3 Ms for Language Success: Motivation, Mindset, and Method


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3 Ms for Language Success: Motivation, Mindset, and Method

Imagine if you could use French language as a vehicle for communication:

  • with different people (teachers, doctors, bosses, colleagues, friends…)
  • in different places (school, shops, work…)
  • for different actions (joking, warning, asking, complaining…)

There are three crucial ingredients that will lead you to success. Let’s explore them.

Motivation is one of the most essential factors in language learning

It’s not about having a drill sergeant pushing you with a whip; it’s about having a genuine need to learn the language to communicate better in various situations. 

I’m talking about having a real need to learn the language so that you can communicate better. For example:

  • With your French colleagues (you found a new job in France),
  • With your French neighbours (you moved into a tiny suburb in Lyon),
  • With your French yoga teacher (you took online classes during Covid and now take in-person yoga lessons),
  • With your French friends (you’re recreating the French version of Eat, Pray, Love),
  • With your children’s French teachers (you are trying to understand teaching methods that are quite different from what you’re used to)
  • With French citizens (you want to integrate better into French life and culture)

At times, life’s challenges may cause a lack of motivation, and you might be tempted to put aside your French learning, thinking there are more urgent matters to handle.

Understanding how the brain works to foster motivation is the first key to success

But what exactly is motivation? It’s the willingness to act in pursuit of a goal, despite the efforts required.

To be motivated and make efforts, the brain performs a cost-benefit analysis.

A crucial factor for success is whether or not we believe we can improve. If we commit to making efforts but lack the hope of improvement, the cost-benefit analysis becomes unfavorable. Why make efforts if they are unlikely to bring the hoped for results?

Having a Growth Mindset

Some people have a growth mindset, believing they can improve, while others have a fixed mindset, doubting their ability to enhance their skills.

A scientific study explored the effects of mindset on brain activity, showing that individuals with a growth mindset tend to correct their errors and perform better after making corrections. The impact is less significant for those with a fixed mindset.

To foster motivation, we should try to cultivate a growth mindset:

  • By understanding the concept of neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change and reorganize itself).
  • By providing feedback that aligns with a growth mindset (consistent encouragement that improvement is possible).

Having a language partner helps you to embrace accountability

When you experience temporary drops in motivation, your language partner can be your source of support. Even if you feel demotivated, you won’t cancel your language session scheduled at 6 p.m. Embracing accountability helps you stay on track even during low motivation days.

Contrary to common belief, motivation doesn’t have to precede success; in fact, it’s often the opposite. Success generates motivation.

The more dynamic your mindset, the more effort you put in, thus activating mechanisms for error correction and effort. This leads to dopamine release, bringing about satisfaction and other favourable benefits.

A growth mindset leads to a motivation cycle: efforts lead to benefits, and in turn, more efforts are invested to reproduce those benefits.

A Method Based on Neuroscientific Principles Leads to Language Success

Retrieval practice, one the perks of the FluentExpat method,  is one of the most effective exercises for learning. It involves recalling knowledge from memory repeatedly.

When you speak in French, you retrieve vocabulary, verb tenses, and other elements from memory to express your ideas.

Retrieval practice has been extensively studied and proven to enhance learning. Testing your knowledge more often through retrieval practice increases the likelihood of success. I can teach you how to do it in the FluentExpat method.

Spacing neuronal activations, rather than grouping them together, is more effective for learning. It involves planning moments of activation differently, without requiring additional time or exercises.

Feedback is crucial for learning from mistakes and adjusting responses. Embrace the learning process, as making mistakes is an opportunity for growth. Let me show you how it works for free.

Start learning French with FluentExpat

While reading this article, you may be thinking that it all sounds nice, but it may not work for you. You’re not a teacher, neuroscientist, or someone passionate about learning.

If Céline succeeded, it’s because she’s a language coach and she had the right background to achieve it.

No! I succeeded in speaking English fluently and interacting with English speakers for these reasons:

  • I learned how to learn a language effectively.
  • I developed self-discipline and created new habits.
  • I cultivated a growth mindset.
  • I found a lot of joy throughout the journey.
  • My success fueled my motivation.
  • I made friends along the way.

If I—someone who was just an average student during my school days—could succeed, so can you

If you want guidance in mastering French and ensuring your success, consider joining the FluentExpat program. I can be your language partner for 10 weeks, teaching you how to learn French effectively, creating a French language environment, and connecting you with trained French speakers to expedite your progress. The language barrier won’t be an issue, and you’ll fully enjoy your time in France.

The choice is yours: venture out on your own, or benefit from my experience to ensure your success.

Join me for a free, no-obligation 30-minute call, and experience my method for yourself.

Céline Guerreiro

Language Coach

Founder of the FluentExpat method

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