The Intermediate Plateau
If you have ever learnt a foreign language, you have also probably experienced a sort of stagnation upon reaching the medium level of skill and knowledge during your learning process. This is what we call the intermediate plateau, or otherwise, you have reached a certain height and you seem to be unable to climb any higher.
It is at this moment, or stage, rather, where many people give up, thinking that there is no hope for further progress. I have experienced this frustration with many of my students and I get it. The start is easy, but language in depth becomes complex. We have heard this many times before, from people who have once, way back when, learnt the language, but have not made any progress in the past twenty years or so. The excuse is usually, “Well, I can order coffee when I go abroad.” or something to that end. Yet, somehow, it is hard to imagine that you want nothing more than just coffee. The desire to speak and facing the endless rules of grammar, always in fear of making a mistake on holiday, when ordering a coffee, takes away from our energy to learn more.
There is, unfortunately, only way to improve upon the situation you are in and that is to start studying again. We have to come to terms with the fact that only work yields progress. However, we should also realise that this is not an impossible task. In my experience, if we focus on an item that has been particularly challenging for you in the past, we will have made the first step towards your improvement. A grammar item, or a specific type of text, it could be vocabulary, too. By mastering a new linguistic item, you give yourself a boost of confidence, which, in turn, fuels the passion for learning. Now, repeat this with a few items and you will soon find yourself climbing higher and away from the intermediate plateau.
Private teaching is the guidance through this tough phase of learning a language, and a great way to overcome the language barriers and speak with more confidence on your next trip to, say, London. A trusted environment and an intensive and free teacher/student communication during a lesson takes a lot of the effort in achieving more in learning a language.