When I was at school, a lot of people complimented me for my English proficiency. Sometimes I got asked, “How do you manage to speak so fluently in English? How can I be like you?”
I never really knew how to answer that questions because to me, learning English was just as natural as learning other subjects, like Mathematics or Geography. So, I was thinking, how can I help other people who have the same questions?
And then it struck me. What motivated me to learn English was that I was interested in the language. I love learning English.
I realised that some people around me perceived English as a scary subject, something that they could never be good at. This is where the first barrier is. By looking at it from a different perspective, we are allowing ourselves the chance to learn.
Keep in mind that learning is a process. We could be successful at one point and then facing difficulties afterwards. The result might not always be linear (always good), as shown in the meme below.
The first step towards improving our English is liking what we are learning. If you find textbooks to be too formal, you can look at popular sources, like movies, songs, memes, or other internet contents. Of course, this should also come with a mindset that popular sources might not be correct, so textbooks and dictionaries are always handy.
Secondly, we should practice what we have learned. All skills will become rusty (not as good as they used to be) if we never use them. Make time to practice, either by reading, speaking, listening, or writing.
My favourite method when I was at school was speaking in English to my classmates who were also interested in learning English. I also attended English courses twice a week.
Third, we have plenty of resources to use in our learning process. Now, I acknowledge that I had quite a privilege because my interests in English were started and then nurtured by my parents who wanted me to succeed.
But, luckily, the internet has now become a lot more powerful than how it used to be when I was at school. Google, YouTube, and other social media platforms have given us an unlimited access to learn anytime at our convenience.
@sarishara: whatever it is, when you decide to learn a foreign language, don’t be afraid to make mistakes & practice it every day. Importantly, don’t take personally what other’s assumption about your learning journey, some people might think you act pretentious. Just keep going, don’t stop
The last but not the least, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Don’t worry about what other people say about your learning process, unless it’s a constructive feedback. If you want to learn something, no one can stop you.
Some more useful tips from our Twitter followers:
@sarishara: This is my personal experience, I thought self-learning is difficult and frankly, quite lonely. Somehow, I think it would be easier if you learn a foreign language with some friends and having moral support is really matter. It’s beyond joy when you able to reach the goals.
@sshaikhsohil: Best way is to talk with people who speak English well. It doesn’t matter if it’s audio or video call. This makes you think and sometimes when you come new vocabulary it’s easier to know the meaning in context for that particular situation.
@tangerineeye: I play online games so I can talk with people all around the world
@dinomyno: I like to talk in english with myself when I’m alone. It helps me to boost my confidence bcs I’m still shy to talk in english with other people.
@mrivaldi__: My personal experienced to learn english is from music. When i was kid ( 3 sd kalo ga salah ) , my cousins had luar negri songs. Then, i determined to menghapal the lyrics, bcs i really want to sing well. Until now, i love (and still learn) english.
@MissGanis_RIS: Things have changed.. Now kids in some private schools are taught using English for Math, Science, Social studies…They don’t go to courses anymore
@NituYumnam: What’s one valuable piece of advice you received as a student? A professor, owning a collection of encyclopedias and dictionaries, in the 1980s advised:
– Just learn one word a day, refer to dictionaries for its definitions, including its part of speech, word formation, and origin.
– Make a journal. Relate the word with things/people around you, be creative and write a meaningful sentence out of it.
– Show your work to your teacher/parents on a daily basis for approval, correction, and praise.
– Engage those words in your writings at school and verbal communication when applicable.
If this method/practice is adopted by a pupil at an early age, the child would learn 365 words by the end of a year, and over the years, he/she would have learned numerous words when adult. Plus, the enormous amount of knowledge he/she would have gained over the years—you can very well imagine the benefits of this pattern by yourself.
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