3 New English Learning Habits

The Covid pandemic has changed everything.

We’ve needed to change how we work, how we study, and how we communicate with other people. The ways that we learn English have also changed.

Here are some of the ways that Covid affected English learning – and some new habits which can help us now.

What Covid changed

Apart from some serious side-effects from the virus (scientists are studying “brain fog” – a period of time where you can suffer from loss of brain function). there are other things that Covid has changed:

1. Human interaction
When we can’t meet people socially, we lose our opportunities to speak to other people. Conversations with people outside your family are now shorter and more limited. We don’t have conversations “by chance” with people.

This means that we lose fluency. We also don’t get practice in listening to people, and replying to them.

2. Time and concentration
You might work from home, and home-school your children at the same time. You have even less time for yourself or for studying English. When you’re balancing so many things at the same time, it can be difficult to concentrate or to focus.

3. Calm
When you’re worried about your health or your job, it’s really hard to concentrate on other things. During the pandemic, we’re all stressed about getting ill or losing our jobs – there’s not much energy left over for anything else.

New English learning habits

But even if Covid has taken our time and peace of mind, there are ways that we can adapt. Here are some things that work well now.

1. Find time here and there
Your schedule is probably more complicated now than before, and studying for hours at a time isn’t possible when you’re doing so many other things. So try to make English study a part of your day – in the same way as you think of exercise.

For example, if you have a 10-minute yoga stretch in the morning, try to find ten minutes before or after for English studying. Or if you have a 20-minute walk after lunch, try to find another 20 minutes for English after dinner.

One way to succeed with new habits is to make them consistent. Even 10-20 minutes a day is a good amount of time for English, but it’s easier when it’s the same time every day, as it then becomes a natural part of your day.

2. Be realistic about your English goals
It might not be possible to follow an intensive English course, so do what you can. Instead of having three English lessons a week, have just one, for example!

It might also take you longer to get fluent in English, because you have fewer chances to speak and listen. So find other ways that you can interact with people. There’s a lot you can do online: online quiz nights, online choirs (singing in English can be fun!), and online chat groups. These can help you feel less isolated from other people as well.

3. Believe in yourself
‘Mindset’ is very important when you have a goal like learning English. Covid has taught us that we can survive and that we are stronger than we think. For example, we’ve had to become more flexible, more patient and more accepting of difficult situations. Here are five qualities which will help you develop a positive mindset for learning English:

– flexibility
Take study opportunities when you can, and balance your “English time” with other important things

– patience
Your goals might take longer to reach, but that’s OK. Your first priority is to get through this pandemic!

– strength
You need to be strong and ‘resilient’ to deal with difficult situations and to remain optimistic

– co-operation
We’ve realised how important it is to have a strong community and to help where we can. It’s also important to be able to get help when you need it.

– acceptance
Sometimes our priorities have to change, and that’s OK. Sometimes there are things that we don’t understand or which are illogical. Sometimes we make mistakes, fail exams or don’t get a promotion at work. But all these things are OK as well. It’s when you keep going and keep trying that you succeed in your goals.

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