These are top five myths about learning English that I hear everyday. There are many more but these five are well cemented in learners of English’ mind (at least here in Vietnam).
You have to live in an English speaking country in order to be fluent in English – This is the biggest stupidity I have ever heard. Definitely, it will help your English if you live in an English speaking country but it is not a necessary condition. There are millions of people who have never visited such country but they are fluent in English. Do you know why? They practice English everyday.
I have to learn grammar in order to speak good English – Grammar is important but you will be able to communicate in English if you don’t know grammar. As a matter of fact, I believe focusing on grammar after you are fluent is more effective and helps you to understand how to apply grammar in speaking much better. I learned grammar rules after I was fluent in English and I learned how to apply them in speaking by listening to others how they use the language. For me, watching movies is a great way to see how others pronounce and use grammar. You can do that only if you are fluent. One more thing, it does not matter how many grammar rules you know, you will always make mistakes.
Learning English is funny – Let’s see, what can be funny in learning English!? Personally I don’t find anything funny. Learning English requires devotion, hard working, a lot of practice, time spent at school, time spent at home for self-studying, and more practice again and again. If you are lucky enough then you can do all these things in a “relaxing” environment. If you are even luckier then you will have many opportunities to practice the language you have learned. Stop promoting “learning English is funny” because learners of English understand by “funny” something that makes you laughing all the time. Soon, if you do not have Mr. Bean in the class you will not have any learner/client. I have around me thousands of learners of English who have a lot of fun in every English class but they are not able to speak English (they have been studying English for 10 years now).
You can not learn English by your own – Well, you can! Do not get me wrong, learning English all by yourself does not mean there is no interaction with other speakers of English (natives or not). You can learn English at home in many different ways at your own peace but then you have to use the language you have learned by interacting with others (chatting, Facebook, and blogging are few ways that you can interact and practice with other speakers of English).
You make mistakes because you don’t know grammar – Nobody can think about grammar when speaking. The speech, and the grammar used come naturally. If someone gives you a written sentence you can say what grammar rules applied to that sentence and why, otherwise you are condemned at making mistakes. You make mistakes because you did not practice enough. Listening to others is a good practice.