When learning a new language, having the right mindset is key. If you lack the right mindset, your path to English fluency may seem like an impossible one. Therefore, it’s important to have the right mindset when learning English, or anything new, for that matter! That being said, let’s talk about how to implement a new Growth Mindset to help achieve our English fluency goals.
So, what is a Growth Mindset? Let’s approach this definition by getting a clear understanding of the opposite concept: The Fixed Mindset.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
A Fixed mindset is a belief in the unchangeable. A person with a fixed mindset operates with the belief that things cannot change. It is the belief that one’s brain is fixed in place and there is no way to deviate from that. This is the idea that you cannot get better, no matter the effort you put in. People with a fixed mindset thinks that they are who they are, no matter what, so why bother?
A person with a Fixed Mindset may say:
“I’m no good at English, so why try?”
“Other people learn faster than me. I’ll never be fluent.”
“I can’t let people see me making a mistake. They’re going to think I’m not smart!
This is a very incorrect belief. Of course, everyone has varying levels of skill and talent, but there is no reason to think that without effort, you are doomed to stagnate.
What is the Growth Mindset?
On the other hand, the Growth Mindset is imperative to learning a new language. This mindset will allow you to allay many of the fears that come with tackling new endeavors of any kind. People with a growth mindset are less afraid to make mistakes, because they know that mistakes are essential for the learning process. Adopting an attitude that focuses on growth, rather than stagnation, will afford you the confidence that you need to succeed.
A person with a Growth Mindset may say:
“I’ll do my best today.”
“I can do it if I try hard enough.”
“I love to learn new things!”
“How can I learn from my mistakes?”
“I may be learning slower, but I can do it if I try a little harder.”
1. Acknowledge Your Mistakes and Learn from Them
Learn from your mistakes! See them as an opportunity to improve, rather than a failure. Do not run away from your mistakes, and do not run away from them. They are there to help you!
2. Learn from the Mistakes of Others.
If others around you are learning English, use this as an opportunity to learn from them, too! This is how you can really improve quickly! Help your fellow English learners by sharing your mistakes, too.
3. Learn to Give and Receive Constructive Criticism
If you accept your mistakes as gifts in your journey of language learning, you will quickly improve. Allow others, such as a tutor, or someone more advanced in English than you, to help spot your mistakes. Do not be afraid of helpful criticism, and instead, seek it out as much as possible. Outside help is not only helpful, but crucial. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know!
4. Understand We are All Improving
Think of your language-learning endeavors as a beautiful road to improvement. It is far better to adopt the mindset of improvement, rather than having a fixed mindset of a person who is stagnating at the same level forever.
5. Don’t Say Problem – Say “Challenge” or “Opportunity”
I have a problem with the word, “problem.” We should banish it from our vocabulary! In any case, we should change the way that we think about difficult situations and refer to them as “challenges,” instead of problems. It still makes sense in most cases. If we think of our “problems” as fun challenges, or even opportunities, we can change the way that we approach them, and enjoy the learning process even more.
6. Know Your Learning Style
Know yourself! Not everyone learns in the same way, and that’s okay! If you learn better by interacting with people, do it more often. If you are the type to learn better by taking notes, take them! Acknowledge the way that you like to learn.
7. Do Not Seek Approval
We are trained from a young age to seek the approval of teachers or authority figures. However, this is not always helpful when learning a new language, as seeking approval often makes you afraid to make mistakes.
8. Seek Learning Experiences!
Look for as many chances to improve as you can! Try not to get caught in the fear of making mistakes and disapproval from others, and instead, look for opportunities to make these mistakes and learn from them.
9. Enjoy the Process
Don’t forget to enjoy the process of learning. Know your learning style, and find ways to make the process fun. Fluency in any language takes time, and if you do not enjoy the process, you may feel as though it is a sprint that you want to hurry and finish. Take your time, and find ways to make the learning process appealing, rather than something to be rushed through.
10. Reward Yourself for Effort
This is actually very important! Do remember to reward yourself if you feel that you’ve done a good job. You do not have to wait for the approval of others to feel that you deserve a reward for your efforts. If you studied 10 hours a week, or otherwise feel that you’ve done a great job, don’t hesitate! You deserve it!
11. Be Patient – Don’t Cram!
Cramming is oftentimes counterproductive, because taking in too much information in a short time will lead you to quickly forget. Do not rush the English-learning process, and take time to learn deeply, and learn well.
12. Create a Sense of Purpose
When you feel a bit down, or frustrated, or tired, it is your purpose that will motivate you to go on. Be sure to create a sense of purpose for doing what you’re doing. Think about why you’re learning English. Are you trying to learn English to help your career? Is there a special someone you’d like to talk to? Hold on to your sense of purpose, and you will always have it to motivate you.
13. Reflect on Your Learning
Spend some time to think about your study habits and your efforts. It is important to ask yourself certain questions about your personal efforts. How did I do as a learner? Am I satisfied with my progress? This is different from simply reviewing vocabulary or grammar. Give yourself regular, personal evaluations.
14. Train in English like a Sport
Think of English fluency as a game or a sport. You have to train in order to maintain your skill level and develop new skills. It is important with any sort of training to put the time in to understand the sport improve in it. Give yourself time, be patient, and treat English learning as a sport.
15. Cultivate Resilience
Sometimes you’ll feel embarrassed or frustrated when learning a new language. Without resilience, you are easily discouraged. Become resilient, and try to not get too discouraged when you make mistakes. If you fall down 7 times, get back up 8 times! Winners and successful English learners always know to get back up when they fall down.
16. Never Stop Learning
Keep learning new things each day! When you reach your old goals, make new ones. It is a beautiful experience when you have a growth mindset!
Sure, it may be uncomfortable to make a mistake. However, if you accept your mistake as a learning tool, rather than a failure, you will be well on your way to English fluency much faster than you can imagine! You can even think of your mistakes as gifts! Remember, you can learn! You can grow! You CAN change your brain!
In my eBook, you will find various tips and tricks on how to improve your mode of thinking, and how to adopt a growth mindset. You will learn how to give and receive constructive criticism. You can find the eBook, The English Fluency, here on the Go Natural English website.
Stray away from the fixed mindset and adopt a growth mindset. If you begin to see your path to English fluency as a beautiful journey of improvement, rather than a road to failure, and you will be surprised at how much faster you’ll learn!
Did you enjoy this post? Why not head on over to 5 Simple Ways to Think Like a Native? Here, you can learn 5 simple ways to shift your mindset to achieve your goals of English fluency.