At some point in learning EFL, you might feel stuck, as if you are not progressing or learning anything new. This can be very discouraging, but don’t give up hope.

This tends to happen when you reach the intermediate phase of your EFL studies. When you started learning English, you could clearly see the progress you made and this was exciting. Upon reaching the intermediate stage, you are consolidating and applying existing knowledge, and recognising what you have achieved can be less obvious.

So, let’s look at some helpful tips to move past the English language learning plateau. (Of course, maintaining fluency is something completely different.)

1. Awareness

Students usually reach a point where they make the same mistakes repeatedly, no matter how many times they are corrected or pointed out. Thus, one of the first steps to move past the plateau is to become aware of these repeated mistakes – learning needs to be more deliberate. You need to be more accurate in order to achieve better fluency.

2. Do Different Things

Doing more of the same will not help you improve. For example, spending hours completing grammar exercises might not help you to use correct grammar structures when speaking. You need to actually speak and pay attention to what you say.

3. Have Specific Goals

You might not be stuck on all things related to English language learning, but only pronunciation or listening comprehension. As such, take some time to focus specifically on those skills until you start to see improvement – but not to the detriment of other skills.

4. Focus on Self-Correction

If you speak on autopilot, you aren’t listening to yourself. And it is easy to make and keep on making mistakes this way. It is important to listen to yourself when you speak and pay attention in order to correct those mistakes that have become entrenched.

It is important to remember that learning another language is a long process and it takes a long time to be truly fluent. However, we hope these tips will help you move past the language learning plateau in your studies.

About the Author

Denine Walters is currently a freelance writer, editor/proofreader and ESL teacher. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world and, before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan. In her free time, she likes to read, do scrapbooking and grammar quizzes, and travel.


Want to learn English?

Are you learning English? Here's how to learn with Shane English School.