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Firing up your motivation during language learning

Written by Emma Zhenzhen Gu

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To tell the truth, sticking to language learning would be much harder than embarking on a language journey. When learning a language you need devotion and focus if you truly desire to achieve your objectives. Unavoidably, language learning might become tedious or your enthusiasm wanes from time to time when you advance your level. Falling by the wayside might be the inevitable destination for many language learners. Maintaining motivation to keep your language progressing is of great importance.

I am a student language ambassador and here are 7 ways I used to spur my motivation during language learning. Share these tips with your students and they will definitely gain some benefits.

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1. Remember why you started

There is always a reason that you start your language journey. It could be making traveling easier, getting access to new cultures, boosting your confidence, or being more competitive in the labor market. When you struggle with the process or your enthusiasm is dampened, try to visualize your goal and look back to seek the main factor that drives your passion and soul. 

2. Surround yourself with enthusiastic people (Fabrega, n.d.)

You cannot deny the power of passion and motivation. Highly motivated people could work as competitors or inspirators encouraging and challenging you to be at a higher level. Stepping outside your “comfort zone” and making sure that you are directly involved with people who lift you, inspire you, and motivate you to do and be more facilitates your leap toward success. 

3. Learn a language like a child

Mistakes take you closer to the promised land. People who fail make few mistakes because they don’t even try. Errors are a necessary part of the language’s learning process and practicing makes perfect. Before you could weed out the mistakes you made along the way, be brave to pronounce, make sentences and speak aloud like a child without any shame or worry.

4. Join a language exchange community (Brockless, 2016)

It could be an online forum or even a language club that connects you with native speakers as well as other learners at various levels. It offers you an opportunity to be engaged in dialogue and exposure to the language which gets you more familiar with the language’s sounds and rhythms before you step out to test your skill in the real world.

5. Talking to yourself

Talking to yourself may sound weird but it does work. If you have or have worked with kids, you might realize that they never stop talking which is a good way to practice their learning from their parents and to make progress. Talking to yourself helps organize your thoughts and makes you realize “small stuff” like accent and intonation as well as being a good way to rehearse a difficult conversation.

6. Make a concrete plan

The possibility to be successful is quite low without a concrete plan. Planning helps you achieve your purpose when you track your progress and giving priority to important issues could be more efficient. You might be shocked by the distance from the destination you desire but your planning reduces a mountain to a molehill.  Daily checklists allow you to fulfill smaller tasks that move you towards bigger goals.

7. Join a challenge (Fabrega, n.d.)

Challenges remind you that you are stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit for. Most importantly, during the whole process immersing yourself in the task without distraction makes your study extremely efficient. The challenge could be participating in an oral language competition, reading a book written in the language, etc.

The strategies mentioned above should help you maintain high motivation and allow you to work toward your goals. 


Guy Brockles. (2016, October 29). Language Exchange Community: The 5 Big Benefits of Joining.

Marelisa Fabrega. 21 Ways to Weep Your Motivation Flying High.


By Zhenzhen Gu-Student Language Ambassador

If you’re a language teacher and feeling inspired to make your language teaching more effective, take a look at our Language Ambassadors Program

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