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I tell you that I have been living in the UK for seven years and so far my English remains the same because I have to admit that I do not study every day and among the things at home that I have to do with my son and my husband, it takes away all the time and When I have a time to study, I just rest and when I start studying, I get sleepy … it’s atrocious !!!
That my husband is English and everyone tells me that since I have not learned to speak quite well yet.
I defend myself, but not entirely, so I ask you for help. What can I do?
I need someone to help me tell me where to start and from there commit without fail.
Me, my 6 year old son. I teach him to read, we read together and we do “homework” work together, but I admit that to really get along, I really lack a lot.
Please help me.
Miriam (fictitious name)
As I usually do on many occasions when I am not clear on the situation of a student to give him an adequate answer, I wrote to Miriam saying that we could talk on Skype without any commitment.
Miriam answered me – much to my surprise – saying she didn’t have time to talk to me.
With that answer, Miriam’s problem became clear to me; You really don’t feel like studying English.
And rightly so, because why are we kidding ourselves? It is tedious, heavy to do, tremendously slow and the results, if anything, are seen in the very long term.
Often, in life, we encounter situations similar to those posed by Miriam; We say we want something, for example: “Eat healthy”, and it is NOT true; we want to continue eating as we please.
Why do we deceive ourselves so much?
Because what we really want is the RESULT.
-In the case of learning English, speak it without having to go through the “torture” of learning it.
-In the case of eating healthy, “eat nurseries” that are healthy.
-In the case of losing weight, “eat everything” without gaining weight.
-In the case of having a sculptural body, get it, “without exercising.”
Unfortunately this is not possible. Miriam knows this perfectly, so she asks where to start? Then add:and from there commit and not fail . “He
is crying out for a” tutor “to guide him.
Thinking of Miriam (in those readers who are in a similar situation) it occurred to me that it would be good if I had some ideas of how to study when have not really feel like it.
These are my tips.
1. Make it fun
One of the main problems of studying anything, is the “lack of concentration” which originates, often, lack of interest and boredom.
for So the key is to make learning English more enjoyable. How?
When did you ever think of your own language when you thought it might be boring?
Fundamentally, for two reasons:
1) It is done gradually, as you grow and therefore, it is not noticeable.
2) It mixes with our daily life.
Also, until you went to school, there were no grammar books, no hard-to-read texts, not even courses with specific exercises. It was all a game, or like a game.
Therefore, put aside everything that makes you boring English and start playing.
- Listen to songs and play Karaoke with them. This is a great page to do it. The karaoke button appears below the game levels and to the left of the page.
- Play. These games are typical, such as hangman, puzzles, word search.
- More online gamesLook at the graduation hats to see the degree of difficulty.
- Represents plays in English. You can represent it with your children, friends, family. In the link you have several scripts to download.
- Do role play. This is like theater, but in real life. Remember: Easy and make you laugh. Again, look for friends, family or children to do it.
- Record yourself speaking English. You can do it on your PC, mobile phone or tablet. Laugh at your accent, and the gaffes and think about how to improve .
- Make videos– You can record your play, role play or make a presentation, announcement. You can make it private on YouTube and show it only to friends.
- Watch videos on Youtubein English that amuse you.
- Watch English movies that amuse you.
- Listen to audio storiesthat amuse you. If one is very boring, find another that is more to your liking.
- Learn to describe situations like this type. Hahaha. Even if you don’t understand anything, you will take a word. You should not put subtitles, since they do not correspond to what it says. Note: Describing situations and photos you learn the use of verbs and adjectives.
- Buy magazines that you like(fashion, cars, decoration, gossip) in English and find the words you don’t know.
- In general, relate everything you like to do in your leisure time to English. Do you have any hobby? For example, painting, crocheting, running a marathon; play chess; crafts; Look for information in English to learn more. Videos can be very useful and will make you discover new facets of your hobby that you would never have imagined.
You will see that if you have fun, you will not notice so much that you are studying something difficult.
2. Do a simple and achievable planning (doable)
When Miriam asks where to start?
What you want me to give you is a plan. And he’s right, because as the photo in this post says above “A goal without a plan is just a wish”, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Many people, when they think about planning the study of English, mistakenly think that it must be something complex. And the truth is that you have to do a very simple and achievable planning so that you can fulfill it.
Here is an example of simple and achievable planning in 5 steps:
a) Study your schedule and see what hours of the day you can spend studying English.
If it is fun, it will not cost you so much not to fall asleep. At night before bed? On the subway when you go to work? At lunchtime?
b) Measure your level to know where to start.
c) Set, according to your level, a number of things you want to learn.
Vocabulary (100 words), verbs (20 verbs), structures (verb tenses, types of sentences), idioms (20), phrasal verbs (10)
d) Fix, realistically, the time you think you can learn what you want to learn.
Examples for a week or two weeks (if you have less time):
- Beginner (A1-A2): 10 words, 2 verbs, and 2 sentences in the present tense
- Intermediate (B1-B2): 10 more complex words, 2 phrasal verbs, 2 types of conditionals.
- Advanced (C1): 5 Economist words, 2 idioms, 2 infrequent phrasal verbs, describe an accident in 30 seconds.
Note: The activities that I have put in the first point, should serve as an idea of what you can and should learn. For example, you are doing Karaoke and you find several words that you don’t know; write them down and set them as goals, for a few weeks or months.
e) After 6 months (or better at 9 months), measure your level again.
Being measuring every month if you progress or not, will frustrate you since progress usually goes very slowly.
3. Reward yourself for your little progress
When we don’t get quick results on a subject, we are programmed to drop it.
It has happened to me on several occasions. For example, with exercises in a gym, or painting, or mathematics. Not having obtained a fast and successful result in a short time, I have given up.
The problem is -especially with English- in believing that if you do not have total success, it is not worth continuing.
Therefore, you must think that your successes in English will not be “speaking perfectly English”, but simply fulfilling the small goal that you have set in your weekly planning. Nothing else.
Don’t start dreaming with total fluency or a large vocabulary. It is as if someone who is learning to draw wanted, in a few months, to do it like Picasso or Dalí. Or, a person who is not very athletic, would like to become a professional gymnast in no time.
It is not that you cannot have a goal of speaking fluently and almost perfectly, yes, but when you are already at a relatively high level of English, not before.
To conclude, reward yourself because you have learned 2 verbs in one week; or 10 words. And that’s it. Think about how well you have done and be proud of the work done.
4. Do not punish yourself
This is the reverse of the previous advice.
You shouldn’t feel terrible because you don’t achieve ” what you thought you should have achieved, or what others expected you to achieve.”
In Miriam’s case, the accusation is: “7 years in England and I still don’t speak English well.”
The reason why Miriam does not speak English well is because she has not spent enough time with her; she says it herself; it bores him, he doesn’t have the strength, he doesn’t want to make the effort because he prefers to dedicate his time to his family and son.
It is like deciding that you are going on a main road (your family), and suddenly turning onto another road (English).
There are people who can make this detour without problems and others who cannot, because we each learn differently. Therefore, the trick is to get to know yourself and adapt the way of learning to your own way of being.
Therefore, if you find it hard to study, the only way is to integrate the English path with the main one, as we have seen in the first tip.
5. Be realistic
In line with the previous point, I will tell an anecdote that I recently posted on Facebook.
“I was in the gym when I felt a blow. It was a little bird that fluttered nervously hitting a mirror. It had, surely, entered by mistake through some crack in the ceiling.
I thought about taking it so I could free it by putting it in a window that he couldn’t see; but it was impossible for me since he didn’t let himself be caught.
Finally, he was hit so hard that he was stunned.
Only then could I help him out.
Moral: Sometimes help can only come after a good hit.
So it is with some students who come to this blog. The help had always been there, but it was only visible after many “kicks” with English. ”
By being realistic I mean that, on many occasions, if you have not learned English so far, it is because you have not really needed it.
You have always found a way out (or excuse); output that may have made you feel bad, but for now it has served you since you continue to survive.
If you had to learn it, really because, for example, you needed it to eat, then you would have already learned it.
When English really kicks, you learn it even if it hurts, costs, bores you or you don’t like it. Thats the reality.