More and more people in the world are turning to what is called Neurolanguage Coaching® in order to get faster results in learning a language.
And they are doing it in an age like ours, in which there are plenty of courses and methods of all sorts around, and the Internet even makes a huge number of learning resources available to us for free!
In fact, they realize that sometimes taking a course or trying to learn on their own is not enough. The lack of specific goals or of an understanding of their own learning style (and so failing to adopt the right strategies) can only lead to a waste of time and money.
We also know from research in neuroscience that the anxiety and stress that characterize many language courses, as well as certain doubts and uncertainties as to how to go about learning a language, may impair the ability of our brain to absorb and store new information effectively.
In other words, we now know for sure that learning occurs only when our brain is in a positive and stress-free state.
Neurolanguage Coaching® is the right answer to these new types of demands.
The number of certified coaches is increasing and now this service also exists for the Japanese language (this site is an example)!
What is Neurolanguage Coaching®
Its name may sound a bit complicated, but essentially the prefix “neuro-” indicates:
“a brain-friendly way of learning”
Introduced by Rachel Marie Paling, director of the ELC (Efficient Language Coaching), Neurolanguage Coaching® is a sort of hybrid of both method and approach. In it, the traditional transmission process of language knowledge (teaching) is strengthened by incorporating principles borrowed from coaching and neuroscience.
Just as in the sports arena, the function of a language coach is to guide you until you reach certain goals (in your case getting better at Japanese) and neurolanguage coaches do this specifically by paying full attention to the way your brain learns best.
Neurolanguage Coaching® can help you when you are facing difficulties in certain areas of the language and want to overcome them: you don’t feel comfortable when you speak and are looking for focused practice; you are studying Japanese at college but you have fallen behind and want to catch up within a few sessions; you want to prepare for a presentation or a job interview… and so on.
However, if you’re wondering whether this approach can fit you as a beginner, the answer can be yes and no.
Yes – in the sense that even one single chat with a coach can help you plan your work by providing you with a few tips on materials and resources to use and above all, explanations of how to tackle certain aspects of the language (kanji, grammar, etc.).
No – because Neurolanguage Coaching® is essentially based on ongoing interaction in the target language, so you’ll get better results if you have at least a foundation in the grammar and already know how to build simple sentences.
Having said that, let’s now turn to the main topic of this post, which is how this new approach could help you improve your Japanese.
Some of the benefits of Neurolanguage Coaching®
To give you an idea of how Neurolanguage Coaching® can help you, I have prepared a list of 10 out of the many benefits you would be offered.
1. It gives you a structure and a clear strategic plan to follow
When you’re studying Japanese on a course or even on your own, you usually find yourself following the order of the topics presented in a book. Neurolanguage Coaching® starts by considering your goals and offers you a strategic plan with specific actions to achieve them. Materials to be used will be chosen accordingly.
2. It helps you stay motivated and engaged throughout your learning
As you know, in language learning the key to success is motivation. And this is even more true for a complex language such as Japanese! Coaching helps you not only to investigate in more detail the real reasons that have pushed you to learn Japanese but also to not lose sight of them along the way. It does this by providing you with lots of ideas and tools to make your learning more interesting and engaging.
3. It focuses on your needs and specific goals
Unlike a traditional language course, in Neurolanguage Coaching® the whole attention of the coach is focused on you. Once your needs are identified and your goals are set, you will start working on them under his or her guidance in a focused and totally tailored manner.
4. It allows you to have complete control over what you learn and how you do it
We know from neuroscience that the more we are involved in the learning process the more effective this will be. In Neurolanguage Coaching® you’ll have authority over the entire process, and you will be free to choose what you want to focus on and how you prefer to learn.
5. It helps you isolate and discard any defense mechanisms
Sometimes you know grammar well, but feel blocked when speaking. Or you tend to talk too little because you are afraid of making mistakes, or you put yourself down because you believe you don’t have an aptitude for languages… Often, these are just feelings and unconscious defense mechanisms that coaching can help you discard.
6. It allows you to instantly put into practice what you learn
The great benefit of Neurolanguage Coaching® is ongoing practice. While you try to express yourself in Japanese, the coach will ‘feed’ you with new words and expressions that you can then consolidate through other output activities on your own. What matters most is not the time or the number of sessions you meet with him or her but the work you do on your own, reviewing and consolidating a little bit every day.
7. It helps you maximize your potential as an autonomous learner
What is often lacking in traditional language courses is advice on how to learn. Teachers usually explain the grammar, they give you a list of kanji to remember, but nobody tells you how to study them. With Neurolanguage Coaching® you can get enough practice in the language and at the same time gain some strategic skills that will allow you to understand how to move forward in your learning independently.
8. It stimulates you to reflect on the strategies that work for you
A given strategy (for example, ‘learning the kanji with flashcards’) may work for your friend but not for you. Why? Simply because that strategy is not in line with your learning style. Unlike your friend who is more “visual”, you might be more “auditory” and therefore prefer to memorize by using audio aids. Coaching helps you figure out what works best for you.
9. It allows you to get faster results while saving money
Another difference with traditional teaching is the higher price. People still don’t know what Neurolanguage Coaching® is, so they regard it as equivalent to a standard private tutoring service. The difference, however, lies in the effectiveness of this method which allows you to reach results it would take you much longer to reach with other methods. Thus, you will spend much less overall.
10. It offers you ongoing feedback and acknowledgement
In Neurolanguage Coaching® you will always get immediate feedback whenever you need it and acknowledgement by the coach on what you were able to do and what you still need to do in order to achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself. This helps you to “keep on track” and do everything with a very specific purpose in mind.
These are just some of the benefits that you can get if you decide to work for a period of time with a neurolanguage coach and finally make a positive change in your Japanese.
How about you? Do you prefer a more traditional way of learning, or do you think this approach might be of any help to you in resolving your difficulties? Feel free to leave a comment below or to share this article with anyone you think may find it useful!
(NOTE: Neurolanguage Coaching® is a registered trademark in the name of RM Paling)