Taking Charge Of Foreign Language Learning.

We have to remember that unless we can take charge of our own learning, we probably will not succeed in learning a foreign language (FL). Each of us knows himself/herself best so we have to use our self-knowledge to guide our foreign learning process even if it means to disregard certain approaches and suggestions. We are all different and we learn whatever we want in different ways. Some of us analytical and need a rule for everything, while others are global, and they prefer to gather examples and imitate them. Some of us need lots of repetition, while others require less. We cannot rely on someone to provide us with an approach that is specifically designed for us. We need to experiment in order to discover what works for each of us and what does not work. So, in order to learn a foreign language each of us needs to be personally involved. It means to play with that foreign language we learn to develop a feel for how it works. The foreign language must in some sense become a part of us rather than remain an external system for manipulation. Learning a foreign language is like learning to ride a bicycle. Anyone can describe precisely what is involved in bicycle riding, but until one actually gets on the bike and takes a few spills, no meaningful learning can take place. Each of us needs to decide what the overall goals of the foreign language learning process are. This will help us develop a clear direction and will also provide us with benchmarks to measure the performance progress. For the same reason we have to set clear goals for our daily and our weekly study. A foreign language is learned in small bits, so we have to establish a schedule for studying and stick to it. We achieve little by occasional studying. We did not learn our native language all at once. In fact, it took us quite a while (estimated five years) to learn all its intricacies. So, we should give ourselves the same chance when we start learning a foreign language. For Americans some foreign languages easier to learn and some foreign languages are more difficult to learn, because foreign languages fall into four categories of difficulty. To be engaged in a learning process we must study every day, and our mind has to be receptive for learning to take place.

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