Why do you want to learn English?
– I want to pass an exam to make my CV look better
– I want to understand songs in English
– The English language is important
– My parents tell me I need to learn it
– To help me with my school work
Before I go any further I want to tell you a story that comes from Ken Robinson (Guru to the Arts for all, see his book “The Element”) After working as professor of Education at Warwick University and chairing various commissions into the arts he moved to the USA . (for more information about Ken Robinson click here ) He still maintains his family and professional contacts in the UK and often gets back there. On one such trip he explains that he went to a jazz-blues concert where his brother was performing. He enjoyed the concert and was especially impressed with Charles the keyboard player. Afterwards he went backstage to congratulate his brother and the rest of the group.
When he met Charles he told him:
“Wow, Charles I really enjoyed the concert and thought your keyboards work was amazing. I would love to be able to play keyboards like you”
To Ken’s surprise Charles replied, “No, you wouldn’t”
Ken, a little perplexed answered “Yes, seriously Charles, I would love to play keyboards like you do.”
“No. No you wouldn’t”
“What do you mean, Charles?”
“If you really would like to play like me you would have dedicated hours and hours of your life since you were a child practising, perfecting, writing and performing. Even now that I live from my music I practise and write every day”
This is of course very obvious if we think about it realistically. No top musician, footballer, golfer, athlete, swimmer etc has got to the top and stayed there without daily dedication.
The same can be said about language learning. If you say:
“I’d really love to speak English well”
“I’d love to understand English films and TV series” or similar, then you have to ask yourself:
How much contact do I have every week with the English language? If your answer is less than 5 hours a week this probably means that you are NOT going to learn English very quickly. Be realistic!
How do you learn English well and effectively? If you want to learn English effectively you need to put in the hours.
Try using some of these Rules of Five:
– Read 5 pages of English every day
– Use 5 new English words everyday from your vocabulary lists
– Listen to 5 English songs every day.
– Speak English with at least 5 people every day, in the street, on the phone, on Messenger or Facebook.
– or speak English to yourself in the mirror if it’s impossible to find a willing partner.
– Listen (or hear) small sections (10 -20 minutes) of dialogues 5 times a day, repeat the same ones regularly
To speak English well
to understand English well
to write English well
to learn English well
You have to remember to do some English every day, if you want to run a marathon you need to train regularly, to learn English or any language it is the same. Children do hours and hours every day to learn their mother tongue, you have to do the same