EDITING : 2023.9.11 월 09:45
The Gachon Herald
Remember your Reasons: Tips for Staying Motivated in your English Study
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Updated : 2023.07.06  22:48:33
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 Students have asked me a simple question many times: “What can I do to improve my English?” It seems like an easy thing to answer! But, of course, they already know the answer: Learn new words, listen, study grammar, practice. This is not very useful, and usually not what they truly mean.
 Instead, I find that students are looking for how to get better results from their efforts. It can be frustrating to study and continue to feel like English is difficult. People think that if something is hard, and then they practice, it will become easy. And if you study something that is easy, you should be able to master it to perfection.
 When it comes to languages, however, there is a problem with this thinking -- perfect English does not exist. This may sound strange, but consider that perfect English to an American may sound wrong to an Australian. Comfortable language for a woman in her 60s may sound “weird” or “old” to a teenager. If speaking at an advanced level if any language, someone will probably think it isn’t quite right and would speak differently themselves.
 Does this mean you should give up? Of course not. You might instead, however, consider continuous improvement instead of perfection. Often you may find that learning one thing will lead to two more questions, and those answers will lead to two more, and so on. Having all your questions answered does not mean you’ve learned all the answers. It simply means you’ve stopped asking questions! So abandon the idea of perfection and become accustomed to slowly improving, bit by bit.
 This idea may sound nice, but the reality is that language study takes time and energy, and we live in a world of distractions. How does a person stay focused and motivated when language study can seem like such a difficult choice? My suggestion is to ask yourself why exactly you want to learn English. Many of us have become so accustomed to studying it that we don’t even know why we’re doing it – and then we wonder why we struggle!
 Maybe you want to live overseas or watch English movies. Perhaps you want to meet international friends here in Korea. Or maybe you just want a good TOEIC score and really don’t care about using English in your life. All of these reasons are okay! The important thing is to identify them and to use that as a focus for your effort. People often say they want to speak English well, but I ask them to consider the question, “If you could speak English like a native in three years OR have a fantastic TOEIC score in three months which would you choose?” Most students want both, of course, but they choose a good TOEIC score because seems more reachable. If so, then you have a short-term goal that you can focus on, and can focus on long-term goals later!
 Whatever your reasons for study, the most important thing is to keep manageable goals and to make sure you remember the reasons that you’re chasing after them. In many cases, I find that this can lead to more success for students that otherwise feel overwhelmed. And, in all cases, remember that the mark of success is not whether you are scoring high, but instead that you haven’t quit!

▲ Dept of. Global Language Center

Prof. Leeder Kevin John

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