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Typical learner vs. motivated learner (来源:英语麦当劳-英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)


Paula is a typical learner of English with a generally low level of motivation. She has occasional moments of high motivation - like the day before her English test or that time when she couldn't communicate with a foreign customer who called her at work. These kind of situations make her think "I've got to do something about my English!". However, they happen very rarely - less than once a month. So even if she studies quite intensively (e.g. for two whole days before an exam), the results are poor, because she forgets 90% of the things she learned within a month. This is no surprise: The way human memory works, you need to review things all the time; otherwise you just forget them.


Now let's look at a different English learner: Judy. Judy reads a special novel for English learners (written in simplified English) almost every day for 30 minutes. She bought an English-English dictionary and uses it to look up English words whenever she doesn't understand a sentence in her book. It was hard to study regularly at the beginning: Reading books and using a dictionary were not "normal activities" for her. And every English sentence was a challenge.

But now, after only two weeks, she can read much faster. While reading, she often sees words that she has learned in the past two weeks. When she recognizes such a word, she doesn't have to look it up in a dictionary and she knows she has made good progress. Judy feels she has learned a lot of English recently, and she is eager to learn more. Every day, she looks forward to reading her book. The book gives her the chance to use what she has learned (enjoy her progress) and to learn even more. Because she reads regularly, she forgets little and her vocabulary keeps growing.

Judy is on the right track. She will soon be able to read English-language newspapers and other resources written for native speakers.

Enjoyment leads to better memory

If you enjoy learning English, you will spend more time on it, and you will do it regularly. A high level of motivation will also give you another advantage. It will be easier for you to memorize new words and grammar structures. The reason is that the brain easily remembers information on a subject that you like. (For example, some people like history and know everything about World War II. If you told a "normal person" to memorize all these facts, they could never do it.) So enjoyment of learning gives you double benefits.

Improving your motivation for learning English

In this article, we share our techniques for improving your motivation for learning English as a foreign language. We used them all the time when we were learning English and we still use them when we need to boost our motivation in areas other than English.

Imagine yourself in the future
Imagine you can talk to native speakers just like you talk in your first language. Imagine other people wanting to speak English as well as you do. Imagine the possibility of writing e-mail to people from all over the world.
It is helpful to read an article about the advantages of knowing English well. You should know that it is possible to learn English really well. Just look at other people who have done it.

Remember that you are already good
You already know some English (you're reading an article in English right now). That's a big success! Now it's time for more successes. Time to start using powerful methods of effective learning. Time to gain an impressive knowledge of English.

Remember there is a lot that you don't know
You are good, but your English probably isn't perfect. You probably can't understand English-language TV, read books in English, talk to native speakers easily, write letters without mistakes, etc.
You should never think your English is perfect. Even if you are the best student in your class, always try to find your weak areas and work on them. When you've learned to speak English well, your problems will be quite small: punctuation, rarely used grammar structures, rare words, understanding "street language". Right now, your problems are probably more basic: mistakes in pronunciation, small vocabulary, grammar problems with the present perfect tense and conditional structures.

Use your English whenever you can
This is very, very important. The more you use English, the more you will want to learn it.
Because English is so popular, you can use it everywhere. You can use Google to find English-language websites with interesting information, you can watch American cartoons, you can play adventure games on your computer, you can read interesting books in English, or you can do other things that we write about.

 
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