I am stuck! Or how to overcome the effect of the plateau in learning English

    Learning a foreign language is a complex process that depends on many factors. The difficulty is that the brain cannot maintain the effectiveness of learning all the time. Therefore, there are periods of “academic stagnation” when you put the same amount of effort as before, but there are no results at all or they are very insignificant.

    Such periods of stagnation are called the "plateau effect." And through them pass 90% of all students who study English or any other foreign language.

    Albert Bandura, an American psychologist in the field of social learning, has developed a schedule that corresponds to the educational process in terms of efficiency.

    It can be divided into three points where there is a slowdown. We will consider them immediately in the context of learning English.

    Line 1. Difference of expectations

    This is a small plateau line of duration, which students encounter after 2-3 months of training. Beginner and Pre-Intermediate levels.

    The main reason - the fall of the primary motivation and feelings of novelty. After 2-3 months, learning the language turns into daily work. It is this psychological transition between the “fascinating occupation” and the “daily routine” that is the turning point.

    On the first line of the plateau, most students are eliminated, who hope that they will learn the language in a couple of months. And also those who do not have specific goals for learning the language.

    Line 2. Achieving small goals

    After the Intermediate level has been reached, most students can observe a slowdown in learning speed. This is the second line of the plateau.

    In fact, the person has already received basic skills for working with the language. He can understand the text and speech in English, speak clearly with oral and written form, even with a dictionary.

    For many purposes, this is already a sufficient level. For example, for tourist trips or correspondence in English.

    The problem here is that, along with a strong slowdown in speed, learning comes a serious loss of motivation. The student believes that he has rested against the ceiling of his capabilities. At this stage, many drop out of study because of the mistaken belief that they have no ability to learn languages.

    The duration of the second line of the plateau strongly depends on the motivation and goals of the student.

    For example, if among the goals is preparation for IELTS, then the second line of the plateau does not last long, and the regression after it takes place in a mild form. And if a student seeks to learn to watch TV shows with subtitles in English, then after reaching the Intermediate level, his motivation for further learning will fall, which aggravates stagnation and may serve as a reason to stop learning.

    Separately about the recession. It happens because of the plateau effect, when the student himself can already assess his progress and sees that it has become more difficult to learn, and the results have decreased. This is solely the problem of reducing motivation and the fall of faith in one’s strength.

    Line 3. Confident, but not free yet

    The longest plateau line that can last for years. And with her, as a rule, the most difficult to handle. It can be observed after the student has reached a confident level Advanced.

    Advanced is enough for most personal and professional purposes that are not related to deep work with the language.

    It allows you to read the manual in English or communicate with an overseas colleague, read books and watch movies in the original, only occasionally looking in dictionaries for incomprehensible phrases or phrases.

    But it is precisely the ignorance of the subtle nuances of the language that distinguishes the Advanced level from Fluent. That same sense of language, when you can juggle with words, creating undertones, puns or funny jokes.

    Most do not need it. But if, for example, you are a call center operator who works with US customers, only Fluent is needed here. After all, asking a client something is uncivilized, and if he is misunderstood, it can easily disrupt the deal.

    Causes that may trigger a plateau effect

    • Lack of clearly defined goals. Having goals is very important for motivating language learning. If there are no goals, training does not seem important, less time and effort is spent on it, which triggers stagnation.
    • Lack of control over the results. A person needs to know that his efforts bring results. The global goal - for example, to pass the TOEFL, will seem unattainable for a student with the Pre-Intermediate level, because progress is slow. And this may lead to a loss of motivation and desire to engage further.
    • A long period of classes on one method. It often happens when a student works with one teacher for a long period of time. The results of even the best methods for learning the language decline over time.
    • General tiredness. Excessive workload also reduces learning outcomes. A session period at a university, an emergency or a reporting period at work, illness or family problems can all lead to a deterioration in learning performance.
    • Lack of confidence. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence in the material studied is a common cause of the plateau effect, which is based on a lack of language practice.
    • Problems with a specific topic. Difficulties or too frequent mistakes are especially often caused by stagnation in the initial stages of training. They strongly knock off motivation and desire to learn English. Especially in the first and second lines of the plateau.

    How to overcome the effect of the plateau: practical advice

    EnglishDom English language teachers have gathered a number of tips to help you overcome the plateau effect of learning English.

    Do not give up!

    Probably, the advice is trivial, but it is one of the most important, because it depends only on the student.

    Stagnation always causes a drop in motivation. There is a desire to quit training. The main thing is not to give in to this impulse.

    How can I do that.

    • Thoughtfully evaluate the results that you have already achieved in a certain period of time. The easiest way to do this is with an independent language proficiency test. If you work hard for more than 3 months, the test results will show a positive trend.
    • Analyze errors and situations that adversely affect the learning process. Perhaps the drop in motivation and desire to learn is caused by extraneous factors. For example, illness or emotional experiences.
    • Talk to your teacher about your results. Ask him to give feedback and comment on you as a student, identify problems and difficulties that he sees on his part. If you study with a teacher individually, try to get feedback on your work every week.

    Rest actively

    The brain can not continuously learn and get stable results. With stable daily high loads, the efficiency of the brain decreases. This is especially evident in the statistical sample by occupation: The

    sample may look different. The main thing is that it shows the dynamics of learning.

    The easiest way to remove such statistics in online language learning applications. If you use them, then it will be easy to follow the dynamics. By the way, such an application was launched by EnglishDom.

    A stable level of education lasts from 2 to 5 months - it depends on the motivation and self-discipline of the person. Then inevitably follows a decline in activity due to fatigue. The brain becomes simply unable to process the information that enters it.

    The best tactic in this case is active vacation. 5-7 days of new impressions are exactly what you need. A trip to another city on a tour, on the sea, on the ascent to the mountain peaks, on a camping trip with tents - choose the kind of vacation you like and go ahead.

    Rest in the usual rhythm of life, but with a weekly termination of classes, will not help. Such a "rest" would be enough for a very short time. And after 2-3 weeks of learning fatigue will return again.

    Change the learning process

    The monotony of the process of learning the language gets tired pretty quickly. Suppose you study English for 9 months using the classical method, where 90% of the time is spent studying and practicing grammar and vocabulary, and the remaining 10% speaking skills.

    And now you feel that you are terribly tired of the learning process. All these endless translations and monotonous exercises, banal themes and stupid vocabulary.

    To make learning again exciting, you need to start learning the language differently. For example, try reading fiction with the help of the Frank method - when a translation or explanation of certain phrases is written next to an English sentence.

    Or you can sign up to a conversational club and talk for a few months on a variety of topics that interest you. Especially this point is important on the third line of the plateau. After all, the student gets used to the exercises and they seem to him to be something natural, even if they practically bring no results.

    Motivate and encourage yourself

    Only one discipline to achieve success will not work, so the lack of desire to learn must be fought. The easiest and most reliable way is to promote your success.

    Despite its simplicity, it works wonderfully. The main thing is to use it correctly.

    • Well passed the intermediate test - treat yourself to your favorite dish.
    • Remember all the words of the topic without mistakes - encourage yourself with several series of your favorite series.
    • We talked with the topic on the chosen topic and never got lost - go to the rink or rollerdrom.

    There is one important nuance - the promotion should be consistent with the results. Indulge yourself with a holiday in Egypt for a well-written essay - this is overkill.

    Individualize learning

    While learning a language, it is important to maintain interest. After all, the brain remembers much better information that is interesting to it, while using less energy. And such successes, in turn, have a positive effect on the level of motivation.

    Therefore, with the help of your favorite art books, you can learn the language much more efficiently than with the help of “specially selected texts” that you absolutely do not like.

    Most teachers are willing to meet and create a program around those topics that you like. The only exception is 2 blocks of topics that can not be replaced:

    • Basic conversational topics up to the Intermediate level. This includes a wide range of commonly used vocabulary from describing a home to going to the store. Without them, you just can not communicate normally in everyday life.
    • Professional topics in the case of studying English for a particular specialty. Everything is clear here, if English is for a lawyer, then there will be a lot of legal vocabulary and a separate focus on all the nuances of the bureaucratic language.

    Everything else can and should be individualized. In times of reduced motivation, this will give an extra boost and resume working efficiency.

    Tips are available, but they do help to deal with the plateau effect and promote your English.

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