I'm Confused About Where to Start!
So, you have decided to learn English, have you? That's excellent! Well done! It's a fantastic choice, and so important in this fast-moving technological world. Everyone is communicating in English online these days, but where is the best place to start learning the language, you ask yourself? Well, relax and don't be confused any longer, as you have come to the right place!
This blog article will help you create a set of daily principles to really improve your English fast. So, let's start with Tip number 1:
Tip 1 - Wake up Thinking in English!
That's right! If you really want to learn a language quickly, the first step is to think in that language from the moment you wake up. Imagine opening your eyes, or waking up, to the sound of your favourite English song as the alarm clock tone on your smartphone. You reach over to switch it off, or snooze it, and then you open up your app which gives you a motivational phrase every day, in English. You have already completed the first two tasks in English: listen to and read something in English.
Hold on! Not so fast! You are not going to improve your English quickly by listening to 30 seconds of a song in English, or reading a sentence in English. However, if you spend just 5 minutes in the morning to read something in English and listen to something at the same time, you will improve your skills very quickly.
So, what can you do to practise reading and listening at the same time? First of all, you need to find something that interests you. It is no use reading something that you find mind-numbingly boring. So, get into reading something that you are passionate about.
Secondly, try to find something to read within 5 minutes of taking the decision to practise reading. Why? Because your attention span will deteriorate very quickly and you will soon find yourself looking at your social media profile.
So, I suggest that you go to an online news website and find an article which is based on an alternative topic to the articles in the current affairs section. For example, something about health, travel, technology, fashion or culture. It is important that the article will captivate your attention and desire to read. So, look for a catchy headline. Take 5 minutes to skim-read the article, then read it again for detail, looking up about 5-10 words in an online English dictionary: it is best to avoid using a translation application, but read the English definition.
Tip 2 - Talk to Yourself in the Shower! ("Are you Crazy?" - No Hear me out!)
I must admit, I heard this from a TED speaker who spoke about 12 languages fluently. He said something like this:
If you don't have anyone who you can practise the language you are learning, practise with yourself. What do I mean by this? Have a controlled conversation with yourself, which is a conversation containing words and phrases which you know are correctly structured, because the source didn't come from you. It could be from a film script, a language learning website, or simply an interview with a celebrity. You can practise this script in the shower, in front of the mirror as you prepare yourself for the day, or between mouthfuls of your cornflakes. This is how I learnt to speak 12 languages fluently. So, I can guarantee that it works!
When I have presented this to my learners, the general reaction is that it is a little strange, but come back to me when you have tried it and then tell me what you think. I have tried it in three languages that I am learning, and it really works. So before you judge this valuable tip, I suggest you try it for at least a week.
Tip 3 - Write Something Deep and Meaningful Every Day
So, this is probably the hardest tip to execute on a daily basis, but I have intentionally left it until the end, as it is definitely the most important if you want to learn to communicate effectively in English, or in any language to that effect. Why is this tip so important? Because we do not write any more, for a start. We type, we text, we dictate to voice recognition software, which corrects our spelling, our grammar and even our writing style sometimes. So, get yourself a big fat journal diary, and fill it up with daily observations, thoughts and reflections, events which may one day be a historical event, and funny comments which you can look back on in years to come.
Why is it so important to write by hand? This is incredibly important as you will have no digital influences to help you write: no online dictionary, no spellcheck, no thesaurus, no grammar-checking software. Just your creative mind, so go create.
But, I'm not creative! How can I write deep and meaningful thoughts if they don't come to me?
Well, it is important to start simple. When you wake up in the morning, try to make some observations from outside your window. Think about the article you read or the song you listened to (see tip 1), and make a comment on them. Write something deep and meaningful about an activity that you are doing at the moment. For example, an extreme sport, a hobby like photography, or learning a language. This can help you to start building up your creative mind and its productivity.
Another great idea to help you write regularly is to find a website which provides writing prompts. These are often topics to write about, the first line of a story, or a more comprehensive writing task with explicit instructions on the style, language, or length of the composition. By doing this as a routine you will definitely improve your skills quickly.
So to sum up, the most important things to do in order to improve your English communication skills quickly are to follow routines which practise the four learning skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Then make sure you are inspiring yourself to learn more every day. Reward yourself when you have completed one of the above tasks. Make a study plan in your diary of the tasks you have completed so you can review them in a month's time and see your progress. However, you know that a journey shared is a much more enjoyable one. So, I recommend that you find a language partner to help you achieve your goals. In addition, by learning English with a tutor who can guide you towards your objectives quickly and safely, will improve your chances of success so much more.
Thanks for reading. More tips coming soon!