Hi, Bob the Canadian here. In a recent English lesson, a viewer asked me this question: “Bob, can you talk about some things that I can do to overcome the plateau stage in my English learning?” If you’re not sure what the plateau stage is, or what a plateau is, it’s when things level off. When you started learning English, you probably learned lots of new words and phrases every day, and you were probably really excited to learn the English language. But as you get close to the late beginner or intermediate level, sometimes your progress can level out. Sometimes it can feel like you’re not making a lot of progress. So in this video, I’m going to give you five tips. I’m going to talk about five things that you can do to break through that plateau and to make your English learning exciting and effective and efficient and just awesome all over again.
Well, hey, welcome to this English lesson where I’m going to help you break through the plateau that you have hit in your English learning. Before we get started, though, if this is your first time here, don’t forget to click that red subscribe button and give me a thumbs up at some point during this video if it helps you learn just a little bit more English. So before we can break through a plateau, we have to talk about what causes the plateau and what causes a plateau in learning is comfort, maybe a little bit of laziness, or maybe familiarity. Your body and your brain are really good at adapting. That means the more you do something, the easier it gets. A great example is this. I walk for exercise. When I started walking for exercise, my heart rate would go up and it would be good cardio exercise for me. But after walking for a year, my heart rate did not go very high anymore because my body had adapted to walking. So now I usually add some stairs into my walk, or I run a little bit while I’m walking to get my heart rate up.
The same thing can be true with your brain. Your brain gets really good at doing the things that you do over and over again. Your brain is really good at doing things that you repeat. So this might sound a little odd, but you shouldn’t just be watching my English lessons on YouTube. You shouldn’t just be listening to heavy metal rock and roll in English if that’s the kind of music that you like. You need to change things up a bit. So the very first thing that you can do to break through that plateau that you are experiencing in your learning is to change what you are doing. It’s again, very similar to exercise. If you only watch one YouTuber teaching English on YouTube, try to watch two or three. If you always read science fiction novels like I do, try to read something in a different genre. You have to kind of change things up a bit so that your brain kind of gets nudged a little bit to do better. Because if you always do the same things all the time, you’ll only get good at doing those things. So the very first thing you need to do to break through that plateau is you need to change up a little bit. You need to change some of the things that you’re doing when you’re studying English.
The second thing that you need to do to break through that plateau is you need to get feedback. When you first start learning the English language, you can learn a lot on your own and you can learn a lot without getting feedback from anyone. But when you get better and better at speaking English, you need to start getting feedback so that you can learn to pronounce things better, so that you can learn how to properly use things in sentences. When you start out, it’s easy to learn lots of words, it’s easy to learn a lot of simple phrases, and it’s easy to feel really excited about the things you are learning. But as you move to the intermediate stage, you need to start to refine what you have learned. You need to learn more complex sentences and you need feedback right away. So you need to find an English tutor or you at least need to find software that will correct you. Duolingo is a great product that you can use if it’s available to you. It’s an app, by the way, just search for it on the App Store. But things that give you immediate feedback, things that correct you right away can be excellent practice when you’re at the intermediate level, and having a person who can correct you is even more important. So if you are stuck at a plateau, find a way to get more feedback on what you are doing and what you are seeing and what you are writing so that you can refine the English that you’ve already learned.
The third thing that you can do to break through that plateau is to register for an English test or plan on taking a trip. I mentioned this a lot. I’ve mentioned this before in other videos, but one of the best ways to push through a plateau is to have a goal in the future and to have a goal that requires you to work hard on your English. Now, I know it’s hard to travel right now because of COVID restrictions, but certainly, deciding that in six months you’re going to take an English test or deciding that in six months, you’re going to visit an English speaking country will help you be highly motivated to continue studying. I love this method of motivation, and this can really help you break through any kind of plateau you’ve reached. Because now, instead of you wanting to learn the language, you feel like you must learn the language in order to do well on the test or in order to have great English conversations when you go on your trip. So the next thing you can do, just set some kind of goal in the future, either a test or a trip, and let that motivate you to break through that plateau.
The fourth thing you should do to break through a plateau is to challenge yourself to extend your learning. What I mean is this. When you are a beginner and you learn the word cat, you know what a cat is, and then you move on and you learn the word dog or pig or cow. When you are an intermediate learner, when you reach that plateau, one of the things you should start doing is to use new words as many times as you can right away that same day. So when you learn a new word, use that word in a sentence. When you learn a new word, use that word in conversation that day. When you learn a new word, think of all the other words that you already know that are related to that word. Instead of just learning all of the English words as little facts, make sure you’re learning them as part of the bigger thing, which is the whole language. So another thing you should do, the fourth thing you should do, is you should challenge yourself every day to use new knowledge immediately. It’s just super-effective, and it pushes you to go beyond just learning vocabulary and phrases. You have to start to learn the whole language, so you need to start to knit the things together that you already know with the things that you are currently learning.
The fifth thing you need to do to break through a plateau is to make English part of your daily life. What I mean by that is this. When you start learning English, maybe you take a class, maybe you listen to some music in English, maybe it’s something that you do just for fun. But if you wanna break through a plateau, you have to make English part of your daily life. So if you like reading books, you should be reading books in English. If you like listening to music, you should be listening to music in English. If you like baking or cooking, you should have an English cookbook so that all of the recipes you use are in English. In order to break through the plateau, you have to create a state of partial immersion into the English language. You have to take parts of your life and you need to convert them into English. This is not super-hard to do with the internet and the amount of media that is available right now. You could very easily, starting today, only read in English, only listen to music in English, only look things up on the internet in English, only watch television in English. If you wanted to create partial immersion in the English language, you could do that today and you could do it very cheaply, if not for free. So the fifth thing that you really need to do to break through that plateau is you need to make English part of your daily life.
Well, hey, thanks for watching this little English lesson where I just talked a little bit about the English plateau or the language learning plateau. I do wanna thank Marcos from Brazil for that question once again, and thank all of you for watching. By the way, if you’re new here, don’t forget to click that red subscribe button below. Give me a thumbs up if you enjoyed this video. Share this video with other people you know who are learning English if you want to. And if you have a little bit more time, why don’t you stick around and watch another video.