If you want to become a lifelong learner you should develop some habits, mainly, a love for learning! Adult life is not that exciting, really, unless your mind is alive -- so developing curiosity is of paramount importance. That'll make your adult life more interesting, fullfilling & rewarding! Nobody finds time for activities not linked to a strong emotional liking! If you're learning English to get a certificate, for work reasons, this might prove to be a weak incentive. If you understand the relevance of language learning, the many worlds you will have access to because you are learning another language, if you enjoy the process of learning, even though such a process will imply hard work, you will be willing to make the effort! Everybody finds time for their passions! Or should do so!!
Learning happens at every moment in life. We are unconscious of this process, but we can learn to be aware of it, to choose at least part of what we want to learn! Studying is a conscious act -- we prepare ourselves to learn. But today, especially in language learning, this combines with the development of habits as lifelong learners, which means it's less theoretical and more practical: e.g. we learn grammar from listening and repeating useful language! (When you listen to the language in various ways, you develop an intuition of syntactic and morphological accurateness!) In other words, things sound right or not so right! As you develop a certain activity, realize what other skills and resources you are also using! You will be amazed. Here, have a look at this example. Language learning is brilliant for brain training!
Adults are very competent lifelong learners when they keep they fear and complexes at bay. They have more life experience and life knowledge to relate new information to, so they can make progress in very little time. The only disadvantage an adult has as compared to a child is pronunciation -- when we haven't pronounced certain sounds when our phonological organs where forming, it takes us longer to master sound production. If you have a Spanish accent, that's OK! (Think of the foreign people you know who speak Spanish with an accent from their own cultural background, e.g. British (think about Robinson His Spanish is great AND he has a strong British accent, right?), US American (Gwyneth Paltrow has an amazing good accent), French (hilarious movie scene!! French inspector learning English performed by a US American!) or German . The important thing is that you don't mispronounce: friend /frend/ not /friend/. Then, the accent is part of your cultural identity so don't get obsessed with that. It's pointless. Of course, it's always a good idea to try and imitate native speakers' accents, but as you probably know, like with the case of Spanish, there are countless accents and none of them wrong for they simply belong to a cultural background: British, US American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, American Indian... Check out World Englishes and listen to some of these standard Englishes.
Learn to Think Right about Your Learning & Get Organized/Organised
Here are some of the ideas, information and templates I have shared with my students at state-run language schools, in case they are of help to you!
You want to be in touch with English every day. You are open to understanding how every little thing works for the whole! You are open to becoming an independent and resourceful lifelong learner. Meditate over this!
- Self-Reflection Worksheet, by YT (1 p)
- Working On Your English (2 pp) - recap of techniques used in class (2006-07)
- Questionnaire 2006 (1 p)
- Resourcefulness as Life-Long Learners - A Bye Letter to Y5's (2006-07) (2 pp)
- Reflections on Language Learning, by YT (1 p)
- Valéria's work on her Learning Diary Charts and Worksheets to Keep a Record of Things!
Getting Organized. Weekly Timetables/Shedules
- My Weekly Use of English (1 page); this is not a chart, you have to pick the concepts which could be useful for you, not all!)
- Learning English. Weekly Schedule/Timetable (1 p) - Template to print
Effective Study Habits
How to Concentrate
Studying with multiple sources
Before class, in class
Paying attention in class
Taking notes in class
How to self-correct and assess your own work/progress
Learning to Learn