“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” _ W.B. Yeats _
It is common knowledge that language proficiency is not something you can achieve overnight. It takes time, practice, and commitment in order to become fluent in any language. However, learning step-by-step patiently and doing a lot of exercises does not necessarily assure mastery. Many beginners do not make any improvement and find themselves stuck right from the beginning of a long period.
This is the reason why newcomers need specific learning approaches and strategies to push themselves to the next level quickly and effectively.
Leonardo Da Vinci once said: “Learning never exhausts the mind.” That is right, especially when it comes to brand new things like learning a foreign language, you should also adopt new studying methods that fit within your capabilities. So, today, we are going to discover 7 things that you should stop and start doing to take a step forward to language mastery. Let’s waste no more time and enjoy the lesson!
1.Stop jumping from one language learning method to another constantly
There is an acronym called F.O.C.U.S, which stands for “follow one course until success”. It means that you should do research into different learning approaches, then make a decision on your favorite one. But you had better be careful while doing this. A lot of people look for the best option or a better choice continually that eventually lead to nowhere, plus, a complete waste of time and effort! Therefore, sometimes, all you need to do is simply pick a course and go with it. Trust me, the last thing you would want is to be packed with hundreds of methods and couldn’t make up your mind. With that time wondering uselessly, you might have learned tons of new exciting knowledge!
Stop digging for the next best option! Make a choice and stick to it!
2. Stop learning language only in school.
Obviously, it is not wrong to take language lessons at school. It is totally fine. However, you may realize that listening to mundane theories about a language, or doing the same type of exercises all over will not help you become fluent in English for the real world. To have a natural flow of speaking, you should dive head-first into a situation involved using mostly English. At schools, you do not stand many chances of gaining access to the language because your fellow friends whom you communicate with every day are not native speakers, neither your teacher. Hence, only receiving language lessons in official school is not enough to be coherent.
You may expand and create more environments where you can use it every minute. Sure, the most effective way is to move to the country you are learning the language; nevertheless, it is not as easy as it sounds. Unless you are extremely rich, you can not just move to every country to have real experiences of the language. But don’t stress your mind! These days, there are tons of ways to be attached to a language, even at home. You can follow popular personalities or your favorite artists on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, etc. Another idea is to join some groups which are made up of native speakers, make friends and talk to them. If you are an extrovert, and a regular outsider, you should go out in the real world, seek for foreigners in your place and ask for a conversation.
Immerse yourself in the language that you are learning!
3. Abandon the thoughts that you will become fluent only by watching movies with subtitles.
First thing first, we are not saying that you should stop using movies as a means of studying. What we want you to get rid of is the ideology that solely watching films could help you 100%. It is a fun thing to do, and does improve your listening, even pronunciation abilities or motivates you to your learning goal. However, merely listening to movies will not give you the ability to speak the language out loud. In order to speak English, you have to speak English. It may sound absurd, but you should actively use the skills that you both already know and want to develop. For example, you have just learned thirteen basic tenses in English at school. You should not leave them behind as a boring written knowledge, but you should use them to make your own sentences. Then, first, speak aloud alone. Next, try to apply them into daily conversations with family and friends. Don’t be shy or feel ashamed because you have not spoken the language properly yet. As we said, it takes time!
So, let’s keep watching movies but stop thinking that it will make you advanced at English!
4. Not every learning tip you hear is necessarily true
When you study a language online, there are a variety of learning resources and materials which provide detailed information on learning tactics, and available courses. But you have to start realizing that not all of them are truly valuable and helpful. Some of them may not be correctly written by qualified teachers or experts; thus, you are likely to misuse those resources. Do your research! Be selective and choose reputable materials. Make sure that you are learning from an experienced teacher, a good website, or a helpful podcast. This is of paramount importance so as not to obtain wrong information.
It is advisable that you go in for official learning resources and documentaries such as The Guardians or BBC Learning English.
Stop accepting that anything you hear on the internet is true. Be a wise language learner!
5. Stop relying on “fill in the blank” exercises or quizzes to become fluent.
Like watching movies, doing quizzes is an interesting way of learning a language, yet it is far from making you fluent. Mastering these tasks may help you get good grades at examinations or test your knowledge of an aspect in English, whether it is grammar, vocabulary, or listening. Again, doing exercises only can not give a hand in reaching fluency. In order to attain it, you must actually be able to speak English. Now, the real question is if not either “fill in the blank” or quizzes, then what? You can improve your abilities as well as your memory by creating your own sentences or even a short story combining all the new vocabularies. By this method, you can make good use of your brain and your thinking rather than repeatedly doing the same kind of exercises like multiple choice questions or “fill in the blank”. Many people say that they have an extraordinarily good academic performance at schools, but in fact, can not properly form a complete sentence in English. This is because you have been too dependent on these exercises.
Knowledge without practice is forever stuck in papers.
6. Put an end to all the repetitive drills!
Let make this clear first. “Drill” is an activity that practices a particular skill and often involves repeating the same task several times so that you could be more familiar with it. For example, you may be asked to do a grammar drill by your teacher in which you have to memorize the definitions or formulas such as I am, he/she is, they are, etc. Right, it may do a great job of making you remember, but it has nothing to do with your communication and speaking abilities. Memorization does not equal fluency; therefore, stop with the drills and start using English creatively. As we mentioned above, creating your examples, sentences, or situations is an incredibly creative approach towards language learning. You might want to write them down on your notebook first, then say it out loud until you feel like you can speak automatically without thinking and translating in your head.
Drills may not be as attractive as trying something new, right?
7.Stop translating every sentence in your head or on paper
This is a useful language learning tip. Almost every beginner has once been through this stage of study where he tried to translate what he was going to say from his native language to English and back every time. This act will slow you down and, worst of all, not be helpful. Translation is really unhealthy for communication because there are a lot of phrases and ideas that can not be fully understood while translating into another language. So, what happens when you try to? Saying something funny or simply sharing an idiom from your mother tongue in English, and it just does not make sense. What is more, it might cause a very awkward moment. And of course, you will never want this to happen.
Stop translating in your head and start observing how English speakers use the language and express their ideas. If you want to sound like a native, you must understand the way they speak and convey their meaning or study like a native. Use authentic materials meant for native speakers of the language you are studying for. For instance, instead of using an online bilingual dictionary, you can purchase a monolingual dictionary such as Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Cambridge Dictionary, or maybe just a textbook that is all in English. It is okay if you can not understand some words initially but be patient, and look them up.
Above are 7 best ways to become fluent at a language fast, and we can see a theme here is to stop learning in the traditional way, start using and speaking the language. Let be a smart learner, and be determined with your decision.
If you are looking for detailed advice about valuable learning tactics, and further information about a useful app called Lingoda, make sure you check out this video. Link down below!
Hope you had a great time learning the lesson!
Goodbye, and see you on other topics.