I am sure this post will be useful not only for learners but also for teachers who care about learner’s autonomy and learning strategies. It is important for students to be aware of the fact that reaching their goal–learning to speak English fluently–to a great extent depends on their personal effort rather than communication with a teacher. Let me explain why.
Language exists in a natural environment: people’s interactions, films, literature, music, etc. What a teacher can do is to enable a learner to be exposed to it in different forms and to teach how to acquire the language in the most effective way. No more that that. A teacher can not watch films for his/her students, or talk for them, or do other things that learners are supposed to be doing themselves every day.
That said, in this post I’d like to share with you some tips how to create such an immersive environment every day. It is important to stress “every day”, as otherwise the result can not be guaranteed. Most of what you are going to read now is quite common knowledge, but for some reason people fail to remember these essential things.
So, what is important is just to develop the following habits:
Habit 1: read something every day. Actually, it is easy–just check the current news or information you are interested in not only in your native language but also on English websites. By the way, there is a list of sources in one of my previous posts.
Habit 2: have something to listen to or to watch. If you are on the move all the time, podcasts are the best solution. Here is the link to mine. If you are more of a home person, there is YouTube, Netflix and other services and platforms for you to find what suits your interests best.
Habit 3: have something to write. Seemingly not so easy to do. Write to whom? Who is going to read it? First, there are comments on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook groups. I am sure you can always find some reason to strike a conversation or take part in an ongoing discussion. You can also practice writing as a skill, for example, creating an essay. In this case it will be harder, because it is better if someone checks your works. However, there are some smart apps now that can help you partially with that–Grammarly or ProWritingAid. Check them out–they are really not bad.
Habit 4: have something to say. People often complain it is hard to find partners for speaking. Is it? I am sure if you put in some effort you can find someone on the Internet in no time for that. And don’t forget that speaking is realised not only as a dialogue, but as a monologue as well. Give yourself a monologue speech on topics of your interest with vocabulary or grammar you are learning. Monologue is as natural as dialogue, so it is absolutely fine.
I hope with that post I have managed to shed some light on facts that you definitely know, but which always “slip away” and need to be reminded about from time to time. Looking forward to your feedback and comments. What are you doing to maximise exposure to English living in a non-English speaking country?