The following is a note that I gave to some of my students and as I have seen a marked improvement in the English being used during the lessons I felt that I should share it with you.
A Guide to Improving your English Ability.
There are many elements that need to be mastered in order to be able to speak, read, write and understand English.
Smith’s Schools of English are English conversation schools whose aim is to coach students to communicate with not only native English speakers but also with those who speak English as a second or third etc language. This is a challenging task and one which we at Smith’s enjoy very much, as we realise that no two students are exactly the same because each of them have their own idiosyncrasies.
The Smith’s School of English curriculm is designed to encourage and coach non- English speakers to develop communicative confidence. Naturally, as each student is different then their speed of mastering their nerves and shyness will vary from one individual to another. I have however observed that those students who review their lesson notes on a regular basis improve their confidence levels more swiftly because their confidence grows as they learn and retain more.
A major strategy must be to increase your English vocabulary and that is why Smith’s curriculm includes vocabulary lessons. The English language has well over 250,000 words and it is therefore essential that you have a goal to acquire a set number of new words a day, week or month. I feel that a target of a minimum of 5 new words a day is a realistic one.The best way to do this is to, in addition to attending conversation classes face to face with a native English speaker, that you also read and listen to English as much as possible. You must then list the new words that you come across in a self made dictionary and then practise using them as frequently as possible. The more ways you use them the better chance you have of remembering them.
To find new words you have to actively read, listen to and/or speak with someone and ensure that you write down all of the new-found words, including idioms (a specific idiomatic series of lessons are also part of the Smith’s Schools of English curriculm). You really should aim to get into the habit of reading or listening to English whenever possible. Then all you need to do is to simply add the new words that you encounter to your self made dictionary and thereby speedily expand your vocabulary.
It is also imperative that your don’t only learn each and every single word that you come across but also that you set out to recognise grammatical forms and word families and that you also record them in your alphabetic dictionary which you can then use to practice saying the words out aloud.
If you are serious about your English lessons then you need to spend at least 15 minutes a day reviewing your lesson notes. Try it, it really does work.
Al Bartle says
Your advice is “spot on”. By working even 15 minutes a day to review, the students will gain a lot of confidence and make much quicker progress. For the lower level students I also like to give them a copy of the lesson homework page from “Brainstorm” to do and bring back to the next lesson. This is the book that Craig wrote and published. I think H/O may have a few copies and perhaps you already have it. Also, as I mentioned in other posts, I have a YouTube channel (EigoManOkamoto) where I have reading and listening exercises for my students and anyone who wants to practice at home. I’d be honored if you would introduce your students to my channel too. I advise those working toward improved TOEIC scores to work up to 2 hours a day because, TOEIC is a measure of how near the student’s ability is to that of a native speaker and native speakers are using English 6 or more hours a day. Anyway the more they use English the better. Here’s my advice video: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tjCUDDL_tiU
Al, SSE Okamoto
Great advice. I will try it with my Japanese studying and let you know how it goes. Do you mind if I pass along your advice to my students as well? It is well worded, and as well as being good advice, it would be good study material for them!
Edward, SSE Ohtsu
Thank you Al and Edward for your comments.
Al I will refer my students to your “youtube channel” as it is certainly an excellent additional tool for them to use to support their English lessons and thereby induce/stimulate their confidence.
Edward please feel free to use my
“A Guide to Improving your English Ability”.
My biggest concern in handing out this item was that it could deter students from going forward with their lessons as it makes the task look so daunting but then it is and if it is treated as such then they will with, our guidance encouragement and confidence building, succeed.