TIP #7- FIND YOURSELF A GREAT TEACHER
The truth is that if you’re determined to learn, there’s absolutely nothing, not even a bad teacher, that could stop you. However, finding the right person to guide you through the process of learning a foreign language will definitely make the whole experience better, faster and more rewarding.
Before you start looking
Before you start looking for a teacher make sure you know what you want to obtain by having these lessons - in other words, set yourself achievable goals.
Also, think about the frequency of your classes. Do you want to have them once, twice a week or even more often. But be realistic here. We all tend to be over enthusiastic in the beginning. Rome wasn’t built in a day; do not take on too much because the result may be disappointing. You will get tired, overwhelmed and in the end unmotivated to continue your venture.
Another thing to consider is how much you are willing to pay. Learning a language is an investment so don’t play a scrooge here. And while you do not wish to spend a fortune here either, remember if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
Where to find a teacher?
There are heaps of adds available on the Internet these days. And even though it might be a good idea to go through them at some point, you will be better off asking your friends or family for any recommendations first.
Next, shortlist your candidates and contact them all before you make your decision. Take notes during these talks - they can help you to decide on the right teacher later on.
If a teacher offers a trial lesson, take advantage of this option. I personally don’t believe in trial lessons but I always have a short (20-30 min) interview with a potential student. This allows me to find out more about the person and design a course that meets their needs. For a student it’s a great opportunity to get to know me a bit and ask the questions about the course.
Online or not online? - that’s a question!
I only teach online and naturally my opinion may be a bit biased here. But my advice would be to check before you say no. If you have never had online classes before you cannot possibly know if they’re for you or not. Stay open-minded. There’re tons of excellent online teachers and who knows maybe you will find your gem as well.
Final advice-choose your teacher wisely
Choose a teacher who specializes in your area of interest, a teacher who has experience and still wants to develop in this field. Do not under any circumstances opt for the one who specializes in everything - children, business, exam preparations, online - you name it. No, the truth is that if one specializes in everything, they actually specialize in nothing.
Wishing you all the best of luck in finding the right teacher.
LEARNING TIP #6
How to improve your writing?
If you want to improve your writing you need to ... read more!!!!
Yes, you heard me me alright.
You will not improve your writing by writing more. You need to spend more time with well-written texts- make notes of interesting collocations and structures and then try to apply them into your writing.
Think before you speak.
Read before you write :)
Learning TIP #5
How many times have I heard a student saying:
”Well, I don’t know but, I guess it doesn’t work for me.”
“I was so busy last week that I couldn’t do the task.”
I usually hear these kind of excuses from the lazy and sloppy ones. And in all honesty, I can tell you that I hardly ever hear them from conscientious, hardworking and … yes, successful students.
Consistency is a key to success; especially in learning a foreign language. Think how you obtained your mother tongue. How many times you heard a word from your parents; how many times you repeated it and how many times you failed in getting your message across.
And yes, you’re right saying that we acquire our first language differently to a foreign one. But, in both cases, there’s a lot of repetition involved. It might be a repetition of single words or chunks of them; shorter or longer utterances.
Diligence can do wonders. Do a bit; but do it every day! Don’t procrastinate, don’t wait for your deadline and stop making poor excuses to your teacher and to YOURSELF.
Keep on keeping on every day; be diligent in your work and I can guarantee you will see your results.
LEARNING TIP #4
I can’t imagine doing anything successfully without setting a goal at the first place.
For many people knowing the English language is a goal. But this is not enough for the whole process of learning a language.“Knowing” is ambiguous. What does it mean that you want to know English? Does it mean that you want to be able to communicate effectively or does it mean that you want to read, understand and recite Shakespearean poems or be able to write and understand legal agreements?
We’re all different, and we have different needs and priorities. That’s why our learning goals also should be different. But first of all, no matter what they are, we need to understand that setting them is imperative to our success as language learners. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of learning.
How to set your goals then?
First of all, they need to be realistic and specific. If you have been a learner for a long time you’re probably aware of your learning style and pace - use this information to your advantage. For example, if you know that learning 50 new words usually takes you about 3 hours, and you can spare 1 hour a week on learning new vocabulary - setting a goal of learning 200 new words in a month might be a daunting challenge. On the other hand, learning 20 new words in a month, would not be a challenge for you at all.
So, my idea is to write down your learning priorities- vocabulary, language structures etc that you would like to know in a year time. Then, every month set a different goal - but make it measurable, specific and realistic.
Plan your progress and boost your motivation by setting and achieving the right goals.
March- learn 50 phrasal verbs
(by the end of March - I will know 50 phrasal verbs - I will be able to write them correctly, pronounce them correctly and use them in sentences- I will use my Quizlet set to practise them, and on 31.03 I will take a final test)
April - watch 3 movies in English without subtitles
May - learn 10 new words for the things that you have in a bathroom
June - write 1 email every week and ask somebody to proofread it
Learning Tip #3
I believe the need to have a grammar book will come sooner or later. And the sooner it comes, the better!
We all like to be engaged in communicative activities and leave the boring grammar behind. But truth be told - such an approach seems to be a bit deceptive.
We need grammar to communicate effectively and we need grammar to be more confident in our communication. I know that doing grammar exercises might not necessary be your cup of tea. But ... there's no other way! Learning a language is fun, but it is also hard work. As they say - "No pain, no gain". It's high time you got yourself a good grammar book.
* I personally recommend the Grammarway series - have a look here.
Learning Tip #2
Handwriting is is an effective way of training the brain.
It involves visual perception and motor function and as a result it activates the information for memory retention. At the top of that handwriting is an important memory tool for learning afterwards – you can Increase your memory by as much as 70 percent when you go through your notes within 24 hours.
You can arrange your notes by using mind maps to help you remember facts. This is an excellent way of visualizing how various bits of information fit into a general structure.
Learning Tip #1
Twitter is excellent for learning English.
You can create your account quickly under any kind of nickname you want.
And you can start following people or organisations whitin your scope of interest - of course with tweets in English.
When sth grabs your attention you can follow the link and read more.
But more than often, you read small chunks of everyday language - which helps you to sustain your level.
I truely recommend to give Twitter a go, even if you are not into social media at all.
Written by Agnieszka Kansy