People so often get caught up trying to do too much and find themselves overwhelmed. Over the years of teaching at Smith’s 英会話 Hirakata students keep asking me the same question. In a previous article I wrote about how perseverance is the key to achieving success in anything but this time I thought I’d be a little more specific with regards to mastering English. From my 20 years of teaching and having many friends that are bilingual or trilingual I believe I can sum up in a few words just students need to do in order to become fluent.
1. TV shows or DVDs (Listening practice galore. Pure English that keeps up with the latest trends and fashion, visually stimulating which allows for a better understanding of culture at the same time. With so many choices though you need to find ones that are both interesting for you and useful)
2. Books (best way to improve vocabulary and grammar. Like movies the key is knowing which books to read as many can be dry and uninteresting)
3. Writing (forces you to think creatively and utilize what you have learned from reading and listening)
4. Speaking (the ultimate test of our ability, convincing others of our thoughts and opinions in an impromptu setting)
5. A good teacher & school (A good teacher is someone who pushes you to be your best. Also look for someone who is constantly improving themselves. A good school is one that keeps the student-teacher ratio low.)
I am lucky enough to work alongside both Jerry and Yasuko who I challenge to improve each and every day. I know I appreciate their hard work and hope our students can tell that we’re always trying to improve ourselves.
So TV shows + Books + Writing + Speaking + a good teacher & school…and of course a student’s effort and you have all the ingredients to achieve success in learning English. It might take time and some hard work but it’s not difficult. The formula works. So the only question students who are reading this need to ask themselves is, “will I use it?”