Is there anything more terrifying than screwing up a foreign language in front of one of its native speakers? The level of embarrassment and awkwardness can be palpable. Even the thought of such an experience is enough to put off many learners from attempting to learn with native speakers until they have reached a much higher level.
The image above is from Astana, Kazakhstan! Visit our log in page to see amazing images from every country on the planet.
The fact remains, however, that holding back from learning with native speakers is probably the thing that’s going to make your journey to the intermediate and advanced levels of your chosen language more difficult. In today’s blog, we’re encouraging all learners to overcome the fear and take the step to learn with a native speaker teacher.
🌧️ 1. Remember that mistakes are both normal and beneficial
The primary cause of the fear of learning with native speakers stems from a fear of making mistakes. Somehow it does feel more mortifying when it happens talking to someone whose mother tongue is the language we are learning. The key to overcoming this fear is to try and continually change your mindset about making mistakes.
When we make a mistake, it should always be viewed as a positive learning experience. The initial feeling of regret or embarrassment may always be there, but as long as we can process that as quickly as possible and replace it with a more constructive reflection on what we need to do to improve, then mistakes become a positive thing.
🧠 2. Remember that native speaker teachers will help you learn faster
The trouble with learning a language with a teacher speaking your own language is that you work on a much shallower learning curve. You will make progress, but it will be much slower as you use up valuable lesson time speaking and listening to things in your native language. At the very, very beginning of your language learning you might need it a little in order to get off the ground, but you should make the switch to native speaker learning as early as humanly possible.
With the native speaker, you will have to continuously use your language skills, and continuously absorb language from the teacher. Even a single hour per week with a native speaker teacher online can be equal to three or four times as much instruction with a non-native teacher.
🧕 3. Remember your teacher is human too!
Don’t think of your native speaker teacher as some other-worldly being who is radically different from you. They are human, too! They have empathy and understanding, patience and professionalism. They will not mock you, deride you or shake your confidence in any way. Their job is to build you up and construct an atmosphere in which you become increasingly confident to use your newly acquired language skills.
Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer to your teacher. Tell them directly and clearly when you don’t understand something that they are saying. It’s better to be totally honest with them and let them know where your understanding and level really are. In this way, they can help you more effectively.
📈 4. Remember that you will learn more from a native speaker than a non-native
Native speakers bring additional benefits other than just the steeper learning curve. You can learn a great deal more from them when you put in the time to see them each week:
When you learn with a mother-tongue speaker, there’s a much greater chance that their native accent will rub off on you and you can not only speak with the right vocabulary grammar, but with the right accent, too.
Colloquial Terms and Idioms
Natives tend to know a lot more about idioms and colloquial language that can help your speaking to sound less stuffy and more natural. Non-native teachers tend to stick with textbooks which may contain outdated or even inaccurate information.
More Natural Cadence
Different languages come with different sentence patterns and rhythms. These can most effectively be learned by listening to how the natives speak. If you can pick up this cadence, you will also find that it is conducive to memorizing and using vocabulary more easily. Very often the rhythms and intonations suit the words that they are built around.
⌛ Make the Switch as Early as Possible
In conclusion, just remember that while it’s an emotional hurdle for you to get over, overcoming your fear and stepping into classes with native speaker teachers will benefit you a lot more in the long run.
🎉 Get started!
Are you interested in really, finally learning a new language? Here at LanguageConvo we connect you with a professional, native-speaking teacher for affordable, customized private lessons. Get started with a 100% free trial lesson by clicking here.