Top 5 hurdles for adults learning English as a Second Language

Bicycle Confidence Workshop





Learning a second language is not like learning how to ride a bicycle and unfortunately the expression ”If you don’t use it, you lose it” is very true when it comes to learning English.

Here are the top 5 hurdles adults are faced with when learning English and tips on how to avoid these pitfalls.


English: Cartoon image of a nervous man.

          1. Fear




Fear is probably the number one obstacle preventing someone from learning a second language… Fear of being judged, ridiculed, not understanding or not being understood, making mistakes etc. are some of the biggest hurdles most people encounter.

Tips on getting past the fear:

I think therefore I am….. Tell yourself that you can do it….

– Fake it to make it…. confidence that is. Those who are more confident and believe that they can are the ones who see results.

– You’re not alone…. Most second language learners are faced with the same difficulties and issues.

– Shut out the negative chatter in your head… it’s distracting. Acknowledge the fear, accept it and it will go away.

The only way to get rid of the fear is to confront it.


Motivation by fear

          2. Motivation



Get motivated… Find what works for you and stick to it!


– Find a learning buddy, it’s always more fun to learn with someone than alone.

– Think of all the benefits that come with learning…. New job opportunities, meeting new people, perhaps a raise?

– Join an English class

– One good turn deserves another.  Help an English colleague or a web pal learn your first language and ask them to help you practice speaking  English in exchange.

– Immerse yourself in English. Read a book, watch a movie, go online… Technology makes it so much easier and interesting to learn.- Learning a language doesn’t have to be boring…. Learn about things that interest you.


Study Time

          3. Discipline with a capital D



Yes, learning a second language can be hard but the harder we work at it, the easier it becomes.


– Don’t make excuses

– Find the time to study and practice

– Set aside some time every day

– Make learning English part of your daily routine

and again, the most important tip…. Don’t make excuses


English: lonely, unhappiness sp: tristeza, des...

          4. High Expectations


Learning a language won’t happen overnight, the more pressure we put upon ourselves, the more disappointed and discouraged we get.

– Learning a language is not a race…. you get to where you want to be when you’re ready to get there.

– People who have no expectations are never disappointed.

– Be kind and gentle with yourself, you will make mistakes… that’s part of the learning process. It’s by learning from our mistakes that we improve.

Stay positive and tell yourself that you can do it. Focus on the progress and always acknowledge the successes whether they are big or small.


English: Multiple Intelligences

              5. Methods of Learning






What helps you to learn in the best way possible?

Is it sitting close to the teacher?

Looking at Power Point presentations or documents with lots of colour and pictures?

Do you need to hear the information to learn?

Do not be afraid to let your teacher know what works for you…

It’s important for you to get the most out of your learning experience and that’s what your teacher is there to help you with.