound like one? Again, we need to set realistic, attainable goals to strive for while learning a language. It is commonly believed in the field of Second Language Acquisition that an individual’s phonetics and phonology solidify before puberty, thus reaching ultimate attainment, i.e. a native-like accent of a language very rare (although some very motivated and special individuals do!). My challenge to individuals who hold the above belief would be for them to reflect on why having an accent is embarrassing. Doesn’t having an accent indicate that you are bilingual, that you come from another culture that you are proud of, that you are gaining a new talent? There is nothing to be ashamed of in having an accent; our goal should not be to get rid of accents, but to strive for comprehensibility during conversations.

5. “I’m afraid people will laugh at me if I speak this language.”

Fear of negative evaluation is one of the tree main constructs of Foreign Language Anxiety. It is normal, as human beings, for us to fear losing face (being embarrassed) in front of others. However, consider this, would you ever make fun of someone who is trying to speak your native language, or would you help them and encourage them? Most likely it’s the latter. In general, we wish for others to succeed, not fail. Nobody is watching you, judging you, waiting for you to mess up just so they can have a laugh. Speak with confidence; you have an amazing new skill! You can speak to thousands, millions more people now with your new language. Be proud! Don’t shy away from opportunities to communicate.

I hope you found this information useful and that you can apply it to your language learning journey. To gain more confidence in speaking your second language, find a tutor or teacher with experience in Foreign Language Anxiety reduction and focus on not only learning the language, but also skills to manage your Foreign Language Anxiety as well! Good luck on your language journey! Be brave! You can do it!
7 giugno 2018
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$35
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Amanda Catron

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5.0
$35
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Flag
Inglese
globe
Stati Uniti d'America
time
40
Parla:
Inglese
Madrelingua
,
Francese
C2
Hi there! I'm Amanda! Congratulations on starting/continuing your language journey in ESL or French! I would love to join you! I'm an Assistant Professor ESL at Santa Fe College and a PhD student at the University of Florida studying Linguistics with a specialization in Second Language Acquisition (aka the best ways to learn languages)!!! Different, from the other individuals listed here, I am not a language teacher, I am a language COACH. It's time to learn a language like it's the 21st century! Let's work together to reach your goals! What is a language coach? As a language coach, I enable students to focus on their goals and hold them accountable for accomplishing them. I promote student agency and allow students to make choices about their own learning; this way each lesson fits their individual needs and differences. As your own language and success coach, we will not only work together to understand the target language vocabulary and grammar, but we will also delve into the metacognitive and self-regulatory skills necessary to study quickly and efficiently, feel comfortable speaking the language, and get ahead in other areas of your life as well! My mission for each lesson is to provide a language learning experience unique in its approach to incorporate strategy instruction including reducing foreign language anxiety, building agency, and developing self-regulated learning skills. My coaching objective is to help learners reach their second language goals through not only language teaching, but student empowerment as well. I aim to help students realize and build their own agency, resulting in a self-actualized, relaxed, and engaged learning environment. Through this one-of-a-kind coaching method, success is having my students end each tutoring session feeling positive, and eventually ending tutoring sessions all together knowing that they are competent, intelligible, and composed speakers of the target language. I have been a language instructor and coach since 2009 teaching children English in France through the TAPIF program. I have taught/coached undergraduates French at both the Ohio University (where I earned my BA and MA in French) and the University of Florida (where I am earning my PhD in Linguistics). Further, I have taught English as a Second Language at the University of Florida as well as Santa Fe College. As a researcher, I have focused my life's work and dissertation on the topic of lowering Foreign Language Anxiety in foreign language learners. Foreign Language Anxiety is often cited as the number 1 correlation to achievement in acquiring the target language. Do you get nervous when you attempt to speak the language that you've learned? Are you scared what others are going to think of you? Do you have perfectionist tendencies? Well, helping you manage Foreign Language Anxiety while learning French would be exactly my skill set! While I am a seasoned, SLAT (Second Language Acquisition and Teaching) certified instructor and am able to teach at the university level, tutoring is my true passion. I began tutoring in 2006 at Ohio University and I have not stopped since. My youngest tutee was 4 years old and my oldest tutee, who is still working with me, is 72 years old. I can cater to all ages, language levels, individual differences, objectives and goals, attitudes, and motivation levels. Send me a message with any questions that you have, and we can chat and set some goals for your language learning journey. I look forward to meeting you and helping you in any way possible in the world of French or ESL! Talk to you soon! :)
Flag
Inglese
globe
Stati Uniti d'America
time
40
Parla:
Inglese
Madrelingua
,
Francese
C2
Hi there! I'm Amanda! Congratulations on starting/continuing your language journey in ESL or French! I would love to join you! I'm an Assistant Professor ESL at Santa Fe College and a PhD student at the University of Florida studying Linguistics with a specialization in Second Language Acquisition (aka the best ways to learn languages)!!! Different, from the other individuals listed here, I am not a language teacher, I am a language COACH. It's time to learn a language like it's the 21st century! Let's work together to reach your goals! What is a language coach? As a language coach, I enable students to focus on their goals and hold them accountable for accomplishing them. I promote student agency and allow students to make choices about their own learning; this way each lesson fits their individual needs and differences. As your own language and success coach, we will not only work together to understand the target language vocabulary and grammar, but we will also delve into the metacognitive and self-regulatory skills necessary to study quickly and efficiently, feel comfortable speaking the language, and get ahead in other areas of your life as well! My mission for each lesson is to provide a language learning experience unique in its approach to incorporate strategy instruction including reducing foreign language anxiety, building agency, and developing self-regulated learning skills. My coaching objective is to help learners reach their second language goals through not only language teaching, but student empowerment as well. I aim to help students realize and build their own agency, resulting in a self-actualized, relaxed, and engaged learning environment. Through this one-of-a-kind coaching method, success is having my students end each tutoring session feeling positive, and eventually ending tutoring sessions all together knowing that they are competent, intelligible, and composed speakers of the target language. I have been a language instructor and coach since 2009 teaching children English in France through the TAPIF program. I have taught/coached undergraduates French at both the Ohio University (where I earned my BA and MA in French) and the University of Florida (where I am earning my PhD in Linguistics). Further, I have taught English as a Second Language at the University of Florida as well as Santa Fe College. As a researcher, I have focused my life's work and dissertation on the topic of lowering Foreign Language Anxiety in foreign language learners. Foreign Language Anxiety is often cited as the number 1 correlation to achievement in acquiring the target language. Do you get nervous when you attempt to speak the language that you've learned? Are you scared what others are going to think of you? Do you have perfectionist tendencies? Well, helping you manage Foreign Language Anxiety while learning French would be exactly my skill set! While I am a seasoned, SLAT (Second Language Acquisition and Teaching) certified instructor and am able to teach at the university level, tutoring is my true passion. I began tutoring in 2006 at Ohio University and I have not stopped since. My youngest tutee was 4 years old and my oldest tutee, who is still working with me, is 72 years old. I can cater to all ages, language levels, individual differences, objectives and goals, attitudes, and motivation levels. Send me a message with any questions that you have, and we can chat and set some goals for your language learning journey. I look forward to meeting you and helping you in any way possible in the world of French or ESL! Talk to you soon! :)
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