Flow makes learning a language much easier
A great deal has been said and written on the subject of stress, which is why we know that stress can be very helpful in some situations, like when a tiger is about to pounce on you. In general, though, as humans we prefer to avoid stressful situations, especially when it comes to learning. When you are under stress, your brain blocks new information and you cannot learn.
We prefer to strive for a state of flow. Hungarian professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came up with the term ‘flow’. It simply means immersing yourself in an activity that is taking place in the now. When you are in a state of flow, your brain is receptive to absorbing new information and making connections with all the things you already know.
There are three conditions that have to be met to achieve flow in learning:
1. There must be a match with your skills
The level of difficulty of what you are learning has to be just right if you want to achieve flow. It should not be too difficult, nor should it be too easy. Coming into a flow is impossible if, for example, you are reading a text or watch a film and cannot follow the basic storyline. The same applies if you start to study those all-to-familiar rows of French verbs or German cases again after many years in an attempt to pick up the language once more. You need a challenge at the appropriate level. That is why one-on-one lessons are so important.
2. You need immediate feedback
Immediate feedback is essential. It stops doubt from creeping in and keeps you from seeing certain things as meaningless. Learning a language on your own is very difficult for that reason. At the very least, you need someone who nods understandingly when you say something. Hearing that you are on the right track is extremely motivating and helps you push on.
3. You are able to concentrate without distractions
You achieve a state of flow when you are undistracted and can fully concentrate.
Language learning... pretty scary!
At Regina Coeli, we try to help students come into a flow as quickly as possible because we know better than anyone that a student can then achieve the best results. Many students feel a bit tense when they start their first day of training. Thoughts like: ‘Can I do this?’ ‘I don’t have a head for languages!’ ‘Will the teachers be too strict?’ run through their heads. This is completely understandable—speaking a foreign language can be quite stressful. Just the thought of having a conversation in French or giving a presentation in English can make you break out in a sweat. Luckily, we can always ease that tension quickly.
How do we help you come into a flow?
A few things we do at Regina Coeli to create and maintain flow:
- We put together a tailor-made training course. All the materials and exercises are at just the right level for you. Those clear goals allow you to learn effectively.
- A language trainer gives you immediate feedback. Naturally, you will be corrected, but you will also hear how well you are doing. Your confidence grows when you are with us.
- Our location allows you to fully concentrate on learning the language. You will experience peace and quiet, a fixed daily rhythm with lessons and breaks, and few to no distractions. Everyone is busy learning a language.
- You will be fully catered for by our friendly catering staff. Hunger and thirst (stress!) are not even in our vocabulary!
The Nuns of Vught
The term flow is fairly new, but the nuns who created our method had intuited years ago that learning is best done when people feel comfortable, are not distracted, and learn exactly what they need for real life at the right level.
Read more about the Nuns of Vught >
Maintain the flow
After a language course, it is important to maintain flow by speaking the language. Everyone knows language skills take a big leap forward after using them (again) for a while. Your language trainer will tell you more about how to maintain this flow at the end of your training.
To the language courses