Learning a new language is very hard and demanding. No matter how motivated you are, probably most of you, especially beginners, at least once came to the point when you had an internal blockade, causing not being able to further absorbing the knowledge. The question is – why? What mistakes do you make not even knowing about it? What blocks you and, what is more important, how to manage it and learn English more effectively?
During past few years, English accompanied me in many various situations. I learned at school, at home, talked to people on the internet or traveled abroad. I met a lot of learners, teachers and native speakers. Surrounding myself with English made me notice and understand mistakes which many people do, not seeing them or considering them to not be that important.
START WITH ALPHABET AND PRONUNCIATION
Most of the people have got a tendency to forget how important it is. We learn how to write words but we often don’t care that much about how to say them and it is a huge mistake. Speaking is the essential way of communication and a good pronunciation is fundamental in doing it properly. Many people do not see it until they are abroad, knowing English and not being able to communicate because of lack of appropriate communication skills. A lot of words sound much alike, a lot of words are pronounced totally differently than we think they should. These are the basics that should be known no matter what.
LEARNING VOCABULARY BY HEART
Don’t. Just don’t. I know many of you think that learning vocabulary by heart is the best way to remember it but in reality, it is not. It is the best way to waste your time. If you think looking at and repeating a long list of English words helps, you are most likely wrong. Even if you think you memorized some words probably few hours, days or months from now you will not have an idea what do they mean. Learning language works by association. Hearing a word you will probably recall your favorite book quote containing it or a funny situation when you heard it for the first time than just a dry word.
LET IT BE A PLEASURE
Unfortunately, learning is often associated with something unpleasant. It may be caused by not so good education system, but it doesn’t have to, more – it shouldn’t be like that! You should want to learn, have got a great power which knowledge is. Learning English is your own choice. That is why you should do it in a way which will be a pleasure for you. Read your favorite books, fanfictions, watch films, listen to music, play games, talk to people, travel, draw, whatever you like! It is not only a good way of productive spending time, but it also makes your learning much more effective and enjoyable.
It may sound a little bit daunting, but in reality, it is not a bad resolution at all. Learning every day is not about sitting and learning for hours, it is the exact opposite. Devoting time every day to doing this allows you to spend on this just a while. Taking some notes during a lunchtime or doing a daily lesson on a bus on a way back home can be enough if you are systematic and conscientious.
MAKE ENGLISH PART OF YOUR LIFE
Watch film without subtitles. Read something in English. Spend time in the English part of the internet. Use a language app. Find friends from abroad. Travel. Find English extra classes in your school or in your city. Sing. Listen to songs with understanding. Think and talk out loud in English. Do whatever you want, just do it in English and do not be afraid of it. Simple as that.
If you think you already learned something, you can do it and you can leave it behind because of this, let me tell you: you do not. It is not that simple. Our brain do not work like that. If you want to have any abilities you need to practice all the time, remind and repeat everything again and again, and again. It is not that easy to place information in your long-term memory and even if you finally will, you will need to perpetuate it all the time anyway. Our memory is tricky. If learning was easy, everybody would be Einstein.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF MISTAKES
Everybody does mistakes, but most people are embarrassed every time someone catches them by not doing something properly. The question is – why do we feel embarrassment? The truth is making mistakes is the best way of learning. We should start behaving like children. When children pronounce something wrong or write misspelled words and you correct them they don’t feel embarrassment. They nod and repeat how it should be said or write down the valid word. We do not have to know everything. A few years ago during a presentation on my English lesson, I said word “island” so improperly that my teacher had to lower my grade. And you know what? I think I will never forget how “island” should be pronounced. “All I know is that I know nothing”, right?
Learning and memorizing is a very complicated process. It takes a long time itself. Doing it improperly not only wastes your time but also because of not seeing effects annoys you and discourage you to further learning. So the best thing you can do for yourself is to sit and analyze your mistakes, understand what you can do better and make amendments to reality. It will allow you be more self-satisfied and learn English more effectively.