The Importance of Making Mistakes in Language Learning

Everyone who has ever learned a new language has made mistakes.  They are an inevitable part of the language learning process and learners should embrace them, and not be afraid to make them.  When embarking on a road to learn a new language, we all want to achieve fluency and to be able to use the language without any difficulties.  However, we should bear in mind that every learning process, including the language learning process, has its ups and downs.  Facing with downs and mistakes should not discourage learners, it should be seen as another learning opportunity.  

Making a mistake should not be regarded as a failure, but rather as a chance for progress.

We can all feel embarrassed if we use the wrong word or the wrong tense in a conversation, but it should be seen as a positive experience – realizing what your mistake was can only strengthen your knowledge.  If we restrain from speaking in another language every time we are afraid we are going to make a mistake, we would never utter a single word.  

As H.  Jackson Brown Jr.  said: “Never make fun of someone who speaks broken language.  It means they know another language.”

No one will make fun of you if you make a mistake in your second language – they will appreciate your effort to learn another language.

Don’t look at mistakes as something that should be avoided

When you make a mistake, don’t start questioning your knowledge immediately.  Take a step back and try to analyze why you made the mistake in the first place so as to try to avoid it the next time.  Sometimes the rules of our native language can interfere with our second language and cause mistakes.  By being aware when such situation occurs, and why it happened, you will be able to grasp the reasoning behind your mistake and learn the correct way.  

If you notice when you made a mistake and why you did so, it will stick to your memory far better than just reading some rule in a grammar book.  Realizing that you made a mistake means that you are aware that you broke a certain rule, which can lead to further understanding as to how a certain language functions.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes while speaking

Communicating in our second language might be challenging if we are afraid of mistakes.  Learners should distance themselves from such fears and focus on communicating the desired message and if they do end up making mistakes, they should see it as a chance for improvement.  If you couldn’t remember a certain word during the conversation, you will certainly remeber it the next time.  In the end, if your message gets across, it’s all that matters.  The worst possible scenario is that you made a mistake, someone pointed it out to you, and you learned something from that situation.  

Don’t let the fear stop you from talking and gaining new experiences – the more you talk, the more you will be aware of your weak spots and improve them.  If you don’t engage in conversations in your second language and allow yourself to make mistakes, you will never know what you need to improve.

Making mistakes means you are on a road to improvement

The only way not to make mistakes is not to use the language at all – and then, what’s the point of learning a language? If you make a mistake it means that you are making an effort to use the language and that means you want to improve your language skills.  Allow yourself to make the best of your mistakes – the realization of a mistakes leads to learning of something new.  This learning process repeats every time you make a new mistake, and you constantly improve.  Don’t be a perfectionist and feel nervous when you make a mistake – it’s a part of natural process of learning and you should perceive it as an opportunity for improvement, not a dead end.

The sooner you see mistakes as something positive, the faster you will progress.  Mistakes are inevitable, but are also a chance to improve your language skills.