How to motivate yourself to learn English

Have you ever started to lose interest in learning business English? Perhaps it’s starting to feel irrelevant, or you think you don’t need it because you’re already ‘good enough’.

I once saw a poster from a language school in Berlin. It used the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ to promote their English lessons. It’s true! I personally know that from learning German. If I don’t speak or read German for a couple of weeks, I find it difficult to put a correct sentence together. My German friends notice it, too.

Photo from Clique Images on Unsplash

So, how can you stay motivated to keep learning English? Here are three things that I (or students I have taught) have done to keep themselves motivated.

1. Put yourself in situations where you have to use the language

The great thing about learning English is that there are lots of opportunities to practise the language, particularly in Berlin. There are exercise classes in English, choirs, meetups, tandems, book clubs etc – all in English.

I know a German native-speaker who goes to the American Church in Berlin to improve their English. They take part in the Sunday service and are a member of different committees in the Church.

I asked the German native-speaker why they decided to go to an English-speaking Church. They replied that it made them feel that they were using the English language ‘for real’. It gave them a reason (and therefore a motivation) to continue learning English.

2. Think about what your hobbies and interests are, and follow them in English

What do you like to read about in your free time? What do you watch on Netflix or on television? What kind of sport interests you? What magazines do you buy?

Once you’ve answered these questions, think about what the English alternatives could be.

One student I have reads American celebrity magazines to maintain her level of English. Another student is a big fan of Arsenal. They like to watch matches with English commentary, and also watch the English-language programmes from Arsenal TV.

3. Go to an English lesson every week

I have two new English classes. Some students have had English lessons for the past few years. For others, it is their first English lesson since school. I could identify who was who. Students who continually had English lessons were able to participate in the lesson much more easily – they had trained their brains to learn a language. It was normal for them. The other students were in a state of shock – it was the first time they had had to learn something linguistic for years.

A regular English lesson at a regular time in the week makes language learning normal for you. It’s an opportunity for you to tell your English teacher about things you didn’t understand when you were in a social situation, or about something that you read or heard that you didn’t understand.

So, to stay motivated – find social events and activities where you can actively use English, read, watch or listen to what interests you in English, and make an English lesson a normal part of your week.

Would you or your company like to have a regular English lesson every week? Contact me here.

By the way, if you want to read more articles in English about motivation, then I suggest that you look at James Clear’s website.

So, how do you start improving your business English?

Well, that’s where I can help you. I worked in a variety of industries in the UK (have a look at my LinkedIn profile) so I’m happy to share my knowledge of business English with you. Contact me here.

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