What would your life be like if you spoke better English?
Would you have a better career? Get paid more? Would you be able to travel easily? Would you be able to communicate without the stress of translating everything in your head first? Would you be able to watch your favorite TV shows and movies without subtitles?
Speaking English well can definitely change your life, but how can you become a confident and independent English speaker? Do you need to be born with a special talent? Or have a lot of money?
Virtually anyone can learn English, since we all have the capacity, however only the fierce will conquer all four language skills to perfection: Reading, listening, writing and perhaps the toughest of all, speaking, because it requires simultaneous processes in the brain to produce coherent ideas in your non-native language. But, good news!
You’re not alone. This rich content guidebook pertains five simple scientifically proven steps that will make a huge difference in the way you perceive “learning”. The steps are simple, but you can’t sit back and do nothing. Say goodbye to procrastinating!!
Learning a foreign language takes a lot of effort, and determination; these five steps will help you to not waste your time insisting on dead end roads and actually enjoy the ride of learning English. Do you have what it takes?
Let’s get started with the first step.
STEP NUMBER ONE
Shake it up!
One sure-fire way to slow down learning is doing stuff that bores you. Our brains like novelty: we remember things more easily when we experience them in new contexts.
Continuously, switch up methods/books/materials every month or so, while keeping the habits that work for you constant.
Think about your English learning history.
The school-method of learning English is good for getting good test scores, but what about when you travel to New York? Or when you need to talk with clients in English on the phone for your job? You need immediate use English; you need functional and practical fixed structures that you will only get by exposing yourself to the target language.
So how can being open-minded help you become a confident English speaker?
By Trying New Methods.
That’s it! Step away from memorizing. Step away from textbooks. Step away from standardized school.
Let’s take a tip from Timothy Doner, an American teenager who taught himself 20 languages. Wow! He definitely knows what he’s talking about. He said that the best way to learn a language is to activate our senses, by listening to anything in the target language: music, radio, podcasts, conversations, TV shows, and movies. The good news is, this is fun stuff that we usually do in our native language! Discover the
magic of the life & works of many that were born across the globe, you will probably find lots of similarities between their lives and yours!
* YOU MAY USE SUBTITLES TO WATCH THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS
(subs available in Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese)
As children, we listened to our parents speak our native language every day, so our brain naturally learns language well just by listening.
Where can you go to listen to natural English?
- YouTube.com: check out videos for English learners and videos for native English speakers
- iTunes.com or Stitcher.com: listen to English podcasts
- Meetup.com: find English speaking groups in your city or region
- Ted Talks
In the next chapters, I will give you some advice about what kinds of materials to search for on these websites.
STEP NUMBER TWO
Find your rituals
I get bored quickly when I “study”, that’s why I prefer “learning”, gaining
knowledge is completely different than studying like a library mouse, which is why I’m always on the lookout for new textbooks, TV series, Youtube videos, ted talks, Netflix, chat rooms, meet up groups, etc. to keep things interesting. That said, I’ve got a few learning rituals that I try to keep constant because I know they work for me. By doing so, this might even be considered study time, even if it seems like resting time, because you are unconsciously receiving, processing and grasping
understanding of something, vocabulary and expressions mostly. If you are at an early stage in your learning process, don’t obsess over grammar. Focus on accumulating a decent amount of vocabulary; and share ideas through chat with classmates or ask your tutor to review your notes with you next class. By doing so, the new vocabulary will stick with you and if you make this a habit, pretty soon you’ll start using these words in your everyday conversation! That’s the goal! Keeping a notebook is desired.
Because you are a busy person, you WILL need to fit “little bites of English” into your daily life.
Experts say that if you do something for 30 days, you will create a habit.
So, you need to make English a habit.
You need to consistently and consciously practice your English skills.
How can you make English a habit? I recommend these six initiatives:
1. Take “little bites of English” every day. A few minutes is all it takes.
2. Choose the same time, every day for 30 days, and by the end of the month, you will feel much more relaxed about learning English because it will have become a habit by then.
3. Triage for distractions prior to study time. Find a quiet room in order to channel into your activity. This is specially recommended when studying for a formal exam or when studying grammar.
4. Make the most use of apps that help you practice your English. We work with Microsoft Teams, which grants you unlimited access 24/7, to multiple valuable apps that can be downloaded for free, and directly into your desktop, mac, tablet and cellphones!
Kaizala for chatting, it’s like instant whatsapp, but educational.
You can talk to your classmates as well as link your Microsoft email account to files from class and discuss them with your friends and tutor, and to your advantage, it can be downloaded right into your cellphone! Thanks to the app Wiki, you may now
be able to create your own blogs, One Drive and Share Point for document exchange and forums, Ms Teams for videoconference calls, Whiteboard, and all Microsoft Office Essentials: Word, Power Point, Excel, etc.
5. Download online dictionaries for isolated words inquiries.
Suggestions: Cambridge, Linguee, Wordreference.
6. Download apps right into your cellphone that encourage listening, as well as easy reading practice, that promote vocabulary acquisition. Suggestions: Audible, BBC news, Podbean, Audiobooks.com, Scribs, Goodreads, British English listening, LearnEnglish Podcasts.
I recommend choosing a specific time every day to learn English. Maybe it’s while you’re having breakfast or during your lunch break or while your child is taking a nap in the afternoon. Make sure you use interesting materials and always recycle. Don’t get stuck into a routine, it will only make you want to give up!
STEP NUMBER THREE
Measure your progress
Progress is an accumulation of lots of little steps and it’s difficult to notice improvement from one day to the next. But if you look at your language skills over a longer period of time, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come. Recording a video or audio file once every month is a great way to track your progress over time.
STEP NUMBER FOUR
Celebrate your achievements
It’s human nature that as soon as we reach one goal, instead of celebrating and praising ourselves, we just move the goal post and ignore all of the effort we have made. So stop beating yourself up about not being further ahead and start celebrating how far you’ve come.
STEP NUMBER FIVE
Be patient, avoid procrastinating and breathe through frustration
As you continue to make progress, please don’t give up. If you view the process as something you have to “get over with” until you get to advanced level, you’re going to make yourself miserable in the meantime.
Instead of looking at the big gap between where you are now and where you want to be, focus on each moment, and take solid steps, set a solid foundation; take short breaks during study time, be in the moment that moves you on just a little bit from your current level. Find things you enjoy, focus on the task in hand and the learning will occur naturally.
What would your life be like if you spoke better English?
Really think about your answer and take action today using these five practical steps!
Practice, Practice and Practice some more!!
If these five steps were helpful to you, please share this free e-book on Facebook so that more people can benefit and become confident and independent English speakers such as yourself.
Check out next chapter for a full-blown list of helpful English learning resources that will come in handy during your English learning voyage. Feel free to send me a message with questions that may arise during your trip to become an independent English learner.
A list of helpful English learning resources
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Watch videos in English:
Listen to podcasts in English: