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Introduction

As you probably know “the mother of all learning is repetition”.

 

Time and again, researchers have shown that this is equally true for language learning.

 

 

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There are many different thoughts and opinions across the globe about the best way to learn a language.

 

- In Spain the audiolingual method led by the charismatic Richard Vaughan is popular. Another method is using flashcards, pioneered and mastered by Robert Pocklington at Fluency Idiomas, Murcia.

 

 - In Finland entire classes are taught solely in English. Questions are asked in English and the teacher replies in the same language. 

 

 - In China, the Disney English franchise offers classes for people keen to learn English.

 

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn or improve your English, there is a learning method best suited to you.

 

Personally, I'd try a few different methodologies, and then decide.

 

You may even outgrow your initial method.

 

Eventually,  you’ll achieve the fluency and a vocabulary that will help you express what's in your head, in a clear understandable English.

 

Krashen

The Order of Language

1. Preproduction

2. Early production

3. Speech emergence

4. Intermediate fluency

5. Advanced fluency

 

As a specialist in second language acquisition, Stephen Krashen has developed a theory on the subject.

 

This theory posits that there are five stages of development in the acquisition of a second language.

 

This he says is the natural order of language learning and that teachers can’t change the order. Below are the stages.

 

 

Preproduction


This stage is also known as the silent period and may last between six and twelve months.

 

At this stage, learners have a vocabulary of around 500 words.

 

Typically, learners don’t speak though some may start to copy the person they’re learning from. It is unlikely that they will embark on any creative use of language.

 

Early Production

 

At this stage, the learner has progressed to using words and short phrases. Their vocabulary has expanded to 1000 words.

 

They can now also remember large portions of language but they may make serious mistakes in use. The early production stage lasts for about six months.

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Image source: SlideShare

 

Speech Emergence

 

With a vocabulary of around 3000 words, the learner can now ask questions and use simple phrases.

 

It is likely that they will make grammatical errors.

 

 

Intermediate Fluency

 

The learner’s vocabulary has doubled to 6000 words.

 

They are now able to use more complex sentences and phrases.

 

They have reached the stage where they can articulate their thoughts and share their opinions, though they may make mistakes with the more complicated language structures.

 

 

Advanced Fluency


At this level of fluency, the learner can speak the language almost as well as the native language speaker.

 

It will have taken him or her between five and ten years to reach this level of fluency.

 

Krashen believes that there is no difference in the way that we learn a first language or any subsequent languages.

 

His theory on the acquisition of a second language is often referred to as the Monitor Model or Input Hypothesis.

 

 

Where do you start?

1. Assess your current level.

 

2. Set your goal (B2 / IELTS / Fluency..).

 

3. Choose your learning method.

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Before you start you need to understand your current language level. So, take a baseline assessment. It will serve as a measure of your future success.

 

Next, you need to set yourself some goals. Decide where it is you want to go.

 

Be specific with your goals. Make a full breakdown. Is it speaking, reading or writing practice that you need?

 

This is an essential part of ensuring that you understand your goals and your roadmap to their accomplishment.

Below a list of methods that you could choose from in your journey to learn the English language.

 

 

The Immersion Method – go to the United Kingdom and join a number of Meetups, where you can discuss subjects on matters that interest you.

 

This could include cooking, technology sports or any other interests.

 

Surround yourself with people who speak the language fluently so that you can learn by doing.

 

This way you avoid annoying and expensive grammar classes. Who needs to understand the rules?

 

 

Goal Method – register for an IELTS exam or something similar and pay. Then start your studies.

 

Setting yourself a goal makes it easier to prepare. Set yourself a study routine and stick to it.

 

 

The Gold List Method – research and summarise fifty words and you’re bound to remember some of them.

 

This is the foundation of the Gold List Method.

 

You expose yourself to new vocabulary every day until you remember.

 

 

The Passion Method – find something that you’re passionate about and then research the subject.

 

Your interest in the subject will help you to stick with it.    

 

Make the learning process as enjoyable as you can or you may abandon it.

Measure and Reward your progress as this will help to drive your motivation.

 

Reward yourself with great British comedy.

 

This video opposite, includes five different accents to help you to understand spoken English.

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Learn English Online

Below we listed three options:

  • Apps
  • Home Immersion
  • Online Course

 

Apps: Lingolearn, FluentU – make sure that you choose effective software.

 

I have friends who have reached level 130 using Lingolearn to learn Hungarian but they still can’t communicate in Hungarian.

 

Makes one wonder about how effective this tool is.

 

 

Home immersion – learn from home.

 

Ensure that everything in your home and the outside world is English.

 

Find films, and podcasts in English or binge-watch a series in English.

 

 

Internet assistance - there is also plenty of internet material available including content and games that can help you to quickly learn the language.

 

For some fun, training try lyrics training.

 

This site encourages users to use the lyrics of their favourite songs to learn the language of choice, a great way to have fun while you learn.

 

7 Tips to Speak English Fluently

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While fluency and accuracy are both essential to the fluid understanding of spoken and written language, they are two separate issues.

 

Accuracy refers to the correct use of grammar and pronunciation of the words.

 

Fluency refers to how well you can convey your ideas to the audience without hesitating or pausing.

 

So, when practising fluency, it’s best to drop your concern with accuracy for a while as worrying about accuracy could impact heavily on your fluency.

 

 

1. Find a role model – find someone who can speak to you on a subject which you find interesting.

 

I would target David Attenborough. As a northerner, I envy his quintessential British accent.

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2. Copy phrases and sentences – it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand all the words.

 

The aim of this exercise is practice fluency.

 

Accuracy, grammar and vocabulary don’t matter.

 

Listen to the cadence, stress, rhythm and melody.

 

 

3. Don’t sweat the mistakes - “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ― Albert Einstein.

 

 

4. Get your speaking brain in gear – some students find it very difficult to get their speaking brain operational.

 

The best way to resolve this issue is to start slowly.

 

Paraphrase what was said to you.

 

You don’t have to have the full sentence ready to answer the question.

 

Only the best English speakers will have the full sentence ready, the rest will put the sentence together as they go along.

 

 

5. Never learn words on their own – learn phrases and sentences rather than words on their own.

 

When you want to record something from a show or a book, make sure to write down full sentences.

 

This ensures that you learn in context.

 

Sticking to full phrases and sentences will help to establish your fluency.

 

 

6. Prepare ahead – if you’re heading off to the shops, prepare your conversations upfront.

 

This way you’ll be prepared to make small talk with the people that you meet along the way.

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7. Think in English – it’s not easy but it’s worth trying.

 

Switch your inner voice to English and question yourself on how you would answer English questions.

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How to Learn English Quickly

  • Set Goals
  • Make a Plan
  • Repeat the words and phrases (a lot).
  • Ask Questions

English is the most spoken language in the world so you won’t find it difficult to find resources in your quest to learn English.

 

Make sure to find works that are little challenging but don’t overdo it as this can be discouraging.

 

Set Goals for Yourself


It is important that you set yourself relevant goals.

 

If, for example, you want to learn English so that you can discuss your favourite hobbies with English speakers then look for articles on the subject.

 

Listen to podcasts or watch movies.

 

If you plan to sit the IELTS exam then start some more formal training, like online tutorials.

 

Your goals will form the basis of your plan and your roadmap to the accomplishment of those goals.

 

 

Make a Plan

 

How long do you have to study to achieve your goals?

 

The answer to this question will differ for everyone.

 

You must set realistic study goals.

 

There is no point in setting a forty-hour a week study goal if you already work sixty hours a week.

 

Start off slowly but make sure that you set regular study periods.

 

Experiment.

 

Relook at your study schedule after to have studied for a few weeks and adjust it to take account of realities.

 

Perhaps you study best first early in the morning, or late at night.

 

Do you need a quiet place to study or does a busy rec room suit your style?

 

 

Repetition is Key

 

Research has shown that repetition is the key to learning a language.

 

People learn through repetition.

 

Repetition builds new neural paths through the brain.

 

This graph shows how we can increase the time span from one repetition to the next as our brains form neural pathways, making the information easier to access.

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Ask questions

 

There is no such thing as a stupid question. You’ll never learn unless you find the answers to your questions.

 

The more you learn, the more questions will pop up.

 

Find your curiosity and get answers to your questions.

 

If you’re in a course ask your teacher for advice.

 

Even if you’re learning alone you can find the answers to your questions on blogs, websites and forums.

Beware Sub-Optimal Television Learning

 

Watching television is a passive experience.

 

It is not the best way to learn English or anything else for that matter.

 

Far better to listen to podcasts. With podcasts, you have to work harder because there are no images to fall back on.

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Teaching Adult Learners

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Today, learning has become a lifetime condition so many of the students are adult.

 

Adults have different needs and will benefit from different teaching methods.

 

Unlike children, adults voluntarily enter a class with the desire to learn something.

 

Adult learners will benefit from involvement in the learning process and can take responsibility for their own learning outcomes.

 

According to Malcolm Miles, an expert in adult education, there are five major strategies that teachers should adopt when teaching adult learners.

 

These are:

 

Relevancy – adults must understand why what they’re doing is important.

 

Flexibility – adults must learn in a way that suits them best.

 

Experiential – learning by doing.

 

Timing – it must be the right time. It will be extremely hard for someone learn English if their personal life is in utter disarray.

 

Encouragement – the environment must be positive. In my experience adults are extremely reluctant to make mistakes.

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In Conclusion

To learn English quickly and efficiently you have to find a method that works best for you.

 

Set your goals.

 

Plan your routines and work environment.

 

Then commit to finishing within the time frame that you have set yourself.

 

Don’t waste time on research.

 

Learning a language is all about practice and repetition.

 

Get going.

 

Speak the language and you’ll reap the benefits for that is where the growth is.

 

Ben Worthington is the owner of IELTSPodcast.com and has over 350 podcast episodes about IELTS.

 

Since 2015 we have had over 3 million podcast downloads.

 

The Youtube channel has over 40,000 subscribers.

If you have any IELTS questions, please send us an email.

 

Our email address is available after email sign up. Or give us a call on the number in the footer.

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