It’s time for some back-to-school motivation. The new school year is about to start and everyone is feeling refreshed and energised after the summer holidays. It’s the best time of the year to really think about how you’re going to approach learning – what your goals are and how you’re going to achieve them.

To give you a little push, here are five ways that can help you become a better learner this year!


1. Become an agile learner


Learning agility has become a buzzword in the business world. Agile learners are able to not only learn from experience but to unlearn certain things that may have worked in the past and strive to find innovative solutions to problems.

What’s more, agile learners enjoy experimenting and taking risks. They regularly get out of their comfort zone and push themselves to encounter situations that they’d never been in before. They’re not afraid of making mistakes. On the contrary: they’re mistake-positive. They ask for feedback and reflect on their actions to figure out what they should do differently next time.

Language learners can actually learn a lot from the example of agile learners. For example, you shouldn’t be afraid to say something incorrectly: venture out into the world and speak English whenever you get the chance.

If you do make a mistake, learn from it and move on. Also don’t be afraid to break your routine – if your usual language-learning app is just no fun anymore, ditch it and find a completely new way that you’ve never tried before.

For example, why not take a tour of your city or a new place in English? You could also take a photography course in English (or something else that interests you), or even find a digital pen pal to practise your language skills with. Thinking outside the box will make you a much better learner.


2. Stop multitasking


Multitasking has a number of negative effects on learning. Even though you may think that you’re being efficient and saving time by doing two or more things at once, it’s likely that you’re just keeping busy, but not actually getting anything done.

We may not realise it, but multitasking compromises our focus and productivity. It can even affect our brain health! Research shows that regular multitaskers spread their attention so thin that it actually becomes more and more difficult for their brains to switch from one task to the other. They have trouble understanding relevant information – their cognitive processes are impaired.

Instead of trying to focus on several things at the same time, concentrate only on the task you’re doing – and try to do it as efficiently and correctly as possible. Don’t let any distractions (especially of the digital kind!) snap you out of your flow. Control your focus and you will see results quickly. And who knows, by the end of the day, you may even have some extra time on your hands.

5 Ways to Become a Better Learner | Oxford House Barcelona

3. Start doodling


Some people like to say that they’re “the visual type”, but the truth is, all humans are. Our brains evolved to respond to visual cues and remember shapes and colours to a fascinating extent. Which is why drawing may be the fastest and most effective way to learn.

Drawing is very stimulating. It gives your brain a lot of different ways to engage with information. When you’re about to span style=”color: #008000;”>doodle, you have to first picture the object in your mind, figure out how to draw it and then look at a visual representation of it. It’s much more effective than other visual tricks, such as using highlighters and flashcards.

So next time you’re trying to learn a new word or remember an important grammar rule, attach a doodle to it! You can use a piece of paper and colour pencils, or, if you promise you won’t get distracted, you can use an iPad and create digital drawings, too.


4. Play brain games


The activities you engage in during your free time, when you’re not explicitly trying to learn, can benefit your mental performance, too. Instead of watching a TV show that requires zero effort, try playing a game that challenges your mind.

There are several brain-exercising boardgames that you can enjoy with friends and family. Some, like Codenames, are especially useful for language learners.

If you’re not interested in board games, you can download super fun and challenging games such as Lumosity to your mobile.


5. Be organised


We don’t mean to sound like your mum telling you to tidy your room, but listen. All those photocopies, torn-out pages of textbooks, notes scribbled half-heartedly on the back of a napkin?

Clutter on your desk translates directly into clutter in your brain. Use folders, binders, stickers, paperclips, post-its or whatever you want to turn the chaos into order. Knowing where you are in the learning process and where you store all the information that you need to come back to can be tremendously helpful when learning a new language.

You’ll thank yourself when you’re revising for an exam. You may also notice things you didn’t quite understand before start to add up.

Need more tips to start the new school year on the right note? Check out our post on the 10 Characteristics of a Good Language Learner!

If you’re ready to supercharge your English learning this year, come and do a level test at Oxford House and find out which course is best for you!

Glossary for Language Learners


Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Buzzword (n):: a commonly used or trending phrase.

Strive (v): make an effort to achieve something.

Venture out (v): do something risky or adventurous.

Ditch (v): get rid of something.

Cognitive (adj): relating to the mental process of acquiring knowledge.

Impaired (adj): damaged.

Cue (n): a visual or auditory signal.

Doodle (n): a scribble or drawing.


n = noun

v = verb

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