While learning English brings a lot of joy and sense of accomplishment, this probably isn’t the main reason you study English. Most people learn English to meet a specific goal and want to see results and feel they improve. Therefore, if you feel like you have been making no progress at all, it’s easy to feel like your motivation is being sucked out of you. In moments like that, many students are wandering, “Why my English in not improving?”.
In this article, we will cover a few reasons why your English is not improving as fast as you’d hope.
5 reasons why your English is not improving
The good news is that you can get that motivation back! You just need to slow down and pinpoint the exact reason why you think you are not getting anywhere – think of it as a mistake and fix it. It’s as easy as that.
So why is your English not improving? What the main reasons could be? If you have a hard time figuring it out, ask your English teacher for help. Learning progress is very personal, which means that it depends on your studying style, abilities, schedule, but also… on your learning process.
To help you with this task, below you will find the 5 common reasons why your English is not improving. These are the most common mistakes made by English learners, which may slow down the progress significantly.
You spend too little or too much time studying
How much time a week do you spend studying English? Be honest. Is it difficult for you to find some time to study?
Studying time and frequency have a strong impact on the pace of your progress. The equation is easy: the less you study, the slower the progress. So not investing enough time in studying can be one of the main reasons why your English is not improving. Maybe at the beginning it was enough to study twice a week. Beginners have it easier because gaining basic English knowledge usually isn’t too complicated. It’s easier to learn and absorb beginner English rules, and the progress is much more evident. However, the more you progress, the more new material you need to absorb. At some point, you might discover that a study session once or twice a week is not enough.
You can also study too much! Overworking yourself is counterproductive, so try to avoid it. If you progress too fast, lots of information might not stay in your long-term memory. Try to be moderate with your study time, but do it frequently – 30 to 60 minutes per day should be enough.
You don’t focus on your mistakes
Nobody likes to make mistakes, so when your English teacher highlights them in your essay or textbook, you might feel like you don’t even want to look at them. That’s a no-no. The reason your teacher underlines the mistakes is for you to learn from them. It’s essential to be aware of your strong points, but it’s equally (or more) essential to be aware of your shortcomings. If you approach your mistakes with a curiosity and an open mind, you will be able to find a way to fix them. This will take your English to the next level!
Your study plan is messy
In order for your study plan to work, it needs to be well-thought and comprehensive. There is a reason English textbooks have a specific order of the topics, the grammar points and a specific vocabulary students need to learn. If you learn things randomly, you might not be able to find connections between similar grammar patterns, impeding your understanding of the language. Moreover, you might not be able to practice the words you have learned so far. Jumping from topic to topic is a mistake made by many self-studying students and one of the main reasons why your English is not improving. So the sooner you become aware of that, the less damage will be done.
Too much theory, zero practice
If you have a driving license, you probably experienced how different it is to learn about driving and actually driving. Or, that driving by yourself is very different compared to driving with an instructor. Well, it’s the same with learning English.
It’s good to have solid basics and knowledge of theory, but don’t forget to actually use this knowledge. The lack of practice can be one of the main reasons why your English is not improving. Don’t focus only on doing more exercises – instead, speak a lot, write a lot, read a lot and listen a lot. Preferably you want to focus on producing the language (speaking and writing) but reading and listening are also brilliant ways to practice English.
Most students hesitate to speak or write because they are either shy or just don’t have anybody they can communicate with apart from their teacher. If you’re shy – feel free to read this article and see how you can practice speaking in spite of your fear. You can still write though, writing a journal is a nice practice! If you don’t have a speaking partner, try looking for one. It can be someone from your local community, from your friends, or even from your work. You can also look for a language exchange partner on the Internet – for example, by joining a language exchange Facebook group or a Reddit community.
There is no joy in studying
If studying English makes you unhappy, that’s quite a serious thing which shouldn’t be ignored. You don’t need to be super enthusiastic about every class and study session, sometimes it’s even okay to feel lazy or overwhelmed. But if you feel genuinely upset about English for a long period of time, you need to think why is that. Maybe there is a way to fix it? Think about what you like to do and do it in English. Perhaps take a break from studying for a while and focus purely on enjoying English shows and movies?
You might try looking for inspiration too. If you have a chance, book a trip abroad and try to practice your English with foreigners/native speakers (depending on what’s your destination). You can also look for a community of foreigners in your neighborhood and see if you can help them somehow – that will be a great way to practice speaking and meet new people. If you enjoy writing, maybe write a blog in English? Get creative and think what’s most suitable for you.
These were just a few tips to help you understand why your English is not improving. However, if you look for more answers and if you want to know how can you polish your English even further, do not hesitate to book a trial lesson with one of italki’s online English teachers! For inexpensive price, you can receive professional guidance from an experienced English tutor. What’s in it for you? You will get personalized tips regarding your English studies and progress. Plus, since you will learn English online, there won’t be any need for you to leave the coziness of your own home – a good Wi-Fi will do the magic.