Truth be told, most Business English students reach a point when they start feeling demotivated and frustrated about their language learning process. They consider they’re not making progress and can sometimes feel embarrassed or ashamed because, from their point of view, they “are not doing it right or enough”. Of course, many of these same students confess they lack the time they need to study or do homework.
So, if you’re one of them, the questions that might have popped up are: “What can I do to feel motivated again?” or “How can I improve my language skills if I don’t have time?”. The following are a few of my suggestions:
1) Find a system that works for YOU. You might not be a morning person and would rather study in the evening or, maybe, you have 10 idle minutes on your way to work in the mornings. Some students find it useful to listen to podcasts. Others prefer Youtube o Tedtalk videos. Choose what works for YOU. That way you’ll make sure you’re making the most of that little time you have.
2) Believe you have time: sometimes just 5 minutes is enough. This is for those who complain about not having any time at all to do exercises or practise their English language skills. You can still do it if you only have 5 minutes a day. You could use them to study a new set of vocabulary items or write a paragraph about a new topic you’re learning in class. Whatever you do, it’s worth it and you’ll feel better after you’ve done it.
3) Organization: set SMART learning objectives. It could either be finishing that book you started last month or writing an article on an issue you’re studying in class. In class, I usually use real-life tasks that students might actually have to perform in the future such as roleplaying a phone call, participating in a business meeting or making a presentation. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
4) Use topics that are relevant and of interest to you. If you’re a cyclist, then, for sure, reading about cycling tours and experiences will be far more engaging than reading about the latest technological advances.
5) Check your progress with mini tests or specific tasks. You may even prepare for an official certification like FCE (First Certificate of English), CAE (Cambridge Advanced Examination), Trinity, IELTS, TOELF or the BEC exams (Business English Cambridge), which are so useful for Business English students. That will surely keep you motivated and on the go.
You’ll find more ideas in “Los Cinco Requisitos Fundamentales para Aprender una Lengua Extranjera”.
I’m eager to know what other suggestions you’d add to this list.