SSi Forum

Struggling with motivation - help requested


#1

I’ve been learning Welsh for a number of years both with SSIW(completed level 2) and in a classroom (started Uwch 1 September online). I also use Duolingo. Recently I began thinking how I should be further along the journey and I’m not making the progress that I should be. This last year has highlighted the importance of motivation and wellbeing as well as how easy it could be to get overwhelmed and just not do anything at all. I’m wondering if having goals and things to aim towards will keep me motivated, keep me moving forward and keep me improving.
What would you suggest?


#2

Hi Theresa,

Firstly, thank you for coming to the forum and sharing your concerns. These sort of posts really do help others. I’ve had very similar moments of self-doubt that you describe.

This is the first thing I wanted to chat about. This sounds awfully like you’re comparing yourself to others/an idea of perfect. Does that sound right?
Are you able to quantify where you “should” be?

Secondly, goals will definitely help you here but they must be quantifiable and realistic. So - “I will be a fluent Welsh speaker in 2 weeks”, is none of those things. Fluency can’t be quantified, “Welsh speaker” is a spectrum that means different things to different people, 2 weeks…we’ll to be honest I suspect you’re actually well past this but without a definition of the first two, 2 weeks is just arbitrary. Does that make sense?

I’d like to do an exercise with you if you’d like to try? (Feel free not to, or to do it privately and not on the forum, entirely up to you :slight_smile:)

What does being a Welsh speaker look like to you?
What do you want to use your Welsh for?
What do you think is the main obstacle?


#3

Check out this video, It’s very controversial about language learning, but interesting never the less. It is mainly about learning English but can be applied to any language learning.


#4

I recognise that plateau. You’re no longer a beginner where progress is easy to see, but you’re not yet confident enough with the language to use it comfortably and just consider it part of your normal life. The covid situation makes some goals impossible. For example one of my goals a few years ago was “Spend a day at the National Eisteddfod without speaking a word of English,” but I do think having a clear goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound helps motivation. The classic SMART goal in fact.

The goal that I feel works for me now as someone who considers themselves a Welsh speaker (second language) is to spend a certain time per day doing something to consolidate, extend and improve my Welsh. in my case I’ve chosen 45 minutes, but you can set whatever length of time will work for you. The activity doesn’t have to be active study. It could just be watching a TV programme in Welsh or reading a few pages of a novel, or it could be time spent in Welsh class, taking part in an online chat group or writing in a journal. I love spreadsheets, so I record how many minutes per day I’ve spent speaking, listening, reading or writing, but you don’t need to be that obsessive. Just find a tracking system that works for you, a paper diary, a calendar or whatever and just make a brief note of what Welsh activities you’ve done each day. Any gaps will soon become obvious and it’s consistency that ensures progress.

Other goals that work could be things like: I will read 4 Welsh novels this year, I will write at least one sentence every day in a journal, I will arrange a 1 hour online chat with a Welsh speaker.

Good luck with finding a way to keep motivated.


#5

@theresacorbett I can also identify with you about this, and I agree with the replies above. What I have been doing for the last few weeks is to have regular one-on-one chats in Welsh with people 2 - 3 times a week, via the Slack application. I personally think that it’s good to try and find people who are willing to chat with you on a regular basis, at fixed times, because that creates a commitment of sorts for both of you. My own method is to meet someone via Slack or this Forum, and then have a trial one or two chats, then, if we feel that we wish to continue together, we fix a regular time - in my case once every two weeks with the same person.
Many people also opt for the group chats via Slack.
Of course, if you live in Wales then, post-COVID, you will have the option of speaking to people in the flesh (and hopefully with some clothes as well)!
And the main thing is to chat regularly without trying to aim for perfection. Remember that your partner needs this as much as you do. And it’s a good way to make real friends.
Good luck!


#6

@theresacorbett Hey Theresa, there’s lots in what you’ve said but firstly I’d say don’t forget to stop and celebrate what you’ve already achieved. Lots of people lose heart well before Uwch - you’ve achieved a massive amount already. And you’ve achieved that because you’re resilient and committed - it doesn’t happen by accident! Thatis all still there in you .

Secondly, Uwch is a big step up and it’s going to be harder to see progress at this level. In Mynediad you’re almost learning a different tense every week… Suddenly you can say so much stuff you couldn’t say before! Your progress is really visible. But in Uwch you’re learning to say stuff better: in a more natural way or in a more formal way . This won’t feel quite so much like progress because you could already communicate this! But it is real progress. The 80 :20 rule is kicking in now. You’ve learned themmost common words and structures and now you’re slogging through that long tail where no matter how many words you learn, every new book or TV show has new words. But you are making progress, you’re starting to move out of the controlled world of the classroom where somebody has made sure there aren’t any scary words or phrases, into more realistic language that wasn’t produced to avoid terrifying learners.

Which brings me to my only concrete suggestion: do what brings you joy in Welsh. Whether it’s chatting to people, reading, singing or watching soaps, do what you love. Keep going to class but focus your efforts on Welsh activities you want to do anyway. Firstly, you need far less motivation for that because you’re doing it for fun. Secondly your skills will keep developing, and one day you’ll turn around and realise how much you’ve come in, but you won’t have not because you’ll have been having so much fun.

Pob lwc!


#7

@theresacorbett, As Caroline said, find something you enjoy doing and then do it in Welsh. If you enjoy reading, then find Welsh books (fiction or non-fiction) of the type you read in English. If you watch TV, watch the same sort of thing in Welsh. If you’re into soaps, there’s Rownd a Rownd or Pobl y Cwm. If you like factual programmes, there are programmes like Cynefin and Tŷ Cymreig. There are quizzes like Celwydd Noeth or reality shows like Priodas Pum Mil. I started my YouTube channel so I could use Welsh doing something I wanted to learn how to do anyway.

I don’t know whether you watched any of the video that Rob linked to. I don’t agree with everything he says and he could have said it in a fraction of the time, but there’s some truth in what the speaker says. Learning a language in class or via a course can teach you the basics, but you need to make the language your own by actually using it to talk about the things you enjoy doing with people who share your interests.


#8

I agree it gets harder to measure progress as you progress, and it is easier to be discouraged too. There are lots of great suggestions about how to keep going, so I can’t add anything much, except to say, remember what it was like when you knew nothing? See, you know loads!


#9

Have you been on the Slack site ??? if not get on there, I have done Mynediad to Uwch 2 and SSIW but never went onto the Slack site until 6 weeks ago best thing ever LOADS of speaking practice which every learner needs

Cadw fynd, Alan