Learn Spanish by Living

by learn a language journalist

And because this system teaches us to ignore our bodies and foster a certain amount of fear – fear of the teacher, fear of the exams, fear of failing…–, we end up being anxious when we have certain subjects, when preparing for our exams… Over time, our brains learn that learning is an anxiety inducing activity.

And therefore we fail to learn deeply. Because anxiety is not a state conducive to learning or concentrating.

Old beliefs – I’m a left-brain person

Many of us carry this anxiety whenever we start learning a new skill. Many of us don’t even start learning a new skill because we were told we were bad at it when we were younger.

“I am bad at languages. I am a left brain person” or “I am bad at languages, I am a right brain person”.  

Crazy!

A left brain person might struggle to find peace with the arbitrary parts of Spanish and maybe to internalise the language, whereas a right brain person might struggle more to find the logic in Spanish and internalise the rules.

The anxiety rises when we even think about learning anything we were told we were bad at. And because we tend to be put in the boxes of “good with numbers and logic, bad with creativity”, or “good with creativity and bad with logic”, we also tend to carry those beliefs forever.

Left over Right. Logic over Emotion. Memorising over Play

Because we believe that logic primes over creativity, we tend to learn a language following the logic and neglecting the creative. And, because a language falls equally into logic and chaos and emotion, we are, quite often, bound to fail to internalise Spanish.

In brief, we fail because anxiety is our learning companion, one that hinders learning more than a chatty classmate next to us would do. And because we don’t consider the fact that creativity and play are key components of the learning process regardless of your predominant brain side.

Multitasking – I’m just being productive

Even if we don’t have any trauma associated with school or a block with any particular skill, as adults, very often, we try to learn in between activities.

We are busy. Therefore we try to memorise our flashcards while we are in the bus on the way to work or pick up the kids. We take our 15 minutes coffee break to cram some grammar rules, or read the news while we have our mind in the next task. We open our language app in our phone whenever we have a minute to spare.

We lead fast speed lives without questioning whether or not this way of living is good for us. Oblivious to the fact that this fast lived life lead to a certain amount of constant anxiety.

Again, anxiety is not allowing us to learn and internalise the language in the way we want. It is as if we are cramming all we need to know before the day of the exam. This tactic has never worked, right? The more we study, the worst the results!

We are very productive, but are we present with the language?

We are committed to learning this new language at all costs, so we do what we must. And this commitment is absolutely fantastic. But my question is, are we fully present while we are learning? Are we enjoying doing this activity? And what is more, are we involved in an activity that relaxes us, gives us pleasure, makes the time fly?

If not, we are not achieving our full learning potential.

This content was originally published here.

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