Listen to a new episode of Speak English Now Podcast, your favorite material for practicing your spoken and heard English. You will also learn about lifestyle and culture, language, vocabulary, and how to improve your English more effectively.
Hi, everybody! I am Georgiana, your English teacher and founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com. My mission is to help you speak English fluently.
In today’s episode, I will talk about an issue that is of great concern to language students. It is the much-feared plateau.
What is a plateau? A plateau happens when you stop your progress despite continuing to do “all the right things.”
An interesting expression for this situation is: to hit a plateau.
“It seems I hit a plateau because I can’t see any progress with my English, and I’m still studying really hard!”
More literally, a plateau is a large flat area of land. This definition makes total sense because if you are walking on a plateau, you are not going up or down. You stay at the same height.
Plateaus are very common not only in learning a new language but in other areas—for example, a very common one is losing weight.
Imagine that you’ve been on a diet and have lost some weight. But then, after two months, you stop losing weight. You’re still on a diet, but you’re not losing weight anymore.
The main problem here is not the diet. It’s just that the body needs some time before it starts losing weight again. It has to adapt to the new situation.
This type of situation is very tough because when we experience it for a while, we can easily lose motivation, and may end up giving up. It is essential to understand better why this happens so that we do not lose motivation and will to continue.
I’m sure many of you have experienced this.
When you started learning English, you were very motivated. You have spent a lot of time listening and answering questions, but now apparently, you are not experiencing any improvement.
Usually, when we start listening or reading in the language we are studying, we notice a constant improvement in our level.
Every day we learn new words, expressions, and structures. We are happy and pleased and want to keep learning more and more. This is a wonderful stage.
After some time, we no longer notice a considerable improvement, although we still see small improvements. So we don’t worry too much and move on. But a bit later, our progress stagnates, and well, it’s when we start worrying.
This situation makes us lose our motivation, and possibly, we are tempted to give up or at least postpone it, promising ourselves that we will continue to study with enthusiasm and motivation, but this seldom happens.
The main reason this happens to us is simple. Our brain needs time to consolidate, structure, order, polish, and finally automate all this new knowledge.
Learning a new language is not only about learning new words but also thinking differently. That’s why I always insist that you have to learn in context. This way, you can observe how words are used in a sentence, and that takes time.
Think of it this way: when we learn math, we are using the conscious part of our brain to do calculations. To do this, we need to concentrate very hard. However, when we speak in our mother tongue, we can do this almost without attention and without effort. We can even do other kinds of activities while having a conversation.
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