Changing Australia’s Perspective on Language Learning

That language is too difficult.
Wouldn’t you want to be better at Language X first?
Oh, I’m just not good at languages.

It’s surprising to me that in my conversations about language learning, there is such a fixed mindset about language learning. People are setting themselves up to fail before they’ve even started. As a teacher, I try to demonstrate and impart to my students the importance of a growth mindset; seeing hardship and mistakes as challenges that can be overcome with some problem-solving and planning.

Here are three common perspective from unsuccessful language learners that I find problematic.

#1 You Can’t Learn Two Languages at Once

Why not? I’m hardly going to mix the Spanish ‘come stas?’ with the Italian’come stai?’ or ‘danke schön’ with ‘grazie mille’. The only challenge I can see with learning multiple languages if finding the time! Sit down and make a language learning schedule. It’s definitely not impossible.

#2 I’m Just Too Old and Not Good at Languages and That’s That

If you learned a language at school, it’s important to recognise that language learning requires much more than a 2-hour lesson every week. Not to mention that language learning in a classroom setting can be dry and disengaging to a teenager or even an adult. Language learning can be broken down into enjoyable chunks everyday as seen in this post. Older people can obviously learn new things too. You’re never too old to learn something new if you want to!
#3 That Language Is Just Too Difficult

Well if I want to learn a language, I will, thank you very much.
Want to learn Danish? Go for it. Finnish? Yes! Arabic? Tim Donor was able to. And you can too if you want. Don’t let anyone tell you a language is too difficult.

Have you heard someone comment in these ways on your language learning goals?

Have you been caught up in these mindsets? Let me know in the comments.

Andrea xo

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