Beliefs And Their Place In Language Learning
Dec 1, 2011 English Language Learning (ELL) 1975 Views
There is a crucial factor in determining whether a learner will be successful in their language learning and that is our beliefs.
This is something that most learners don't really look at, but having a look at this is absolutely critical. If you somehow believe that you are not a good language learner, it is going to be very difficult to learn a language to the level you want, even if you very clear that is what you want to do. This is because underneath it all you have no faith in your ability to do that. So there will be a little voice in your head, or a feeling deep down in your gut that you can't really do this. In fact you will be sabotaging your own efforts. You will be thinking, possibly unconsciously, that you can't learn this language.
Most of our beliefs were formed as we were growing up. I don't know your experiences in language learning but I do know that the vast majority of people who learn languages in school are not successful. More than that, they usually leave school both disliking language learning AND believing they are no good at learning languages. The few that became successful are regarded as talented, and hence the only conclusion to be reached is "I am not talented". There may be many reasons why a few people are able to learn even under less than conducive circumstances. Talent does not adequately describe that phenomena. It merely gives a label, rather than explaining why some people are like that.
To conclude that you are not talented (a heavily value laden term) is not necessarily true. If you are taught the wrong way, given the wrong tools to learn what are the chances you will be successful? Not much I can assure you!
Our beliefs (conscious or otherwise) determine the results we get. Just think about this... if somehow deep down, you believe that you are not talented, can never do something, do you really believe you will be able to? As Henry Ford once said "Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can't, you are right!". So that is why it is important to be prepared to turn around your belief systems, if there is a need to do it.
Of course, such a turn around is not so straightforward as saying "I now have changed my beliefs and now I believe that I can do "it" ". Believing is not the same as thinking you can. Believing is believing with your heart... So when the going gets tough, as it always will, when you are striving to achieve some goal, you will not give up or settle for a poor pronunciation or a not so adequate means of saying what you want to, etc, etc. but rather you will determinedly, persistently, intelligently, tenaciously keep going until you get there or find to get to that pronunciation or turn of phrase that you will be happy with.
Maybe by now you are wondering how you can change your beliefs... Changing your understanding or experiences is where it starts. It can start with either really - having an experience that completely changes your perspective, or coming to an understanding that will change your perspective.
If you are interested in at least reassign your talents or beliefs, start to read about people who turned around their seeming difficult circumstances to become what others describe now as talented. Another thing you can do is pay us a visit at http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com where we explore this area, providing insights and understandings that can help you become talented!