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EFT Lesson 1: How can we become better language learners?

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    • #9243

      communityadmin
      Keymaster

      Using the Associates examples to help you, write your own ideas for improving your English

      “One thing I did to help me learn English.”

      Use the modals you looked at in this lesson to give advice to other teachers.

      Post your ideas in a reply below and comment on other teachers’ ideas.

       

    • #9757

      Ruben Pignataro
      Participant

      One of the many things I did to learn English was writing down in class as much as I could of what my teachers were saying. I was fast taking notes, well, some were not notes…I just jotted down nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc., and then, at home, I revised my notes and tried to create links between them. I wrote possible sentences and showed them to my teachers waitig for their nod of approval.

      I think teachers today should try to have their learners taking notes, writing. Everything is photocopied, printed but too little is done by learners. They limit their writting to those “fill in the gaps” activities.

      Another thing that really helped me improve my pronunciation was listening to good music, and when I say good, I mean listening to singers with clear pronunciation, both male or female and from different backgrounds. Karen Carpenter (from The Carpenters), David Gates, Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins, among others, were some of my teachers. It would be a good idea to guide listening. There are now singers with excellent pronunciation but as they are not best sellers, they hardly appear on radio or TV stations. Teachers should try to bring students to music and orient some of their teaching to that of their interest.

      Reading the National Geographic Magazine was great input. The topics were more than interesting and the narration superb. Students should be devoted to the analysis of writing.

      There are many ways to become better learners of a language but none of them is good if we are not willing to learn.

       

       

      • #10168

        Hi Ruben!

        I like your last sentences: “There are many ways to become better learners of a language but none of them is good if we are not willing to learn”

        I think that this willingness to learn is what we are doing here. We are teachers but we want to continue learning and learning. This motivation for learning is what we should share with our students in order to make them understand that learning a language is a continuous strategy!

        I love the singers you mentioned and I must confess I listen to them, too!

        I like working with songs in the classroom. Sometimes I work with my students´preferences in singers but I also work with Queen, Beetles, among others 80s singers.

        Tere

    • #9779

      Thuy Hang Le
      Participant

      Each language learner has his /her own learning style. Talking about myself, I have been listening to BBC radio English programmes which vary in subjects, topics, aspects of culture and language for years . One of my favorite programmes is the World News especially the live radio/live broadcasts in which correspondents report on a particular subject from a foreign country. In fact, this programme keeps me updated if any news comes up. Besides this, I have got a chance to listen to authentic English and try to imitate some reporters’ British accent.

      Another thing I also enjoy doing is letting the cable TV in English on while doing some chores around the house. Without looking at the TV screen, I have to focus more on catching up with what is going on and predicting what will happen next. By doing this, I can develop my predicting and guessing as well as my listening for gists.

      With regard to reading , extensive reading plays an important role in increasing reading fluency.I ‘ve made good use of graded readers to read for pleasure and information. Attending or giving occasional mini-presentations of the books or book reviews helps increase motivation , enjoyment and a desire to read .

      Keeping record of what I am reading can encourage me and later on I can also recommend the books I have read to other friends.

      In short, becoming a better language learner depends a lot on each learner’s learning style, motivation, needa and wants as opinions vary from one person to another. However, in my view the most important factor to the success of language learning or becoming a better learner is motivation to learn. A language learner can hardly develop his/her language skills without motivation in foreign language learning.

    • #9784

      Steven Herder
      Participant

      @Ruben,

      Thank you so much for your post. I remembered something from long ago thanks to your ideas. I have been teaching for 30 years in Japan, at all levels, but currently teach at a woman’s university in Kyoto, Japan.

      I loved your idea about getting students to write down as much as possible. You are so right when you say that we give them so many prints and handouts, which are unfortunately very passive!

      The idea that I remembered was an activity called “Dictogloss”

      There are many sites that give examples and a lesson plan. Here is one example: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/dictogloss

      I also use https://lyricstraining.com/ on a computer or downloaded as an App for students. They ALWAYS love it.

      I hope you will continue to post and join us for a LIVE Webinar in English For Teachers (EFT)

    • #9793

      Ruben Pignataro
      Participant

      @Steven

      Dear Steven. Yes, it has been grate for me and I suggest my students to do so. I sometimes guide them to that but, the thing is, I’m quite old and so is the music I listen to. I make my best to be updated on music issues, you know, what is in and what is out, but lot of what teens like makes my ears bleed (Argentinean expression for a very ugly song or a very bad singer).

      I’ll give a try to those sites you suggest once I find time. These days of quarentine (COVID-19) find me working a lot on assignments to be sent and evaluated, all through my 14 inches window, the laptop.

      Keep in touch.

    • #9794

      Rosemere Bard
      Participant

      One thing that I did to help me learn English was choosing a time to study on a regular basis. That worked really nicely while I was learning English, and later Arabic when I lived in Egypt for a year.

      Now, I’m learning Chinese and this is the first thing I did to help me. Create a routine really helps me to keep progressing in a language.

      I also like to practice with lyrics. I choose a song I enjoy that is easy to hear and sing, like @Ruben mentioned in his post. Then, I copy the lyrics in the target language and study verse by verse. After understanding the lyrics, I practice reading it and listening and singing along. I also try to hear without the lyrics along the day to tune in my ears.

      I also agree with @Ruben about the importance of writing down. I prefer to implement activities that students can create and collaborate while negotiating. For instance, when they have to create a story together or they have to discuss a problem and come up with a solution.

      @Steven, dictogloss is a really nice activity.

      🙂 Rose

    • #9907

      Chuck Sandy
      Participant

      @Thuy Hang Le

      Thank you so much for your post and for sharing so many good ideas with us. I love that you keep cable news on in the background and listen to it while doing chores around the house. That’s a great idea. I also love the way you further engage with graded readers by sometimes writing reviews on the books you’ve read. Have you ever shared your reviews with others? You could publish them on social media (your own Facebook page for example) or on a blog that you create. You could also try writing reviews on a bookseller’s website.I think your reviews of graded readers would be very useful for other learners, and it might be motivating for you to know that your reviews are being read.

      I hope you will continue to post and join us for a LIVE Webinar in English For Teachers (EFT).

    • #9918

      Thuy Hang Le
      Participant

      @ChuckSandy

      Thanks so much for your suggestions and recommendations.In fact, I’ve shared some of my reviews with a group of  students at my university when we join the monthly speaking-English club . Due to Covid-19 pandemic, we have to shift to  teaching online so I have been using the Forum and Discussion on Blackboard  to share some comments/feedback on my students’ book  reports with them. We also have been involved in some interesting discussion topics which have been covered in certain texts,books we are supposed to read. It is really useful for shy,timid or reserved students to feel confident enough to express themselves in the target language and they really keep the discussion going.

      I think the idea of creating a blog is great so I may give it a try as you have suggested. I’m looking forward to joining you for a live Webinar in EFT.

       

    • #10015

      Budi Azhari Lubis
      Participant

      When I was young living in a small town where only few people could use any English, I used to use many things to help me learn the language. My curiosity grew bigger to English everyday. I started when my dad who could speak English took me to a small cinema in my town. I loved movies and I loved the actors. O mispronounced a local Indonesian actor’s name who was George. I pronounced as it was written. My dad said I was wrong.  I guess curiosity helped me kept being motivated. I used books, novels, songs or movies to learn English. I drilled the pronunciation everytime I found new vocabulary.

      People now can use more interesting media to learn  English. They can try listening or watching YouTube videos, Listening songs on Spotify or Joox, they can also listen to podcasts.

      We should be grateful with the advancement of technology and media.

      • #10132

        Hi Budi,

        Just read your brief student life that I relate to personally are the themes I tackle. Such a magical word “curiosity”, it is the beginning of our career as teacher of EFL, indeed. When I was a child, I was also taken to the cinema to watch films in English with subtitles in Spanish. As you can imagine, the first impressions for children to be exposed to the English language. Students should come into contact with comprehensible input since the early lessons. Teachers could try to set up the most meaningful environment to engage students and could feel part of the “film”.

    • #10021

      Ruben Pignataro
      Participant

      To all of you.

      I’m a bit lost at this time with the course. Although I know it is to start on May 16th, I see some lessons already posted starting from lesson 2. Is lesson 1 already posted and I have not seen it? Maybe lesson 1 is only the answer to the question “How can we become better language learners?”. Am I too anxious that I cannot wait until the 16th? Or am I running behind with the work?

      I´ll be pleased to have a comment. Thanks

      RubĂŠn (from Argentina)

      • #10045

        Hi Ruben,

        Thanks for your comment. We’re all excited about this course starting, too! Each lesson does have one question that gets posted in the forum, like this one. We hope that you’ll interact with other teachers in the forum for each lesson — read and comment on each other’s posts. This is Lesson 1 – it’s free for everyone. You’re welcome to do the other lessons in the module (2-5) although we won’t officially start until the 16th. This is the first time we’ve done this course, so if you can think of other things that you’d like to do in the course, please let us know. We are counting on feedback to help us improve!

         

    • #10079

      MONA HAFEZ
      Participant

      I started to be a better learner , when I was at the secondary school. I used to translate an essay extracted from news paper every day .  I used to take a small dictionary in my pocket every day . After a year , I started to translate quotations from literature and I built a rich hand written book of translated into English Arabic logins. Day after day my passion towards learning language became stronger .

      I started to study my master in teaching skills a year ago .

      • #10108

        @Mona, I’m impressed with your dedication! What sort of essays did you find the most interesting? Did you have a favorite genre of literature? I once thought I could improve my Japanese by reading novels, but didn’t write down translations, and soon gave up because it was so difficult. I found that I was most motivated to understand cookbooks and recipes in Japanese because I could do something with what I understood. To this day, my Japanese cooking vocabulary is probably better than my other reading skills.

        Do you still have your book of translations? What a great keepsake that would be. I’m not sure what you mean by English Arabic logins. Could you explain that a bit more?

        I’m really glad to see you in this course and look forward to learning together with you.

      • #10134

        Hi Mona Hafez,

        As you know, teachers never give up to learn new things. They are constantly adapting and improving their CPD. They are lifelong learners as are translators. Students should use a monolingual or bilingual dictionary for looking up the meaning or translation, checking the spelling, analyzing the plural of nouns or past tense of verbs, finding out grammatical information, etc.

        I think to become a competent translator they must be fluent in other languages apart from their mother tongue, choose a major of an area of expertise, take translation and interpreting lessons; get an internship, etc. They could gain more exposure to target languages and consequently more opportunities for improving their receptive and productive language skills.

    • #10089

      Branka Daceski
      Participant

      I watch movies without subtitles or, sometimes, with subtitles in English. I used to listen to songs in English and try to write down the lyrics. Nowadays it’s much easier, because you can find lyrics online. I think the way we used to do it was more helpful in learning languages, because, we had to LISTEN in order to write the lyrics, so in this way wer were developing our listening skills.

      Also, I read a lot on the internet, I think 80% of what I read online is in english. I read books in English, as well.

      • #10128

        Chuck Sandy
        Participant

        @Branka … It’s amazing what we did back in the days before the internet to learn a language. I remember those days well and like you tried to use -all- of the target language resources I had in all the ways I could in order to maximize my learning. I was lucky in that I had a part-time job in the language laboratory at my university so I could make myself a copy of the listening material we used in my German class so I could practice at home. I also remember students in the language lab listening to songs again and again in order to accurately write down the lyrics. Of course I did this, too. It some ways I kind of miss those days. Now of course it’s easy to find authentic materials on the internet no matter what language we might be studying. The problem is that there’s so much material that it’s sometimes hard for students to know what to read or which sites or apps to use to practice listening. Do you have any “go to” sites or apps that you use? What advice to you give your students about how to select materials to help them build English language listening and reading skills?

      • #10185

        Larissa
        Participant

        Hey, Branka. I did the same thing with the lyrics, too! It was so at the very beginning. What books do you read in English? Novels? I love reading and would love to share ideas with you, “exchange album pictures” as we say in Brazil

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by Larissa.
    • #10091

      Mariana Fernandez
      Participant

      At the time I started learning English we did not have internet and access to material was scarce. I remember I used to read all the activities in my books, even the instructions , repeat them all till I remembered them!!!Many times I wasn’t even sure about the real meanings but I was trying to incorporate them. I did not have good and enough exposure to authentic material till I was in the higher levels so pronunciation and listening was very hard to improve. I remembered once I had started teachers’ training college my teachers suggested I could try repeating the correct sounds in order to achieve good pronunciation,  I followed their advice and got it!I think we should help our students to find their own ways of incorporating the language since it’s different for each person and not everybody is concious about that!!

      Thanks for this opportunity

      Mariana(Argentina)

       

      • #10116

        Pronounciation is also very important! Listening and repeating is good practice.

      • #10130

        Chuck Sandy
        Participant

        @Mariana — As I wrote to Branka, I well remember those pre-internet days when authentic materials were difficult or even impossible to find. Although I do feel some nostalgia for those days, I’m so grateful that we live in an age now when it’s easy to find authenic materials and practice opportunities online — even apps which we can use to have students practice and check their pronunciation. Of course, we do need to make our students aware of these apps and practice opportunities and guide them in how best to use them. You say that “we should help our students to find their own ways ..” and I certainly agree with you. What advice do you give your students about how best to do this?

      • #10165

        Hi Mariana! A pleasure to meet you here!

        When we started learning English it was so hard to practise good pronunciation because as you said there weren´t as many resources as there are today. I remember using a cassette to listen and repeat! Now, we teachers have a wide range of resources to give and guide our students.

        We should show them how they can improve their English skills by using videos of people speaking English as  a homework.

        Practice makes perfect, so I always tell my students not to worry about mistakes, we learn from them but they should bear in mind that the more they practise the better they will improve!

        Bye!

    • #10102

      Vhanessa Barbosa
      Participant

      “One thing I did to help me learn English”

      Looking back to the days I was, out of my desperation to improve myself in communicating English. I was this always thinking and hoping how would I help myself out of this consciousness of the words and shyness to voice out my thoughts. I would actually tell myself to always do better cause everything matters – from the way I talk, and I perceive things. And as the time passes by, I find myself getting attached to the english movies I watch wherein I notice that I would imitate how the actors speak, including their accent, intonation and everything. Then, I eventually realized that I am sounding like them already wherein I cannot produce my own accent anymore. But, I didnt take that in a negative side. I still continue watching lots of movies. And it turns out that I needed to write down my thoughts cause imitating the language and how it sounds is not enough. So, I reflect to the morale I learned from the movies, or Im quoting a certain line said by a certain actor that gave me an impact. And from that, I would elaborate my insights about it.

      Not only that, ofcourse, when you really want to improve alot within, you would basically push yourself to your limits. Speaking, writing, viewing would not be that effective and helpful, without the proficiency to listen. Everyone should work out on this. By listening, we could share ideas, like in reading so we could write. What I did to help me gradually used my ear to absorb the language well is literally listening to speeches every night before I sleep. This isnt only helping me fall asleep easily but it makes my mind relax as well; gaining wisdom from the talks I am listening to.

      With these things, I helped myself learn more about English: how to use them in communication and in daily life.

      Bottomline, not only one thing that changed me, but what changed me had just started from one thing. 🙂

    • #10103

      Vhanessa Barbosa
      Participant

      How can we become better language learners?

      My answer to that question would be as simple as this:

      First, we improve our listening skills. We listen attentively. We admit that we missed something, and it’s okay. We dont listen for the sake of hearing, we listen to gain something relevant.

      Second, we observe our reading skills. We attend to every word we read; we comprehend; and we ponder on the meaning behind the words used to make sure that our imagination is working at the same time. This is when your creativity starts.

      Third, we take note of our viewing skills. We must be keen enough to observe everything in the scene or situation. Every single detail matters and we dont want to get behind of something.

      Last, we enhance our vocabulary to flourish our speaking ability. Learning to speaking is not enough. Fluency will not suffice your learning on English if you missed to apply accuracy.

      With these macroskills, I know we could be a better language learners.

      Thank you for having me here! I enjoy being a member of this.

       

      • #10183

        Larissa
        Participant

        I wish I was this methodic in my learning. Maybe if I reserve time for my own learning, I can come up with this level of awareness. the hardest for me is vocabulary, because to activate vocabulary we need a reason to and sometimes these situations don’t come by too often.

    • #10110

      @rubenpignataro These are all very good tips! Music and lyrics have helped me a lot with vocabulary as well!

    • #10112

      @steven Dictogloss sounds like a lot of fun!

    • #10113

      @vhanessa It is true that receptive skills are easier to work on and develop in the beginning – first the input of language and then the output.  Great advice!

    • #10114

      @Branka you could also try watchinga movie with English subtitles. This has helped me a lot!

    • #10115

      @Budi I agree, nowadays social media are a big help! When I learned English I only had dictionaries to help me learn!

    • #10118

      Vhanessa Barbosa
      Participant

      @Thuy I agree that every language learner has his/her own learning styles. All we need to do is to simply assess ourselves so that we would easily employ the techniques to make ourselves learn with our own ways.

    • #10119

      Vhanessa Barbosa
      Participant

      @Theodora I also watch movies with english subtitles. Even without it, I would really search for the subtitle then download it. Because by having this means, we only not enhance our viewing skills, but our listening and reading skills as well.

    • #10131

      One of the best experiences I have ever had in my student life was when I took a course of English in a school of language (1978-1980). Most of the teachers of that institution were near-native English speakers and some native speakers. Fortunately I have been exposed to plenty of input throughout my pre- and in service career. At the beginning I didn’t understand everything. I had to work hard by using a bilingual dictionary and looking through the listening transcripts at the back of the coursebook, which I recommend to my students nowadays.

      Regarding pronunciation, students would place keys over some letters (e.g. ei for a) and, one of most meaningful strategy for listening and speaking, singing songs. I had a small dry cell battery powered transistor radio and some song books (Funky Hits) in an attempt to imitate sounds and understand by hearing and reading. Students should try it.

      In addition, there are a huge amount of videos on internet (songs, films, talks, etc.) that students could work on their pronunciation and intonation by reading the subtitles in English, of course; which I really do watching TED talks up to now.

      • #10167

        Hi Victor!

        Ted talks are great for improving listening skills. When I watch them I pause the videos and I write down phrases that caught my attention or I want to focus on that pronunciation.

        Learning a language is a lifelong job. It is alive and it is changing all the time. We should be updated for our students to learn better!

        Tere from Argentina

    • #10136

      MONA HAFEZ
      Participant

      @Barbara, I’m so glade to hear from you that my experience got your attention and I can’t wait to start the live sessions and learn from you great inspiring teachers .

      I mean by logins : traditional old sayings like in some how proverbs and folk idioms in English .I have a little relation to English literature , as I studied about the history of English civilization for few months during the period of academic study in faculty of education  . I used to translate the writings of The egyptian writer and novelist Anis Mansour  who used to write for AL Ahram the egyptian news paper .

      I’m looking forward to learning and improving my skills in  English language since i;m a teacher for young learners and i meet much difficulty to help them love the language and be familiar with it

    • #10166

      I must say that it was very hard for me learning English. I started learning this language at the age of 12. My teacher never spoke English. She taught us about grammar by using our mother tongue. That´s the reason I think I can read and write very well but I can´t speak it as I would like to. Then, as I grow up I started finding ways to improve my listening and speaking skills. I listened to English song, I wrote the lyrics and I tried to sing while I was reading.

      Now, our students have a great opportunity to improve their skills by using the internet. There, we can find and share a lot of resources for them and us to improve!

      Tere

      • #10184

        Larissa
        Participant

        I believe this is a frequent scenario in South America: grammar and reading but no actual practice using the language or even saying the words out loud. It was like that for me at school in Brazil. I started actually speaking English when I got into college and I felt so out of place but then I knew I had to make up for the things I did not learn at home. Particularly in the speaking part.

    • #10169

      Mariana Fernandez
      Participant

      @Theodora, Hi!!!Yes, I agree with you that pronunciation is important, it’s what makes listening and speaking understandable  and possible. Depending on where you are from it might mean something easy or hard. Spanish speaker find it really hard to incorporate some sounds, our language is a phonetic one, our “h” is silent, we have only 5 vowel sounds, so you can imagine it’s quite a challenge!!!

    • #10170

      Mariana Fernandez
      Participant

      @ChuckSandy, hey there!Thanks for writing!I have been an online teacher of English for several years and I incorporated technology in my classes many years ago, my students use tablets and mobile phones, apps and websites in the classroom and for homework!!So you can imagine how I love this new technological moment much more than our time without internet!I find most enriching and inclusive!

      I very much believe we first need to create a bond with our students , help them feel comfortable with the target language and then we can move on to start talking. I consider speaking the most important skill to achieve so I encourage my students to do so without worrying about mistakes, they find that quite hard, that’s the moment to show them some tools and help them to have a growth mindset that will allow them to work more freely!!

      I hope you also have some more ideas!!

      Mariana

      • #10175

        Chuck Sandy
        Participant

        @Mariana Fernandez – Thanks so much for writing and welcome to this course! It’s great to have you with us. Yesterday I was reading an article which was mostly about how many classroom teachers who are new to online teaching are having trouble truly connecting with ther students. I was wondering what advice you would give to these teachers. How do you create a bond with your online students?

    • #10171

      Mariana Fernandez
      Participant

      @Vhanessa, Hi!, I understand what you say about the order of the different skills acquisition but without confidence first I believe all skills are more difficult to achieve. So what I recommend first is to create bond with our sts, by using games, drama, songs, or even just by talking freely with those whose level is a bit higher. Once they feel they are at ease fluency is what comes after, regardless of any mistakes they can make, the point of learning a language is to communicate and as long as that is achieved accuracy can be left for later. I’ve seen people talking with mistakes and understanding each other perfectly well. Of course grammar correction and accurate vocabulary is better but many times if you focus a lot there sts might get frustrated, don’t you think!

      Nice meeting you!

      Mariana

    • #10172

      Mariana Fernandez
      Participant

      @Maria Teresa, Hi Tere!!Nice to see you here!!!Happy to be sharing this other course with you!!We surely had some hard times in the past when we were students of English!!And look at us now!!We are teachers!And we are living in a world that offers much more possibilities in connection with information and variety of resources!!

      I love learning and I’m very happy for this other possibility!!

      See you

      Mariana

    • #10177

      Pravita Indriati
      Participant

      I learned English from many different sources even before I started learning it formally at school because when I was young, we started learning English in Junior High School. I listened to a lot of English songs that my elder sister introduced me to. I acquired lots of vocabulary and pronunciation from there. Back when I was in Elementary school, I joined the pen pal foundation, called IYS (International Youth Service), writing letters to friends from different countries helped boosting my writing skills. I also liked playing computer games and I didn’t mind if the language not in Bahasa Indonesia, as it helped me to develop my English.

      To those of you who want to develop your English, you could try things I did, like listening to English songs, corresponding with people around the world, and playing games, especially the hidden objects games. The other thing I also suggest my students is, you could also try watching movies without the translated subtitles, not only you will acquire more vocabulary, structures, and also pronunciation.

      One more thing, if you want to succeed, stay curious, persistent, optimistic, and enthusiastic!

      – Indrie –

    • #10178

      Pravita Indriati
      Participant

      I learned English from many different sources even before I started learning it formally at school because when I was young, we started learning English in Junior High School. I listened to a lot of English songs that my elder sister introduced me to. I acquired lots of vocabulary and pronunciation from there. Back when I was in Elementary school, I joined the pen pal foundation, called IYS (International Youth Service), writing letters to friends from different countries helped boosting my writing skills. I also liked playing computer games and I didn’t mind if the language not in Bahasa Indonesia, as it helped me to develop my English.

      If you want to develop your language skills, another thing I also suggest my students is, you could also try watching movies without the translated subtitles, not only you will acquire more vocabulary, structures, and also pronunciation.

      One more thing, if you want to succeed, stay curious, persistent, optimistic, and enthusiastic!

      – Indrie –

    • #10179

      Budi Azhari Lubis
      Participant

      Hi Indri,

      I definitely agree with you that curiosity, persistence, optimism and enthusiasm are the keys to success. Despite different challenges people face either they live in big cities or small ones, If they don’t want to start and run it, it might never be a reality.

      Using entertainment media such as games, movies, songs surely enhance motivation and improve the skills. Nothing is  impossible if we want to try and keep learning.

      Budi

    • #10180

      Budi Azhari Lubis
      Participant

      @Theodora. I also began to have a dictionary when I was in college.  since At home,back then, we didn’t have CD player or DVD player to play any videos, I relied on watching TV, trying to catch up some words. When I heard a word, I wrote on a special book( I called it special because All new  words that I saw or read would be written there). I brought that note book when I went places. I would try to translate the words( by guessing mostly) and tried to pronounced them. That’s history , but I always use the story to motivate my students.

      people should do better than people in learning English due to improvement of technology.

      Budi

    • #10182

      Larissa
      Participant

      <h3 style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, sans-serif; font-weight: 500; line-height: 1; color: #282828; margin: 24px 0px; font-size: 1.8rem; -webkit-font-smoothing: antialiased; clear: none; padding: 0px;”><span style=”color: #121617; font-family: ‘Open Sans’, ‘Helvetica Neue’, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;”>One of the things I always do to improve my English is reading and listening as much as I can. I used to read lots of fanfics to get a better sense of informal language. I confess I don’t always study grammar in itself, only when I notice something that does not seem quite right or that I have never faced before. Then, TV series and movies helped me a lot with the listening and noting things like gestures, tone of voice, how to articulate connected speech. In the role of a teacher, planning lessons makes us double check what we think we know in terms of pronunciation, grammar and sometimes in the process of trying make something easier for our students we end up learning something ourselves. The speaking part is a little hard in Brazil, not many people speak English and even in the school environment, they resist speaking English outside class, so there is a bit of talking to myself and repeating things as I listen (music, sentences, etc.)</span></h3>

    • #10188

      Larissa
      Participant

      One of the things I always do to improve my English is reading and listening as much as I can. I used to read lots of fanfics to get a better sense of informal language. I confess I don’t always study grammar in itself, only when I notice something that does not seem quite right or that I have never faced before. Then, TV series and movies helped me a lot with the listening and noting things like gestures, tone of voice, how to articulate connected speech. In the role of a teacher, planning lessons makes us double check what we think we know in terms of pronunciation, grammar and sometimes in the process of trying make something easier for our students we end up learning something ourselves. The speaking part is a little hard in Brazil, not many people speak English and even in the school environment, they resist speaking English outside class, so there is a bit of talking to myself and repeating things as I listen (music, sentences, etc.)

    • #10191

      Alessandra Spagna
      Participant

      Hello to all of you! I have been reading all your comments and taking notes of all your ides and suggestions and I find them really interesting, Thank you! I have noticed that maybe some of us are older that 30 ( or 40:-) years old and our learning process has been ( I do have to say this) rough and difficult sometimes because back in the 80ies and 90ies we did not have so much English material around and we do now. I remember going to a big town just to buy English magazines that could possibly have some articles about pop groups that I loved at the time. Probably, because we did not have so much we used to treasure what we could find, keep it and maybe read it or listen to it over and over.

      One thing that I noticed in many of your posts and I have to say I agree with you on this, is that motivation strives us to do better and to work harder. It is hard sometimes to nourish our motivation as learners because we are so busy as teachers trying to motivate other that we lose the focus on ourselves. This quarantine period has allowed me to re-center and try to do something for me, something to improve my knowledge of English  not necessarily to use it in my classes ( I teach to young teenagers and sometimes the English is very basic), but just for the pleasure of learning a language.

      I think that doing it with a community ( this is my first time of doing this) could be enjoyable and useful as well.

      Ok, now I need to find out how to comment directly under a participant’s post!

      • #10204

        Claudia Andrade
        Participant

        That is true @Alessandra! Motivation strive me to take part in a conversation group with other teachers who need to practice, we join in Zoom 3 times a week to talk about different issues. The moderator is a local teacher (Guayaquil, Ecuador) who plans to take the CAE exam and she created the group for that purpose, it is really fun and enjoyable because we find a moment to something else and distract us from hard times.

    • #10193

      Hryhorii
      Participant

      Hi. The thing that helps me became a good learner is reading. The texts I adore the most are Bible texts. It is not difficult for me to discipline myself to read them regularly.

    • #10194

      Branka Daceski
      Participant

      I wrote a long reply the other day, but it’s not here… 🙁

    • #10203

      Claudia Andrade
      Participant

      Dear colleagues:

      In my opinion, we can become better language learners through reading different kinds of texts. I live in Ecuador and here we do not use English a lot except in touristic places. Therefore, I consider that reading gives us lot of vocabulary and this is the reason for which I always suggest my students to read, read, and read.

      Another thing language learners should do is to write, starting by short statements or phrases but it is important to write especially when there are not people to practice with. I used to have a small notebook where I recorded all the new words I found in different readings, I wrote a short meaning and a sentence to remember how to use it. Nowadays, I use a digital dictionary and bookmark all the words that I found interesting and make digital cards to play alone or invite my husband to play with me.

      I’m not working at the moment because my school decided to reduce the number of teachers because of COVID-19; therefore, I continue reading to learn more words. Also, I watch movies without subtitles and sing songs; these are tips that I used to share with my students too.

      Regards,

      Claudia

    • #10282

      Ruben Pignataro
      Participant

      María, where are you from in Argentina? I´m from Corrientes but I live in Entre Ríos now.

    • #10283

      Ruben Pignataro
      Participant

      @Chuck Sandy; @ Mariana Fernandez. Having the radio on and doing other activities while listening to it without paying attention helped me tune my ears.

      To understand better the different pronunciations I used to record without being noticed, people speaking in the streets, in the buses and even the cashier in the supermarket. Once at home I played the old cassettes and made my best to understand every single word and copied, copied the phrases, copied the pronunciation, the intonation and looked for patterns.

      Again, willingness piloted my learning. Not any outsider, neither a teacher nor my tutors. Just the will.

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