If you’re an English language student with Livemocha, you may have come across this gal, Meredith Miller, one of Livemocha’s English language tutors. Aside from helping students with their lessons, Meredith also has a blog called Flowing in English, where she gives tip and tricks to mastering your target language. The following is a post that she wrote last fall that we thought might help you with your lessons. Take a read and let us know what you think.
by Meredith Miller
Originally posted on Flowing In English, September 24, 2011
Don’t worry about where you are with your English right now compared to where you’d like to be or where you think you should be. The important thing is to see your goals clearly, and accept where you are right now, because this is your starting point.
I once heard a yoga instructor tell the class, “Don’t look around the room to see where everyone else is. That’s not your path. In order to change you must accept where you are right now. That is your point of reference.”
Maybe you would like to be fluent in English. First, notice where you are on that trajectory. Now that you have your point of reference, envision your goal. For example, you can focus your mind on speaking and understanding English fluently and writing proficiently. Imagine yourself effortlessly having a conversation in English with native speakers, and visualize yourself corresponding in English easily via email at work and however you see it fit in your life.
You can apply that strategy to just about any aspect of your life. Maybe you would like to be healthier. Perhaps you’re feeling uncomfortable in your body, either regarding body image or physiological health issues. You can do a self-observation exercise and take note of where you are right now and what you are not happy with. Then you can envision yourself as you’d like to be… how you want to look, how you want to feel, and be specific about the results you want to see. Imagine yourself already there… but really feel what it’s like when you have met your goals. Now bring that same feeling back to your reference point. The step-by-step goals over time that you need to accomplish your overall vision become clearer. Make a plan of action for yourself and create specific, measurable goals so you can celebrate the small successes along the way.
By knowing where you are right now, and clearly focusing on your goals as you take steps to work toward them, you can have great success. Of course, dedication and repetition are integral to the time period it takes to reach your goals. Increased time and energy investment in your plan of action produces faster results. So actually, it comes down to how much you really want to accomplish your vision and how much time and energy you have to put into it. Your effort will yield the fruition of your work.
Sometimes it’s difficult, I know. It’s frustrating when you want to express yourself but feel blocked by your lack of precision with vocabulary or the amount of time it takes to retrieve the words you’re searching for in your mind. It’s actually much easier to just let go of that block by releasing your fear of making a mistake. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. In fact, that’s what learning is about. We make mistakes and we learn from them, when we have the courage to just do it.
Think of your private instruction time with your English coach as a safe haven. You can make all the mistakes you want and you’ll never be judged by them. It’s the perfect time to practice letting go of your inhibitions and letting your English flow. If you make a mistake, you can receive the guidance of a compassionate and knowledgeable coach. Eventually, with practice and repetition, you won’t be making those mistakes any more and your English will be more fluent. You will notice that you feel confident enough to talk to anyone. Remember that you are in the environment of someone who understands that the process of learning a language is much like the journey through life. We stumble and fall… and we get back up stronger than before.
Meredith has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania. A former high school Spanish teacher and ESL instructor, she is currently an English language coach for Livemocha and a personal development coach and writer who lives in San Diego, California.
Follow Meredith’s blog at flowinginenglish.blogspot.com.