Have you ever experienced the "plateau effect"? How did you overcome it?

This is a topic that concerns not only language learners but anyone studying something for a long period of time.

The plateau effect, or language learning plateau in our case, is a real thing and a lot of students experience it without knowing what it is, and put words on it.

I found this article that explains things clearly and gives some tips as to how to overcome it - The Dreaded Language Learning Plateau: How to Rise Above It | FluentU Language Learning

" A language learning plateau occurs when you stop learning as much as quickly . It’s easy to make quick progress early on, but as you learn more, you naturally slow down. Because of this, a language learning plateau frequently occurs when learners reach an intermediate level of language proficiency."

Anyone would like to share their experience? Did you experience a time where progress was not as fast as before and got you down, but found a way to overcome it?

Since this topic came up I started to branch out with the methods and some of them are perfectly described in that article.

I’ve found so far a couple things have helped through the plateau:
-language stacking. I’ve added learning spanish via chinese text books to be super cool. This also includes watching spanish tv with only chinese sub titles. I’ve found a new level of fun with this.
-more native content consumption. more focus on tv shows etc. I’ve recently found them to be less stressful on my brain than before. for obvious reasons, as your vocab and ability increases your energy requirements to use the target language decreases.
-pushing my LTL teachers to help broaden my sentences. If you ask, they will help refine your sentences to make them a bit more “intelligent” and less basic (which is an easy rut to get stuck in)

the bulk of that article is all good, and definitely a ton of things I’ve just overlooked or got lazy with…

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These are great tips! I have to try them. Thanks Jordan

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I REALLY need to watch more foreign TV.

I typically only watch TV for sport anyway, but I need to find a way to squeeze in foreign channels. I have access to them, I should use them!


I enjoy learning itself, I enjoy details, so I am a rather slow learner. I don’t worry too much about progress. As a piano teacher I love to give my students material at many different levels. Difficult things to just touch the surface, very easy things to learn in bulk or have fun with, the true level to work in detail. That is also the way I love to learn. I think it is called spiral learning. I especially love doing lots of simple things, and I am convinced it helps a lot to have a perfect secure base.
Infact my learning feels like I am floating on a perpetual plateau. I love this plateau of learning, I mean, think about sports or playing instruments, it needs a lot of effort to maintain the level, there is nothing wrong with a safe beautiful plateau.
And - big confession - reading and learning something is my best way to relax, I love it to dive into concentration, to immerse myself in the other world of a language, play with grammar. But don’t forget I simply love it, there is no great ambition in it, and what I do is often not really effective, but I certainly love it more than many learners. Second by the way: diving into the sea and reading by the sea.
But lately I’ve noticed that something must have happened. I found my first series that I really like to watch in Chinese. I never understood being told to watch films before. I tried but it wasn’t fun, I didn’t understand enough.
For the first 6 episodes I used LanguageReactor, read Chinese, sentence by sentence (= my detail loving nature), but after that I could only find the episodes on Vicki Rakuten. But- I am finally enjoying watching with English subtitles only. I understand enough Chinese now to have fun.
By the way, my series is called “The Heart of Genius”, 天才基本法。
I simply love it. It is about parallel worlds, time travel, father-daughter relationship, kids and education, philosophy/psychology, - and Math. :wink:
And quite different from this genre:
I also tried out a few episodes of 都挺好
This will be my next series, it is about the daily life and issues of a dysfunctional family, brilliant actors, not a cheap soap.

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