What if I told you that one thing can completely change your approach to language learning?
This one important thing is the key to learning English.
Do you want to change the way you think about learning?
If you are struggling to learn English, here’s what you might be missing: motivation!
Motivation is the key to language learning.
Why do you want to learn English? What will you accomplish with this second language? If you focus on your goals and motivation, you will enjoy learning and learn better.
If you want to learn English well, you need to know why speaking English will make your life better.
What are the benefits of learning English? Keep reading to find out and get inspired!
Why Are Motivation and Goal Setting Important?
In a 2005 educational conference summary, author Jayne Moon writes about the challenges of teaching English to children.
She says that one of the greatest challenges of teaching English in schools is that the students aren’t motivated. They don’t know why they need to learn English or how it will benefit their lives.
The same can be true for adult learners. If you don’t focus on the outcome of learning English, you will struggle with the process.
For adult and teenage learners, there’s a difference between motivation and pressure. Motivation is something that gets you excited about learning English.
For example: If I learn English, I will be able to watch more movies in their original language.
This is different than pressure: If I don’t learn English, I will fail this class.
One way to stay motivated is to set goals for yourself. These goals could be in one of the six areas listed below. For example, you could learn English so that you can communicate more clearly or travel to an English-speaking country.
When you begin to reach your goals, you will see the outcome of your hard work! You will be even more motivated to continue learning.
English: A Global Language
One of the reasons you may be learning English is because it’s considered a global language.
English is spoken all over the world as a first and second language.
Did you know that English is spoken in around 70 different countries?
There’s a reason why English is one of the most common second languages. That is because it is one of the most commonly used languages across the internet and is often found in academia.
Billions of people around the world speak English, and you can too!
There are so many benefits to learning English. One of them is that learning English can connect you to the global network of English-speakers across the world.
Read through some of the other benefits of learning English and then join the billions of people who have learned and are learning to speak in English.
Looking for Motivation? 6 Benefits of Learning English
Already know why you want to learn English but don’t know where to start? The answer’s always FluentU!
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
FluentU immerses you in the language through countless exciting videos and audio. Plus, you can practice vocabulary with interactive subtitles, customized flashcards and vocabulary lists.
Test your knowledge with quizzes, and track your learning progress with vocabulary fluency bars and daily goals with FluentU!
And if you don’t know why you should study English, we’ve broken the benefits down into six great reasons. You can think of them as “the five C’s (and one S!)” for why to learn English.
Let’s take a look at them below!
1. Cognitive Flexibility or Stretching Your Brain
One of the greatest benefits of learning any second language is cognitive flexibility or, in other words, how stretchy your brain is.
People who speak two languages must learn to identify which language they need to speak and when they should speak it. They must be able to easily switch between the two languages.
MindShift, a site that explores the world of learning, published an article entitled “What’s Going on Inside the Brain of a Bilingual Child?” which states that bilingual children show better attention skills and have a greater ability to switch between tasks.
In another article, posted by the Michigan State University Extension, author Tracy Trautner writes that “Bilingual children may have a superior ability to focus on one thing and change their response, easily indicating cognitive flexibility.”
In adults, cognitive flexibility shows itself when we try to describe objects.
When you learn a language, you are learning more words and making more associations between words. This is helpful when communicating in English, but it can also be helpful for communicating in your native language.
In his paper on cognitive flexibility and language, author Gedeon O. Deák explains that for adult learners, flexibility displays itself in the associations we make with words. Understanding a joke or choosing a descriptive word can both be signs of cognitive flexibility.
So, pick up your textbook or open those English-learning apps and get studying.
Not only will you learn English but you will also improve your brain’s flexibility in other areas.
2. Cultural Awareness and Traveling the World
Learning a second language can also teach you about a second culture, as language is a key aspect of culture.
When you begin learning English, you will immerse yourself in the culture of English-speaking countries.
In order to learn English, you may start to watch movies or shows made in America, England and other countries. Or, you may practice English by speaking to a native speaker, which will help you begin to understand their culture.
In their book, “Attitudes and Motivation in Second-Language Learning,” Robert C. Gardner and Wallace E. Lambert write that “The successful learner of a second language must be prepared to adopt various aspects of another linguistic and cultural group.”
You may also learn about other cultures through travel.
Learning English allows you to travel to countries across the globe and interact with the people and the cultures there. As you do, you will also learn more about what makes your culture unique.
The more you travel and the more you learn, the more unique your perspective will be.
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience new cultures around the world!
3. Confidence, Life Improvement and Long-term Learning
Language learning boosts confidence.
The beginning stages of learning English may be challenging, but they will help you improve your confidence.
When you learn a language, you need to accept that you will make mistakes. It’s important to practice anyway and take risks until you see improvement.
Be proud of yourself for trying even when you do make mistakes! You’ll build confidence in your English-speaking abilities but also in yourself.
Learning a language can also lead to improved learning in other areas.
You’ll create patterns of learning that can be applied to the rest of your life. A research report from the University of London entitled “Learning, Continuity and Change in Adult Life” showed that continued learning (such as language learning) through adult life leads to a happier lifestyle.
4. Creativity and English Entertainment
Learning a second language can help you think more creatively.
As we mentioned before, learning English can help your brain become more flexible. This flexibility can lead to increased creativity in problem-solving and in the way you interact with the world around you.
You can also practice creativity by engaging in more art. Because English is spoken by so many people around the world, it’s one of the primary languages of entertainment.
Many movies, television shows, songs and books were originally created in English.
By learning the language, you can experience art and entertainment in its native language. Engaging with creative media will help make you more creative.
5. Connection: Building Relationships Through English Learning
One of the great things about learning English is that it connects you to people around the world. English is a social language, and learning is a social skill.
As you begin studying English, you may practice by having one-on-one conversations with English speakers or other students learning English. You may join study groups or find a pen pal. You will meet English speakers in classes and in your travels.
The Universiti Sains Malaysia conducted a study to ask students if they felt they could learn English through Facebook. The results showed that students did consider Facebook to be an essential learning tool.
Other social media sites can also be a great place to practice English and make connections with people around the world who are also learning English.
6. Success in Business and Education
Finally, learning English can lead to greater success.
English is often the primary language used in academia. This means that studying English can open up a world of possibilities for your future.
You can attend a prestigious (good/impressive) school taught in English, you can take classes on almost any subject imaginable and your own academic pursuits can be obtained.
The business industry also relies heavily on the English language.
Many jobs require English fluency. In fact, the demand for employees who can speak more than one language has doubled in recent years, according to the New American Economy, a research organization.
Even when English isn’t required, it’s a valuable skill that puts you ahead of the competition.
Knowing English can lead to promotions at work and better opportunities. This can lead to more money and a better job.
By learning English, you will expand your world and your opportunities.
You’ll benefit from personal success, knowing that you accomplished your goal and changed your life for the better. There are so many reasons to study English. What’s your motivation?
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.