Students always want to know how to learn English quickly and effectively. There has to be some way of doing it, right? In this post I’ll let you know the four things you need to do to learn a language effectively and efficiently.
Knowing what you want to study
Be comfortable in your lack of knowledge
I’m sorry but there is no substitute for sitting down with a book, printout, CD or MP3 player and trying to understand the things you don’t understand yet, or practising the things you need to practise. Actually, I’m not sorry and you shouldn’t hate it. If you are not enjoying your study, you haven’t chosen the right study materials. Ten minutes for six days a week is one hour a week, and everybody has ten minutes a day.
“But I’m a schoolkid/college student and my teacher picks my materials,” you say? Fine. Study your teachers materials a bit but get back to that song, book, internet chat, football blog or DVD as soon as you are done. School English is not really study: it is doing what your teacher wants you to do. If you are in my school or college classes, the head of the English department has set a text that has to be followed and then we speak to each other. And none of the materials I am made to use are ever terrible.
If you are reading this blog post, well done! You have enough desire to read English today. You might even read some more. Watch some videos in English, too. You need the desire to do the hard work. Some days the desire isn’t there, or so you think, but you still have enough desire to do about five minutes reading or mess about on Twitter. You can also trick yourself into using English by making it a part of your routine. If you convert your computer to an English OS or have your mobile phone run in English this means you have to see English whenever you use your device. Put some English music on your MP3 player to give yourself a rest from studying. Enjoy your English by living it. Rest as an English speaker would. Rest in English until your desire comes back.
You are in charge of your materials. This means that if you want to study English to understand Premier League football on television and the internet you need to find websites and television broadcasts to help you do this. You might find bilingual websites but I wouldn’t advise these because translations are never 100% correct because no languages ever translate back and forth without a loss in nuance. Learn in English: it’s natural and you are bound to have English words you can’t explain in your own language eventually. See this as a milestone (a progress marker) not as something negative.
You are learning a language, not saving the world. Some days you will understand everything you study, other days you will understand almost nothing. Relax. Native speakers do not know everything. I have no knowledge of engineering, marine biology, geology and a lot of other things. I am the same as you. Do not expect to know everything about everything in every language you know. This will cause unnecessary stress and make you avoid studying. Study what you like and what you need and take your time.
You can learn a language quickly, or learn enough to function, in months if you have the time to study hard and regularly. Remember you need a balance of input (reading and listening) and output (speaking and writing). If you want to get more output, why not book lessons with me?