During an English class, you need to feel good, so a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere is an absolutely must. As emotional intelligence guru Dan Goleman says: “When we are relaxed, it’s easier to achieve the most productive state of mind.“
During your homework, try to repeat new words and phrases out loud. Maybe imagine yourself as an actor or actress, practising in front of a mirror!
Control articulation and learn to be natural with new language staff. When starting a course, do some recordings and then compare these with your language status after a month or two. People like me are always happy seeing progress and making sure they are on the right path.
It’s better to take small, but sustained, steps. Find 15 minutes every single day to reflect on your most recent class or to learn new vocabulary.
Have a concrete purpose. For example, one of my students had an ambition to work in Dubai, so his goal was to be able to negotiate his dream job interview in perfect English. And his motivation was so powerful that after 50 hours of classes, that student started to speak fluently! When this goal was achieved, he immediately set his sights on another one. English helped this student to move forward and get a better paid and more inspiring job.
Reading books in English is usually helpful for your vocabulary. But if you want to be good in conversation, special effort is required. So, talk to strangers on the street or in a pub, especially when you are in an English-speaking country. If you break free of your comfort zone, miracles can happen. As they say in English: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
Sometimes, it’s difficult to escape from and get rid of the obstacles to fluency, so it would be great to practise with someone supportive (like all our teachers) from the very beginning. Never underestimate your own courage and inner strength, and give yourself a pat on the back for all your efforts!
Keeping your diary in English (preferably hand-written) will help enormously, allowing the brain to familiarise itself with the new patterns which attend learning a foreign language.
Celebrate even the smallest success. Give yourself credit for every little bit of progress you have made each and every day, however minor and apparently insignificant. It may have been just 15 minutes of English vocabulary, but such things represent tiny triumphs.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes when speaking or writing. As George Bernard Shaw once remarked: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
In summary, to maximise progress you must think in English, comment in English, discuss in English; Englishmania is to be encouraged! The more you use my suggested techniques, the more proficient you will become.
Text: Sofia Zigmund, LOS Consultant & Journalist
Images: Gabriel Clark, LOS Consultant & Clark and Miller Co-founder