Learning Strategies: Don’t sweat!

This is the transcript for the second English with Stephen podcast on the learning strategy I call “don’t sweat!”

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This is the English with Stephen podcast, and I am your host, Stephen Greene.

Today, I am going to talk about a learning strategy that I believe every good learner needs to use occasionally, and not just for learning English.

The title of today’s episode is “don’t sweat”. So, before I look at the learning strategy, first I just want to clarify what “don’t sweat” means.

“Sweat” is a natural bodily process. It usually happens when our bodies get too hot. In order to try to cool down, the body perspires, or produces a clear, salty liquid. If it is a very hot day, or if you are doing exercise or some other physical activity, your body will probably sweat.

But it isn’t just physical activity that makes the body sweat. We can also sweat when we are nervous, anxious or under stress.

So when we say “don’t sweat” we are really saying something like “Don’t worry. It’s not a big deal. Calm down.”

And after the break, we’ll look at how the phrase “don’t sweat” is useful for learning English.

Just a quick reminder that I am on most social media. I have been a bit quiet over the last few weeks, for reasons you will soon discover, but I am back in the virtual world once again. I love to talk to English learners and answer any questions. So if you would like to get in touch, you can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. Just look for English with Stephen. Alternatively, I have links to all my social media on my site EnglishwithStephen.com.

I look forward to talking to you soon.

Over the last few weeks, I have not been very good at producing new podcast episodes, or, as I just mentioned, being active on social media. There are four very good reasons for this. The first is that we recently moved house. Obviously, the actual move was difficult and time consuming. But even now, a couple of months after the move, there are still lots of things to organise, paint, fix and put up.

The second reason is that we got a new puppy. She is called Alba, is a Swiss Shepherd and is beautiful. However, she is a puppy. And puppies demand a lot of time and attention. They don’t seem to understand that I need to work on researching a podcast right now. I mean, who would want to sit in front of a computer when you can play with a puppy, right?

Thirdly, my son broke his arm. It wasn’t a bad break, but it coincided with the school holidays. This meant he couldn’t do the usual school holidays things like playing football or going swimming. So, instead of producing podcasts, I spent time playing Fifa with him, watcing Doctor Who and Sherlock Homes, and generally trying to entertain him.

The final reason I haven’t been able to produce any podcast episodes is, well, life. Life has a habit of not really caring about what I want to do. I still have to prepare classes for my students. I still have to go to the supermarket. I still have to cook and clean up afterwards. There just hasn’t been the time to devote to creating podcasts.

Does this make me a bad podcaster or a bad educator?

You might think that it does. But I don’t think so. You see, even though I haven’t been producing new material, I have been thinking about it. I have been saving interesting articles. I have been having conversations with friends, students, and family about language. I have always been telling myself that I have to get back to producing episodes as soon as possible.

It’s just that life sometimes gets in the way.

But what does this have to do with learning English? And more specifically, what has it go to do with the title “don’t sweat?”

Well, you see, the thing is, I am sure this happens to you when learning English. There are occasions when you can devote time and resources to learning English. You can study every day for 10 or 20 minutes. You improve your vocabulary and your grammar. You practise your reading and writing, you find opportunities to speak and listen to other people.

But there are also other times when you just can’t do any of this. Work, family, other projects don’t let you spend time on your English.

When this happens, don’t sweat! Don’t blame yourself. It is just life!

You can come back to English at a later time. The language will still be here waiting for you. Obviously, it is better if you can come back sooner rather than later. But even if it is a few years, you will still have a lot of language stored in your brain.

I know some people who have stopped studying English. They think they are failures. They think they cannot study English again. And so they do not study English again.

But these people are not failures. They have just chosen to focus on some other important area of their lives for a while.

You see, I also have other students who stopped studying English for 10, 20, even 30 years. And yes, when they restart it is a struggle for a while. But they soon get back into English, they remember a lot of what they used to know and learn more. They start to enjoy the langage again.

So, if you have stopped learning English for a week, a month, a year or even a decade. Don’t sweat. Don’t worry about it. You can start again.

And if you are looking for a good way to get back into English after a break, you can go and listen to all the past episodes of English with Stephen. They are all still available, even if I take a break every now and again. And you can find them for free on my site EnglishwithStephen.com.

And what about you? What are the things that stop you from learning English? Is it the fact that you have a new puppy? Or is it something else? I’d love you to let me know. Tell me on my social media or on my site.

That’s all from me for today. I hope to speak to you again next week. Assuming my puppy dog lets me.

So long!

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