People who have a fear of speaking in a foreign language are said to suffer from Foreign Language Anxiety (FLA). Many students and language teachers often experience FLA at some point during their course of learning a foreign language. Experts say that FLA is caused by lack of proper language understanding, correction of speaking errors, worrying about how one sounds, among other reasons. The good news, however, is that the fear of speaking in a foreign language or FLA can easily be overcome.
Here are 5 ways to beat your fear of speaking a foreign language.
The Power of Positivity
Keep track of the progress you make as you learn the foreign language. This will help you notice the growth and development being made. Appreciating this growth provides you with the positive energy to keep going as well as the motivation to correct the common mistakes that come with speaking a foreign language.
Don’t Focus on Being Perfect
Always remember that developing speech in a foreign language is an ongoing learning process. Even natives have to keep practicing in order to be better speakers of their own language. The goal is not to be perfect, but to keep learning, and learning is made easier by improving on the mistakes we make. So, focus on developing your language and avoid the urge to sound perfect.
Make Friends Who Speak Foreign Language
Knowing someone who speaks a foreign language can help in any of these three ways. Holding friendly and casual conversations will give you the confidence you need to speak in public. Secondly, you will note that your friend also makes a mistake once in a while. You will realize it’s normal to make mistakes and still sound great. Thirdly, speaking a foreign language with a friend helps to develop a natural approach to learning.
Think in Foreign Language
If you didn’t know, your mind is the best foreign language tutor you can ever find. Instead of thinking in your native language, try creating scenarios and speaking to yourself in the foreign language that is causing you anxiety. You can begin practicing this by reading books or blog posts written in the language and later on trying to remember what you read.
You Are Not Alone
According to experts, being aware that you are not the only one trying to fight foreign language anxiety is the first step in the process of overcoming it. Don’t get discouraged by people who correct your grammar. If you listen closely, you will note that they are not as good either. Focus on being better than the average speaker and soon, you will be among the best.
Annabelle is part of the Content and Community team at SmileTutor, sharing valuable content to their own community and beyond.