What has stopped you from achieving fluency?

Business conversation

Being fluent means you can smoothly speak or write in a language. Practice usually makes perfect, but if you aren't seeing an improvement after a while, what might be stopping you from making headway and how can you overcome this?

1. No Time or Motivation.

If you are waiting for “the perfect time” to sit down and study, it may never happen. A good way to tackle this is to set a specific time on a specific day of the week that will be devoted to studying. This way, it will be part of your weekly routine and, therefore, you will not have to devote any time or energy to thinking and deciding when it is going to happen. If you are finding it extremely difficult to pick a day and time to study regularly, then the problem may lie elsewhere—which takes us to our second point here: motivation. 

When we easily come up with excuses not to do something, it is probably worth exploring whether we actually want to do it, or our motivation. The following points may also be worth addressing with your teachers in class:  

(a) What are your goals?

(c) What material(s) would suit you and your needs as a student?  

(d) What kind of activities do you enjoy most?  

At The English Farm, we have solid experience helping students find goals and dreams they can pursue, and achieve them within a reasonable period of time. 

2. Regularity is king. 

Assuring weekly time for studying English (both for taking a lesson and follow-up study time) will almost certainly boost your fluency levels! Use part of your lesson time to practise and speak as much as possible. Take note of your teacher’s feedback and make sure you regularly check your notes. Focus on avoiding the same mistakes you made the previous class. Equally important is input: if you want to enhance your fluency, you need to read and listen to English as regularly as you speak it. The Internet has plenty of resources for this, and a lot of them are valid, such as series, podcasts and newspaper articles. Seeing and listening to English help you improve your sounds on the basis of imitation, and broaden your vocabulary and grammar structures on the same basis. 

In this respect, The English Farm Extra is a weekly publication with coaching plans for you to try out, and articles to read and discuss in class. It is an excellent opportunity for you to receive valuable sources of input and output on a regular basis. You can get The Extra every Tuesday in your inbox by clicking here: https://join.theenglishfarm.com/theextra-signup

3. Not sure how to study.

We believe that there is no single, universal method to learn a language, but in order for you to find your ways, you first need to make sure you can specify your goals, strengths, weaknesses and needs. With these points very clear in mind, you can probably work on a method—or a set of methods—with your teacher in class. You don’t need to do this on your own—or rely on your teacher (or teachers!) for this! They can make the most of their experience and sensitivity to give you valuable advice. 

In a nutshell, becoming fluent in a language defines a set of very specific requirements: having motivation, maintaining regularity, practising performance and getting enough input, analyzing feedback and discussing the whole process with your teacher—including goals, materials, class activities and procedures. If you feel disappointed at how your fluency has been progressing, take the bull by the horns—follow the simple but useful tips discussed here and experience a fluency boost!