by Trilia Chen, MA
Emotions play a huge part in our ability to learn. According to research, positive emotions can enhance learning whereas prolonged emotional distress can hamper learning. When we are experiencing positive emotions, we are motivated to act while thinking and learning are enhanced. When our view is predominantly negative, thinking and learning are stifled (Lawson, 2002). This is good reason to view learning Telugu from a positive perspective.
Similarly, Swami Kaleshwar always stressed the importance of staying positive. You must believe that you are capable and can successfully learn Telugu. That "can do" attitude will keep you motivated and on target. If you have a history of successfully learning foreign languages, it is relatively easy to believe that learning another language is possible. You can trust in your abilities. However, if you don’t have that experience or if you’ve struggled with learning, it’s important to find a way to believe that you can still be successful. If you’ve even taken one small step, such as successful memorization of the vowels, then celebrate that success and use that as a catalyst for positivity. Then keep going onto the next steps.
Release Blocks and Comparisons
If negative feelings come about your learning abilities, accept that some block is present. In this case, use your strong willpower to get out of that negative thought. Release that block through intention, prayers, or meditation. With your willpower, help yourself to believe in your abilities. It’s been my experience and in my observation of others that learning Telugu is a block washing experience. It brings up feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt. Not only are you learning Telugu, you are also growing and becoming more confident through the experience of facing your human blocks and releasing them.
Another way to stay positive is to avoid comparing yourself to others. With comparisons, there is a possibility that someone will appear more successful or better than you. If you focus on that, then the faith you have in your abilities will erode. Instead, focus on your own gifts and abilities. Better yet, ask the successful individual to give you some tips on how he or she was able to succeed. Learn how this person succeeded and see if implementing the same strategy can help you improve. Avoid using another person’s success as a reason to think you are not as capable. On the other hand, believing that you are better than others results in a huge ego. Humbleness is important to keep from falling from grace. Your success is not because only you are great. You’ve had the support of your teachers and divine grace along the way.
I believe when you are able to make learning Telugu fun, it becomes easier. Having fun is another way of bringing positive energy into the learning process. Here are some suggestions on how to make learning Telugu fun: Learning along with your good friends makes the process so much more enjoyable. You look forward to practicing Telugu with them. Talk about fun topics in Telugu or make jokes. If you enjoy music, then learning Telugu through song or make up your own Telugu songs. If you like Telugu movies, then you can learn by watching some Telugu movies. Perhaps you can even make up word games, like Telugu Scrabble.
Experts in learning languages offer some suggestions on the best ways to learn. According to Luis Von Ahn, the CEO of Duelingo, practicing consistently leads to success in learning a new language (Cain, A, 2017). Making language learning a part of your routine and spacing it out is much better than cramming. Learning in marathon sessions or binge learning is not the way to go. Instead, make time for short practices spaced out over time. According to research, you can learn better if you gradually increase the spacing between practices (Duolingo, 2016).
When I first started learning Telugu, I remember our teacher, Ramakrishna, telling us that it’s important for students to be willing to make mistakes. This is difficult to do when we want to avoid being judged and looking incompetent. But it’s important to be willing to make mistakes so that we can learn from them. Making mistakes is a fundamental part of the cognitive processes. We learn from our mistakes and from observing others making mistakes. When we are willing to make mistakes, we then are able to try out new vocabulary or grammar and get feedback on whether we are using them correctly. We then expand our exposure to the language (Lampariello, n.d.). So go ahead and make mistakes, learn from them, and celebrate them.
Remember Your Inspiration
There will be times when learning Telugu can become frustrating and challenging. Maybe you start to doubt your abilities and can't feel positive. Or maybe you just feel like you can’t make the time to study. It is in these moments that it’s important to remember to look for guidance and positive inspiration. Remember that Swami Kaleshwar’s intention is for his students to successfully learn Telugu. You’ve got the greatest cheerleader helping you along. Go into meditation and look within and connect to the infinite source for guidance, healing, and inspiration. Take the time to release any blocks that may come up in the process of learning. Look to your fellow Telugu students for inspiration and motivation. This process is about more than just learning a language. It’s also about your personal growth and the upliftment of our collective human consciousness. What a beautiful opportunity!
I hope some of these suggestions are helpful on your journey. I wish you great success and good fortune in your Telugu studies.
Cain, A (2017, May 4) The CEO of language app Duelingo says too many people make the same mistake trying to learn a new language. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-learn-a-new-language-2017-5
Duelingo (2016, December 14) How we learn how you learn. Retrieved from http://making.duolingo.com/how-we-learn-how-you-learn
Lampariello, L. (n.d.) The Art of Making Mistakes - How and why mistakes help you to learn languages (Guest post by Luca). Retrieved from https://www.fluentin3months.com/make-mistakes/
Lawson, C. (2002, Jan 1) The Connections Between Emotions And Learning. Retrieved from http://www.cdl.org/articles/the-connections-between-emotions-and-learning/