The holidays are over, and we are sure you had a great time, but it’s time to get back on track with your studies. It is just natural to think ‘I don’t remember anything’ or ‘I’ve fallen behind’, and then you have a pile of unfinished topics and tasks! Just the very thought of classes makes you feel dizzy and completely ruins your mood.
We are motivated to study with different things: for some it’s exams, for others it can be an important trip or an international conference, and in many cases there is a deadline and a certain amount of information to cover. So turn your willpower on and start! In this case your best aids will a strict schedule with a teacher and a daily self-study plan.
But what to do if a foreign language is just a hobby and your motivation might be quite blurry? How do you get into studying after holidays? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered and have a few useful tips just for you!
1. Refresh your motivation
Remind yourself of the reasons why you’ve taken up learning a language. Write a note to yourself on what progress you’d like to achieve in 2022, and how you are going to use your knowledge. If you can already speak a language at least a little bit, write the note in it. For example,I would like to get B1 by the end of 2022 to be able to communicate with my friends from London/ to visit my sister in the USA in 2023/ to enter the Uni in Europe / to be able to watch movies in the original / to feel comfortable abroad.
2. Clean and organise your desk.
Do you have a special place for your classes? Wether you use interactive tools or need space on your desk, you should eliminate distractions. Turn off your social media notifications, get rid of excess items on your desk. Create a pleasant and comfortable space for your lessons. You can buy a new diary, cute copybook and an eye-catching notebook so you might find yourself reaching for a pen more often
Another good idea it to have a motivation quote on the notebook in the language you are learning. Teachers at the begging of an academic year use this trick as well! Have a look at the quotes our teachers have
3. Create a study plan
Plan all the lessons for the week ahead. Start with something simple and continually introduce more complicated tasks. On the first day you can pick a topic for revision. Make your first lessons as pleasant as possible. It might be a good idea to start with listening to your favourite songs, learning the lyrics or maybe with watching short clips from your favourite films in the original.
Here are examples of English lessons:
Monday: download a grammar app (e.g., duolingo) and complete the first lesson.
Tuesday: listen to “Surrender” by Natalie Taylor (translate the lyrics, listen to the song and try singing along)
Wednesday : watch a livestream with Eelena Perez on Present Perfect and do some practice exercises from the app or the internet,
Thursday: using present perfect write a mini essay or make a list of the goals you’ve managed to achieve since 2021 (for example: I have managed to find a better job. I have learnt 20 irregular verbs. I have gone snowboarding/ sup surfing. I have given birth to a girl. I have started to do sports. )
Friday: Revise the construction “I’m going to, I’m planning to” and write your aims for this year or even make a video.
Saturday: watch an episode from the tv show Extra (for beginners) or Friends (for more advanced learners).
4. Create positive emotional context for your lessons
You can write an essay ‘How I spent the holidays’ (you don’t need to say summer or winter holidays, it sounds like something you write at school).
Describe the most enjoyable and special moments . Such happy memories help with decreasing stress levels , and you are practising at the same time! However, if you think your language level is not enough to write an essay, you should just look up necessary words in a dictionary and write them down. Don’t be too strict and hard on yourself, don’t demand too much of yourself. On the contrary, be proud and praise yourself after completing exercises, find a way to treat yourself after the lesson.
5. Start gradually
After holidays, your brain needs to be prepared for some active work. To keep all the strenth accumulated during long holidays for a long time, try not to overload yourself in the first days of classes. Design your schedule in a way which consists of 25-minutes ‘sets’ with 5 minute breaks.
But sometimes even 25 minutes might look too much and you keep putting everything off, in this case persuade yourself to start with 5 minutes. After the first five minutes you will probably start getting into it and the process will get much smoother.
6. Engage your friends.
It is always great to be with like-minded people, and start doing something together even greater! Make an arrangement with your best friend, family member , colleague to start learning a language together. Encourage each other, plan classes together and share your progress.
For example, you can agree to discuss every day some news or a part of a film/show you are watching, or you can retell one page of a book you’ve been reading (to make things more interesting, you can retell different pages from the same book, or even better if you and your make read two different books). If your language level isn’t advanced enough, you can talk about what happened yesterday or your plans for tomorrow. If you get used to saying out loud some simple words every day, you will notice that words come to mind more easily, there are fewer pauses in your speech and you feel more confident overall.
Another good way to practise is to play charades once a week where you act out and give clues on various words. If it’s not for you, trying other board games which require speaking about actions will be great , too.
7. Organise a short flash-mob
If you still don’t feel that motivated, you cannvite all your friends to participate in a foreign language marathon or you can start a flash-mod with daily reports on social networks about your progress. Set up prizes for the most active participant!
Here are some ideas:
For a month I learn two new words daily
For a month I write one short text daily
For a month I retell one story daily
For a month I watch an episode of a Tv-series I like in the language I am learning
8. Sign up for a mini marathon
There are countless opportunities and activities on Instagram these days that make your eyes run wide. Find an account of a teacher you really like and follow them, watch their live streams and do home tasks when they give ones. By the way , our teacher Elena Perez does it her account !
9. Be consistent
The main thing is to stick to the schedule for at least 3 days in a row with continual immersion in the studying process . This is exactly how much time our brain needs to comprehend new rules, and it will get much easier in the following days!
We wish you an easy start and great results in the new year