According to some educators, a school gives us basic knowledge that will help us throughout life. Surely you remember school English texts about all sorts of unknown characters that you had to learn by heart. How much effort you might have made to remember all words and texts that your teacher assigned.
Now it seems that everything was in vain: you did not speak English then and do not speak it after 10 years of similar lessons.
Today we want to remind you of how what you were taught at school and to tell you how to correctly learn English. Follow our advice and improve your language skills!
At the beginning of the article, we would like to make a small note: we do not blame school teachers for the wrong methods of teaching or incompetence. The principles we set out are the most common stereotypes about schooling. Almost all students faced some of them. We offer you to consider these stereotypes and get rid of them forever.
What Principles Hinder You?
There are rules, rules and only rules... It seems that the life of schoolchildren consists of them only. And not all school rules and principles of education are worth a place in your life. In fact, most of them prevent you from getting real knowledge.
Let us see what principles of school education should be forgotten, like a nightmare, and what principles should be used in language learning.
- Textbooks are all we need
We always associate a school with textbooks, which occupied half of the space in our room. The main principle was to learn by heart as many texts from these books as possible. However, that did not give any results. Moreover, that supported students' negative attitude toward textbooks.
The correct principle: Textbooks are one of the components of studying.
Without a book, studying is really impossible, but a book is not the key to success. In addition to a textbook, be sure to use all available materials for learning English: videos, audio podcasts, songs, online tests and games.
It is best to choose a textbook written by native English authors. In modern English-language textbooks, information is presented clearly and interestingly, you do not need to learn rules by heart, you learn English while communicating with your teacher.
- Grades are the measure of your success
The assessment system has generated many complexes among students. Many believe that a low grade is an indicator of the lack of ability.
The correct principle: The main thing is knowledge, not grades.
The goal of your studying should be knowledge and ability to use it for yourself. Forget about your bad grades at school. The main goals of studying English are to speak it, understand it and to be understood. Various tests are used to check how well you understand this or that topic, and which topics may require more of your attention.
- Mistakes are terrible
This is another fear from childhood. Sometimes teachers threaten us that they will tell our parents about our bad grades, sometimes they simply scold us. Such methods teach us the following: "I will not speak English, otherwise, I will make a mistake and I will be punished."
The fear of making a mistake is disastrous for learning English. This fear is the cornerstone of the language barrier. That is so because teachers take mistakes very strictly. So, school graduates cannot speak English well, even though they know grammar well and have a good vocabulary.
The correct principle: Errors are normal.
Do not be afraid to make mistakes, modern English teachers do not punish you for them, they will not scold you or consider you a stupid person. The approach has changed: now mistakes are just an indicator that you need to repeat the topic in which you feel uncertain once again. Feel free to speak, even if you know that your speech is imperfect. You will not correct mistakes until you know where you make them and, therefore, will not speak English fluently and competently.
- The dictionary in three columns is the best friend
From the first months of learning English, you might have had a notebook-dictionary, in which each page was divided into 3 columns: for a word, a transcription and a translation. It was supposed that by using such a dictionary it would be easy and convenient for you to learn new vocabulary.
However, in practice, it turned out that you could learn words well, but the principles of their usage in speech remained beyond your understanding.
The correct principle: A thematic dictionary is more helpful.
Do not make those three columns in your notebook, this method has already proved its inefficiency. New vocabulary is best studied in context, so write a whole sentence with a new word or a part of a phrase. Thus, you will learn not just a translation of a word, but a principle of its use. Moreover, write words on one topic in one particular part of the notebook. It will be easier for you to learn the related vocabulary.
- A textbook and a dictionary are everything you need for study
Some strict school programs presuppose schoolchildren's education only via textbooks. A teacher uses any additional materials very rarely. Graduating from school, students may discover that they do not understand English speech at all.
The correct principle: Use a variety of resources.
Studying materials should be interesting to you, especially today, when you can find hundreds of different resources to your taste on the Internet. Supplement learning with multimedia manuals. Listen to podcasts, read books (you can start with adapted literature). And you can also learn English via music.
You will see now there are much more opportunities to make your learning more diverse. Another thing is that you simply do not use them for some reason. However, this is a completely different story.
We will continue to list the stereotypes in the next part of the article.