How many times have you said: “On Monday I will start studying English”? How many times have you planned to pay more attention to English? I am sure many times. Maybe you have spent a lot of time going to school but you are still not able to speak English. You learned a lot of vocabulary but now you just remember a small part of it. You have been studying English for ten years now but you can’t understand a word when you are watching an American movie. Sounds familiar?! Here I am not talking about those who live in an English speaking country; I am talking about the other part, people who live in non-English speaking countries, particularly Vietnam.
Definitely, learning a foreign language requires devotion and it involves a lot of time dedicated for this task. The results don’t come overnight!
First let’s take a look at what we study in an English class: speaking, listening, writing, reading, grammar, and vocabulary and pronunciation. All above mentioned skills are important but one of them is the most important. That will be vocabulary and pronunciation. How can you speak if you don’t know vocabulary? Well, you can’t. You can’t speak and you can’t listen if you don’t know vocabulary. You might be able to write and read if you have a dictionary but of course it takes longer; checking dictionary for every word you don’t know is very annoying. Soon you will give up probably.
Start learning by learning vocabulary. When you learn a new word you will learn how to pronounce it as well. Learning vocabulary implies few more other things. You can’t just memorize words; if you do that, sooner or later you will forget. Why don’t you start with a simple text? A simple text can be a children book for example. Read a short and simple story, translate it into your language and see how English is used. Maybe you will want to translate it back into English using your own words then compare the two versions of English. That can be really interesting.
Do this activity every day (if it is possible), make a strict program for studying English and stick with it. A strict program is always good, not only for studying English but for other activities as well.
If you do something try to do it well. If you pay money to learn in a school then take all advantages of being in the same room with an English teacher. Prepare your lesson before going to school, raise your hand and speak. If you speak, the teacher will be able to correct your mistakes. Try to use the vocabulary you have studied at home, that helps you to remember the new words. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. The teacher is there to help you and teacher’s corrections are very important. If you don’t understand something then ask for help, don’t just let it go.
Music didn’t work for me, I tried but I couldn’t learn English through music. I have listed to thousands of English songs but I couldn’t understand a word. Movies are also difficult to be understood if your English level is not really good. But, there are lots of videos on the Internet that can help.
Listening English and having English subtitles at the same time is one of the best ways of studying English (at least it was the most effective way for me).
To understand the importance of practicing English I have chosen an example. Let’s say me and you want to learn how to drive a car.
You buy a book and start learning how to drive a car. There are examples, pictures and different other things that will help you to learn how to drive a car. Six months later you finished the book but your driving abilities are questionable.
I ask a friend to let me drive his car. First time I will make an accident. My friend tells me that I press the acceleration instead of break. Next day I try again and this time I will do it better but still not good enough. I keep practicing under his attention few more times and one week later I am able to drive the car.
If I don’t try to drive a car because I am afraid of accidents then I will never be able to do it. Maybe is not the best example but it reflects the importance of practicing. Practice English as much as possible, use the new words and learn from others.
In order to be fluent in English you have to live in an English environment. If you don’t have one then create one. Besides going to school, make sure you listen to good English every day and find an English Speaking Club for practicing English with others.
I learned English through writing. Expressing your ideas through writing is a very effective way of learning. Create your own blog and write in English. If you don’t have your own blog and you want to write in English then you can do it here. ESL Vietnam Zone accepts everybody despite your nationality or English abilities. If you are interested in writing in English language then contact me and I will tell you how you can start. There is only one condition: everything you write has to be related to English language (for example your experience as an English learner or as an English teacher).