Why Has My English Stopped Improving?
Level: All Levels Reading Time: 7 minutes Category: Study Tips
Has your English stopped improving? This happens to lots of people, but many people don’t understand why this happens.
We often call this reaching a language plateau. It is a natural part of learning a new language.
If you understand what is happening, you can plan how to stop it and how to start making improvements again!
By the end of this lesson, you will know why this happens and what you need to do to start seeing improvements again.
What Is a language plateau?
This is where you stop learning as quickly as you did before. Your progress slows down and this can cause you to feel like it is too hard to learn a new language.
When you start learning a language you make a lot of progress very quickly but as time goes on, your improvement will slow down. This is natural. The problem is that your motivation can decrease.
Hitting a language plateau usually happens when you reach the intermediate level.
It is different for each person, but generally it is around the intermediate level. Check out @EnglishOnly19 describing this problem.
Why does this happen?
So this happens to a lot of people but usually for different reasons.
One common reason is that you either reached your learning goals, or you never set any learning goals.
Most people when they start learning English, they have goals like have a conversation or tweet in English. Probably you can do these things by the time you hit the intermediate level.
If you don’t have goals, it’s really hard to improve.
Another reason is you now understand how much more there is to learn and it is demotivating.
When you start learning, you focus on how much you are learning and everything is fine. After a while, you realise how much stuff you haven’t learned yet and it becomes overwhelming.
This hurts your confidence and motivation making it hard to improve.
Perhaps you are stuck in a loop doing the same things over and over again.
You study the same book, you watch the same videos and you hear the same podcast over and over and over and you’re bored of it. If you keep doing the same thing, you will get the same results and this leads to you not making any progress.
One last thing to remember is that reaching a language plateau is a natural part of language learning so it is not all your fault.
It is what you decide to do next to start seeing progress again that is important.
If you want to improve your English, you should check out my FREE study hacks guide – It has 8 simple tips that you need to know and are designed to help you level up! Click here to get your free guide instantly!
How to start improving again.
Here are 5 ways that you can start to notice improvement in your English again.
- Set some new goals
- Switch from learning materials to authentic materials
- Mix up your study routine
- Interact with native speakers
- Focus on Vocabulary for a while
Set some new goals.
The first tip is to set some new goals for yourself.
If you have a clear goal to work towards, it is much easier to focus and you will feel more motivated. It will also help you decide what you need to study next to achieve your goals.
Make your goals achievable and set a time limit for your goals. A good example would be things like you want to learn 1000 new words in 6 months or be able to use all the grammar in your textbook in a year.
Whatever your goal is, write it down somewhere and keep an eye on it!
Switch to Authentic materials.
The next tip is to change the stuff you are looking at.
When people start learning a new language, they focus on things designed for students. You know, textbooks, vocabulary, language learning apps and so on. These are fine, but they are not super interesting most of the time.
Maybe it’s time to try using some real world materials designed for native speakers instead. Things like podcasts, movies and even YouTube videos can be great ways to interact with the English language.
Just because it isn’t in a text book doesn’t mean it isn’t studying!
Mix up your study routine.
Another good idea is to mix up your study routine.
If you have been doing the same thing for a while, maybe you have gotten used to it and it is not interesting for your brain anymore.
Try a new app, try watching a movie in English or why not start reading an English dictionary?
Anything you can do to interact with the English language in a new way can get your English skills to start growing again.
Interact with native speakers.
One thing you could try is actually interacting with native speakers.
There are many ways you can do this, even if you don’t know anyone else in your area who speaks English. You could try social media websites like twitter or facebook. Join a conversation circle online. Take a conversation class on iTalki.
There are loads of ways you can interact with native speakers and it will make using the English you have learned so far more interesting as well as helping to motivate you.
Focus on Vocabulary for a while.
Finally, spend some time learning vocabulary.
It might sound boring but vocabulary is the main thing that stops people from making progress past the intermediate level. If you want to start seeing improvement again – vocabulary is essential!
A couple of weeks ago I made a lesson about an app called ANKI that I feel is the most powerful tool there is to help you learn new words. Check it out using the link below.
Read More: How to learn Vocabulary using ANKI.
It doesn’t matter how you learn new words though as long as you learn new words. It will make everything else easier in the future for you!
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