Top 7 Tips to Keep Positive while learning English
Top 7 Tips to Keep Positive while learning English in Malta
- Get out and mingle
The biggest mistake you can make when you’re here is to spend too much time on your own. Sure, everyone needs some alone time and it’s important to give ourselves that quiet, private time so we can process all the new information we’re getting, both academically and as visitors exploring a new country, but the one thing that will help the most when your goal is to learn English and improve your language skills is … to use it!
When you are out and about with other students or even with locals or any people you meet in Malta, your brain is getting a workout* in English since you are doing all of the below and much more more:
- looking around for the right words from the vocabulary you know,
- putting sentences together using the correct structure and tense,
- understanding what you are hearing and inferring the meaning of the words you don’t know, etc.
- Go on school excursions
There is a lot to see when you are here, and there are many ways you can explore our unique islands, but the easiest and most cost-effective* way is by booking organised activities with the school as all the hassle of transport and getting around will be taken care of. Moreover, we know the places worth visiting and how much time it is necessary to spend there, and our group leaders do their utmost to make each trip worth remembering.
- Don’t complicate things – be patient
While it’s good to be ambitious and aim high* in your language learning goals, especially in today’s fast-paced, success-driven world, you should also make sure not to go to the extreme of being too hard on yourself* when you find yourself making mistakes, or if you sometimes feel that you’re not learning quickly enough. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Remember, there’s no easy shortcut to learning a language and it isn’t a subject you can learn by simply memorising a set of facts or rules. Rather, it is like a muscle that you build with practice. Therefore, it is better to have small specific goals which you can measure, like:
- I want to learn how to speak about my past experiences and plans for the future;
- I want to understand the main points when I listen to a news bulletin;
- I want to be able to ask relevant questions when I hear about something that interests me and want to know more;
- I want to read articles on topics I find interesting and be able to understand words I don’t know from the general meaning of the text;
- I want to write well-expressed concise tweets / status updates about myself / my brand / my products to upload on social media;
- I want to express myself clearly whenever I share an opinion or emotion;
instead of big general goals which:
- are too difficult to measure,
- leave you feeling like you haven’t achieved them, and
- keep you focused on what you don’t know,
- I want to be able to read English novels;
- I want to understand when I listen to the radio;
- I want to speak fluently in English.
Baby steps will get you there in the end, so don’t rush the process, enjoy the journey.
Which brings us to the next point:
- Celebrate the little successes
Documenting the things you learn and recording examples of how you used them successfully in day-to-day situations and interactions (for example by keeping a notebook, journal or diary) can help you measure your learning and give you a real sense of your progress. This also puts you, as the student, in a position of control over your own learning, as it makes you more aware of where you stand and can even help you identify what you need to improve, which you can then discuss with your teacher.
Most importantly, it is an exercise which should serve to motivate you as it keeps you focused on the positive, that is, on what you are learning and how much you know, not on what you don’t know. This will automatically help you build momentum* as you go forward on your language learning journey, giving you faster results while also making you feel better in the process. In a nutshell*: do not underestimate the little achievements.
- Trust the experts
You have travelled to a different country and enrolled at a school because you want to learn or improve on what you already know. Therefore you should trust our judgement as regards your level and your progress, but of course it is still important to approach us if there is anything you are concerned about.
Be sure to follow the advice your teachers give you and ask questions if you have specific targets or concerns – don’t keep them to yourself. Now is your chance to discuss and meet your academic needs so make the most of it while you’re here and don’t waste the opportunity, as it will be too late once you go back home.
You can ask a teacher or other member of the academic staff to give you recommendations on books, online subscriptions, websites and other resources that can help you. Even if you just want to chat about places to visit and things to do, there is always a staff member who can help.
- Respect – everyone, everything, everywhere
This is your home away from home, which means that you deserve to feel comfortable throughout your stay and to receive fair treatment and a good service. However it also means that, in return, you should treat Malta and everyone you meet here (Maltese or foreign) with the same respect that you treat your home country and fellow nationals, whether at school, out in the street or at your accommodation.
Respect goes both ways. Respect to each other, to our friends, to strangers, to the people we pay for a service, to our surroundings, and even to the day-to-day objects we use, especially if we share them with others, such as any shared facilities at our accommodation.
Everyone stands to gain* from such a diverse setting with people from so many different cultures and walks of life, and this could be the opportunity of a lifetime for you to learn far more than just English and to expose yourself to so much that is new – in language, culture and life. But this can only work as long as there is respect.
Smile, be polite, tolerate others’ differences, be mindful with how you use things in class and at your accommodation, and follow the rules, as these are there to safeguard* your rights as well as others’ (e.g. keeping noise levels down at night, being punctual for lessons and excursions, not littering etc.).
- Think positive
Have a sense of humour, laugh at your mistakes, help others see the funny side of theirs, go with the flow, take things in your stride, don’t take yourself too seriously (even if you are rightfully serious about your goals and success, of course), and enjoy the ride. What’s the use of fretting* over little things which are not worth spoiling your experience?
Yes, of course you must take action and do what you can to improve a situation if something is not right, and that’s what we are here for, to help. But a lot counts on* how you react to a situation, and a solution can be found much more easily with the right attitude, and if there is cooperation on all sides and a will* to make things work out.
So don’t add to the stress and make unnecessary difficulties, because there is definitely more which is positive, and negativity is a waste of time as it can never make things better. Always look on the bright side!*
Now the ball is in your court.* Do you want to have the best possible time in Malta? You choose.
- getting a workout – getting exercise
- cost-effective – financially worthwhile
- aim high – set high standards
- being too hard on yourself – being self-critical; criticising yourself too much; being negative about yourself
- build momentum – become more productive, efficient and effective
- In a nutshell – To summarise
- stands to gain – is in a position from which they can have an advantage;
- safeguard – protect
- fretting – stressing out, feeling anxious
- counts on – depends on
- a will – determination, intention, desire, wish
- look on the bright side – be optimistic; see the good in a difficult situation
- the ball is in your court – it’s your responsibility; it’s up to you; the decision is in your hands