The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Most Office Workers’ English Studies Are Short-Lived

Most Office Workers’ English Studies Are Short-Lived

Most junior office workers decide to improve their English but give up after a while, a straw poll suggests.

Junior office workers, who accounted for 73 percent of English program participants, often stop studying soon after they start. Only 27 percent last more than three months, while the majority stopped after about a month.

Not too surprising. Learning a language is like deciding you are going to exercise more. You start out gung ho and then find other things that are more immediately important to you. You then get a notice at the end of the year to renew your membership that you utilized a dozen times or so. Then you tell yourself you’re going to really do it this time….only to fall into the same hole.

These folks take language classes (or tutoring) because they believe, in the long run, that better English skills will improve their chances of moving up. This long-term, extrinsic motivation is the least sticky. The needs and desires of the immediate world take precedence and the goal is put off until later or manifested in books, software, and classes that will gather real or virtual dust until the desire strikes us again.

The reason that upper management was better is likely because they see a greater need or immediacy for the language, for testing, interaction, or simply cache.

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