Psychological barrier of teaching foreign language


The article examines the psychological barrier as the main reason for the difficulty in learning a foreign language in non - linguistic specialties in a higher educational institution.The most important competence which the future specialist must possess when studying in an university is the formation of a strategy for overcoming this psychological barrier. Overcoming psychological barriers involves the work of students themselves, connected with the creation by the teacher of conditions conducive to the formation of students' non - linguistic specialties of the university value altitude to the subject being studied. The given article describes the psychological barrier functions that play an important part in educational process and how to overcome them, which can help students develop value altitude to a foreign language. The student's progress in learning depends on Iiis attitude towards learning, on the motivation that underlies the learning activity. The competent teacher can use in the classroom various technologies and methods to overcome the psychological barriers described in this article.


Knowledge of a foreign language is very important nowadays. In our university students continue to learn foreign language with spelling rules, building sentences, tenses. The language barrier arises if they do not use these rules and skills in communication. Any language can and should be pronounced without fear of making mistakes. When we pronounce the words, we begin quickly and effectively understand a foreign language. This allowed us to determine the relevance of this work.

The purpose of the research is to study the causes and identify ways to overcome the language barrier by the example of English

Based on the goal, the following research objectives were identified:

  1. To study the literature on the psychological barrier in learning a foreign language.
  2. Consider the definitions of the psychological barrier concept.
  3. To study the causes of the 1 psychological barrier.
  4. Identify ways to overcome difficulties when communicating in a foreign language.

What is the «language barrier?» What does it mean? To answer these questions, we decided to define the concept of «language barrier». For example, our students study foreign language first at school, then at university, perhaps at courses or even independently. They learn grammar, vocabulary, read, translate and retell texts, write letters. It would seem that they have a good command of the language, but it is at this stage that such a problem arises as the inability to speak and freely express their thoughts in the language being studied! This problem is the language barrier. In psychological literature there is also concept of «communication barrier».

L. Popova considers that communication barriers are a psychological obstacle of various origins, which is set in the way of undesirable, tedious or dangerous information [1].

V Krysko, considers that the communicative barrier, understands the psychological obstacles that arise in the way of adequate information transfer between communication partners [2].

As for us, we think that language barrier is the lack of knowledge and trying to speak language, the ability to understand and respond the speech.

It is impossible to talk about the language barrier when a student cannot speak, just because he does not have any language skills, when there is no necessary grammatical structures, when there is ignorance of a particular vocabulary to display a particular topic.

Research methods

To talk about ways to overcome the language barrier, we need to understand the reasons that cause it.

Speaking about the reasons of the language barrier, it should be noted that one of the main reason is the psychological uncertainty of a student, fear of making a mistake, a feeling of discomfort when communicating in English. In order to overcome the language barrier caused by these reasons, it is necessary to create such conditions in which a student would feel comfortable, in which the potential internal capabilities of a student would be revealed, so that a student would psychologically relax and speak spontaneously on a particular topic. If such conditions are observed, part of the problems causing the language barrier will be removed.

The fear of making a mistake may develop due to improper learning or improperly created conditions for learning English. Often it is the fault of a teacher who constantly corrected the student's mistakes, not allowing him to express his point of view, which is wrong. Speaking about the correction of mistakes and the removal of fear of students’ mistakes, we should take into account the psychological characteristics of each student. Accordingly, some mistakes can be corrected in the course of speech, some mistakes can be corrected only after the student has finished his statement.

Another problem that can cause difficulties in spontaneous speaking is the previous experience of learning, it is the rejection of new teaching methods, it is a habit of grammatical - translation method of learning. The difficulty arises when a student comes to learn a language in English courses, and because of the negative previous experience, perhaps unpleasant associations that have emerged due to the fact that the student studied the language at school or University on some other approach. In this case, the teacher's task is to hold a conversation with the student, to show that the communicative method is more effective, to show that any material learned in the classroom can be used at the same time, as well as to show the practical applicability of all that students do in the classroom. In such ways, it will be possible to remove the psychological difficulties and language barrier caused by the negative study of the English language, or attachment to the grammatical and translation method of teaching a foreign language.

Another problem that can cause a language barrier is the lack of motivation of the student. Motivation is very important. What is motivation? According to the Merriam Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary motivation is «the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing» [3]. We see that motivation is the desire to speak, the desire to communicate, the desire to express their ideas is the main point for what a person could safely speak and not feel any language barrier. At the English lesson it is necessary to create such communicative situations, so called life skills that will be of interest to the student. This is especially important in the study of professional English: the teacher must be very well versed in the specifics of the activities of their students.

Results of research

It is also necessary to emotionally influence, to appeal to emotions, to feelings of the student, to create such situations of communication in which the student will want to express the opinion, to agree or disagree, to argue. When the emotional background is involved, a student begins to speak spontaneously: he begins to forget that he speaks a foreign language. For him, of paramount importance is the very purpose of communication and the purpose of expressing an idea, not the means by which you can express a particular thought or solve a particular communicative problem in the study of English. A student can know grammatical structures, can have a good passive vocabulary, but due to the lack of speech practice, a student can not use them in spontaneous speech. There should be automation of both language skills and speech skills in order for a student to be able to apply in real life all that is learned in English lessons.

In connection with the issue of communication practice, it should be emphasized that the whole process of learning English courses should be built in such a way as to create situations as close to reality as possible. It is necessary that all speech patterns, language skills are introduced, trained, practiced in conditions as close to reality as possible. A student should understand that each specific word, each specific situation, each specific structure is necessary for him to solve a particular communicative problem both in the classroom and then in real life.

Language training in situations close to reality, then allows a student to quickly transfer all that was passed in the classroom in English, in real life. If the lesson trains the situation at the airport, the student being in real life at the airport, will be able to react faster if this situation has already been lost in the classroom.


To sum up, it is worth saying that the main tactic to overcome the language barrier is the method of teaching and the approach that uses a particular school of English. The most effective for removing the language barrier is a communicative approach to learning English, which allows you to take into account the personal characteristics of students, allows you to give maximum practice of all language skills and speech skills, which allows you to set situations close to reality, allows you to influence the emotional world of students, cause and encourage the student to communicate.

Another way to remove the language barrier are classes with a native speaker. Such classes can be conducted in English in order to make a person feel that he communicates with real people, that he can speak freely. This removes the language barrier and allows a person to communicate freely in English.

In conclusion, we would say that the language barrier is the difficulty of expressing your own thoughts or the difficulty of understanding a foreign language associated with fear or shame. It goes without saying that almost everyone faces a language barrier when learning English.



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Year: 2019
Category: Psychology