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#1 Building English Confidence: Part 1

The Strange Way Fear Motivates Taiwan's Students

Does the thought of using English fill you with fear?

Our reactions to fear can range from blushing to flushing to a hair-raising desire to fight or to flee. Fight or Flight? This is a natural response inherent in all animals and even in some plants. One thing is for certain, if we flee, our fear will remain in control over us. But, if we stand and we fight…. and win, we then own that fear. It is gone forever. Just gone. By the way, in some situations, if you fight and fail, you can die. That’s why we come equipped with the response.

Some situations, but not all.

As children we have a bounty of fears. Fear of the dark is one common example. As children we’re absolutely sure that it would harm us. We look back now and see that response as completely irrational. Many people I meet while out walking my sweet little dog are gripped with fear whenever she comes near. They want to run away as fast as they can. But if they just took a second, and put out their hand, they would make a friend for life.

However, Taiwan (and Japan, South Korea and China) has created another response to the fear of making mistakes: Shame. Loss of Face. This sense of shame has become so manifest that it inhibits progress in some areas while proving truly advantageous in others.

It is admirable how Taiwanese students have been able to transfer this sense of shame over mistakes into stalwart study habits. And it has paid off in helping shape Taiwan into the modern success story it has become. How, you may ask? By creating students that excel in the sciences. Taiwanese students’ proclivity for cramming for tests has shown great results in all areas of science-based study and Taiwan has parlayed that success into a robust economy which is the envy of many other Asian countries.

When it comes to learning languages, does this shame response become an actual handicap?

The point is, fear does not have to be autonomic. We can choose to face our fears and yes, we can vanquish them. So your question of how you can overcome your fear of conversing with native speakers is related in this way: You alone are choosing to be afraid. You must face that fear head on. Infinity Language Solutions can guide you and challenge you in many ways to help you win out, but ultimately, it is up to you. You will choose to overcome if you really want to.

If only it was as easy as flipping a switch. Getting over your fears of using English has to be the highest priority in ultimately helping you achieve your goals of fluency. Unfortunately, these fears run deep and will take more than an acknowledgement of their existence to vanquish them to the nether regions of your memory. We need to start with defining just what it is you are afraid of? At Plan B LS, we believe it is a combination of two things: fear mistakes and fear of unwanted negative attention.

We will discuss both these fears in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned...........

Quick Tip:

Don't freak out about grammar. Native English speakers are so happy that you are trying to speak English with us, that we really don’t care if you use the wrong verb tense.

Thanks. Enjoy.

This video presentation is why we created Infinity Language Solutions.

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