How Mistakes Help You Learn a Second Language
Alexis Fishbaugh, Kids’ Club Spanish School, Spain
10  May 2020
Making mistakes is inevitable. Regardless of how hard we try, mistakes happen at some point in time, especially when learning something new, like learning a second language. Many people often experience a fear of failure because making blunders can make us feel silly and exposes our vulnerable side. However, what matters is what we make of these blunders and how we utilize them to our advantage. The good news is that we can learn from our mistakes and sometimes it’s these mistakes that end up making us much better at what we are trying to learn.
Studies show that lessons learned from a mistake, when practicing a second language, stay engraved in your mind longer than simply studying the language the traditional way. Learning from mistakes is actually a tried and tested process that has proven to be quite effective.

To enlighten you more about this revolutionary learning method we have rounded up its functioning process that makes it a very unique and efficient way of learning a second language.

Garto Kids' Club Spanish School

“Many times what we perceive as an error or failure is actually a gift. And eventually we find that lessons learned from that dicouraging experience prove to be of great worth.

– Richelle E. Goodrich

The Basic Concept of How Mistakes Help You Learn a Second Language

Making mistakes might keep some of us from practicing the second language you are learning. Reducing practicing time is actually the worst thing you can do when trying to acquire a second language. It is impossible to learn a language without practicing and being consistent, so it is important to not to dwell on the mistakes but realize we can greatly benefit from them. Making mistakes is a part of life and give us a chance for someone to correct us.

When a mistake happens and someone corrects us, we might feel embarrassed. We could feel that the other person thinks we are unintelligent and we could feel silly. All of these feelings help create a long term memory. We are more likely to remember a moment in life when we experience something a bit traumatic. This is good when learning a second language because we need to remember the spoken language. Take advantage of that person correcting you to ask them why what you said was wrong and have them tell you how to say it correctly. Learning why a mistake is wrong can hasten understanding of why the correct way is correct.

Repeat the correct form several times in your head and then say the whole sentence back to the listener again. Then remember to thank the listener for their correction!  The next time you want to use that same vocabulary or grammar structure, you will remember this moment and the correct way to say it will come more readily to your mind.

Take Advantage of having the Opportunity to Speak with a Native Speaker

The absolute best way to learn a second language is to practice it with a native speaker. They are the experts since they have been speaking it all their life. If you are afraid to speak because you are sure you will make a mistake you would be wasting a wonderful opportunity to practice, hear correct pronunciation and to learn from mistakes. If you have been using a vocabulary word or grammatical structure wrong, hearing it being used correctly and pronounced correctly from a native speaker will help you understand your mistake and learn from it.

The absolute best way to learn a second language is to practice it with a native speaker. They are the experts since they have been speaking it all their life.

Repetitive Mistakes

Every time you say a sentence or a word incorrectly, your mind gets used to it. It is imperative to have someone to correct you and point out your mistake because if you don’t realize mistakes then you won’t be able to learn from them.

The sooner you realize your mistake and work on it, the better. Because once it becomes a habit, it could be very hard to get rid of it. Which is why you should be confident enough to practice what you know and intelligent enough to learn from your mistakes.

It’s also okay to repeat the same mistake two or three times because the more it is pointed out, the more it is brought to your attention and the more you are likely to remember it at the end of the day.


You are a Superhero

Everyone knows how difficult learning a second language can be. If people see and hear you practice the second language they will be far from thinking you are silly. They will think you are quite intelligent and exotic. Even if you are butchering their language while speaking to them, they know you speak your own language with perfection and also are in the learning process of learning a second language. This is quite an accomplishment and something for most of us to envy.

Don’t Shy Away from Mistakes

Remember to tell yourself that Learning a second language is difficult and keep in mind that no one will judge you if you falter because you’re new to the language and you are trying your best. The listener will more than likely appreciate the effort you are putting into practice with them. It shows that you feel this person is important enough to try to communicate with.

So, avoid overthinking and don’t shy away from practicing your newly acquired second language out loud. The worst that could happen is that someone would correct you and, in the end, that would be in your own best interest. You would then try your best to not repeat the same mistake in the future.

So, use your second language and speak out loud in front of a native speaker or a teacher, the more you practice a second language the closer you are to perfecting it.

Your child can take advantage of each and every Kids’ Club Spanish School lesson to speak with a native Spanish speaker, practice the language and learn from their mistakes on their journey to becoming fluent in Spanish. Sign your child up for a free trial class with Kids’ Club Spanish School.

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