What’s with that attitude?

by David

I recently wrote about motivation and how important it is.

But even if you’re motivated, you make or break your Spanish learning with your attitude.

It’s really quite simple. Suppose you’re highly motivated to learn Spanish since you need to get a certain grade in the course to maintain a certain GPA so that you can continue on with a certain master’s program. Since FL is a requirement in your school, you have to do it, and since you want to do the master’s program, you’re motivated.

But that motivation is to get a certain grade in the course, which is not necessarily the same as motivation to learn Spanish.

If you really want to learn Spanish, take a look at your attitude. Is Spanish something you have to do, or something you want to do? Even if the original motivation is a FL requirement, you can greatly improve your grades, your sense of accomplishment, and end up learning Spanish better (which can truly be an asset) by doing one simple thing.

I challenge you to find something fun in Spanish.

Are you intrigued with history? Study up on archaic Spanish, word etymology the Sephardic Jews who lived in Spain, spoke Spanish, were run out of town (and country) by the Arabs and still speak a version of Spanish to this day, in various parts of the world.

Are you a pre-med student? Try finding a medical book in Spanish and try to glean words from it. Research Spanish medical vocab. (you’ll probably learn vocabulary that your Spanish prof doesn’t know). Read up on different advances in the medical field that came from Spanish speaking doctors. Find a niche where you can combine your love for medicine with Spanish.

Maybe you’re into extreme sports. There’s no reason that can’t mix with Spanish. Find some videos of people jumping from planes, motocross, boarding- whatever you’re into but in Spanish. While you’re enjoying the video, you’re listening to Spanish. Look up the Spanish words for your favorite Sports…

The key here is to find some way to be genuinely interested in your Spanish studies by adjusting your attitude and taking the time to find a way to be interested. You have to convince yourself. I can’t. You guidance counselor can’t. Only you can decide to “want” to do it.

Since you have to take a foreign language, and you’ve opted for Spanish, you might as well try to enjoy it and try to get something out of it.

Let me know how it goes.

4 Comments  leave one »

29.Dec.2006 - 5:23 pm

Just wanted to say that I really like your blog and I’m glad you’re sharing your Spanish learning experience with everyone. Nice job!

01.Feb.2007 - 12:45 pm

thank you for sharing the advice in your blog, I have always wanted to learn spanish, so motivation isn’t really the issue. most of the time it’s my memory and the fact that i don’t have much opportunity to use the vocab. I learn. I end up forgetting fairly quickly because I don’t have a way to apply it.

02.Feb.2007 - 4:18 pm

[…] Reader Colton writes that motivation is not the holy grail of language learning. Even if you are highly motivated, other practical concerns come to mind such as ability to pronounce correctly, remembering vocabulary, and assimilating grammar. […]

02.Feb.2007 - 8:43 pm

You’ve got a good point Colton. I think that motivation is one of the most important things in leaning Spanish, but what about the people who are highly motivated, but still don’t seem to learn?

I think there are various things at work concerning motivation, but my response here got very unwieldy so I decided to post it separately.



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