How to Shift Your Focus to Connection When Learning English

This is a guest post from my friends and fellow teachers at All Ears English – make sure to check out their great podcast and their new iOS app!

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Is 2018 the year that you will finally become the English speaker that you were meant to be?

Why haven’t you achieved the level of English that you want yet?

If you are not speaking and listening to English at the level that you want then it might be because you are focusing on the wrong things.

Are you focusing on perfection?

Do you avoid speaking English in groups because you don’t think that your grammar is correct?

Do you feel that you cannot speak with natives until you sound like a native?

Are you afraid of “inconveniencing” native speakers when you enter a group conversation or making them slow down?

If you are doing some of these things then this lesson is for you!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to speak correctly.

The problem happens when you delay speaking and connecting until you think your English is perfect.

If you do that you are missing out on so many beautiful opportunities to connect.

You are missing out on life!

Shift your focus:

We believe that the most important reason for learning English is to connect with other human beings.

It is not to use grammar correctly or to get the pronunciation right.

If you agree that that is true too then you need to shift your focus!

Focus on Connection NOT Perfection.

Connection NOT Perfection:

When you focus on Connection NOT Perfection everything changes.

You are too busy connecting to worry that you just made a grammar mistake.

You realize that the native speaker next to you also just wants to connect and doesn’t care if you are making occasional mistakes.

You create a positive feedback loop for yourself because it feels good to build a human connection, even the smallest one, through a conversation.

This feeling will make you want to start more conversations.

Using this philosophy could change your life.

A resource to help you:

All Ears English just launched a new app for iOS that helps you focus on Connection NOT Perfection. You can download it on the app store by starting here.

How do we help you focus on connection?

  1. Learn English with real people: When you decide to focus on Connection NOT Perfection, you should seek out resources where you can relate to the people that you are learning with. Learning a language should feel HUMAN! In our podcast and app you learn with us, Lindsay, Michelle, and Jessica. We are not chatbots and we are not textbooks. We tell our stories. We share our lives. You even hear Jessica’s dog Ozzie barking in the background once in a while.
  2. Get addicted to English: You want to use material that pulls you in and gets you hooked. It’s better to listen to English 4 days per week for 15 minutes per day than once a week for 3 hours.
  3. Get English from the real world: Look for English programs that show you English the way that natives speak it. In our show you will find fun role plays, current vocabulary words and phrases, fresh examples, and tips from the real world.

Shift your focus. Change your life:

When you change the way you approach learning English and make it about something bigger than mistakes and grammar, you find a new freedom in learning.

Focus on Connection NOT Perfection.

Find resources that bring out the human element in learning English.

You can find our new app for iOS by signing up first here. If you are an Android user then you can listen to All Ears English as a podcast. The Android app is coming in 2018.

Lindsay McMahon is a co-host at All Ears English. She and her team, including Michelle Kaplan, and Jessica Beck, publish their top-ranked podcast 4 days per week. They also publish materials in IELTS Preparation. Lindsay lives in Boston. Michelle is based in New York City. Jessica lives in Portland, Oregon.