Tuesday 10 August 2010

Learning Methods: Have No Fear when Learning

Hi guys, just came back from my Japan trip yesterday so I am now washing my smelly clothes from the trip, fixing my broken computer for the n-th time, and clearing my old emails. After I have got all these done, you will be getting lots of interesting topics from this playground. For now, while I am clearing my emails, I have some really good questions from my students asking me on the right learning methods, and I think I should really share them with you, in case you also have similar troubles when learning English / anything.

Email 1:
Student K has problem expressing themselves, they always have some English words or sentences  in mind, but fail to speak out.

Same as my experience in Japan, I know very little Japanese, so I couln't say exactly what I want, but I tried, I kept trying. If this way didn't work, I tried another. If I didn't know the word, I tried to look for similar words, to get to the closest meaning. Never give up is the key, I could have easily used English, just like you might use Cantonese, but you can't learn like this. I love to learn, so I never mind going by the difficult way -- that is, using my limited Japanese. Body language can help a lot, but most importantly, I learnt the words from the native Japanese people after they understood what I want to say.

Email 2:
Student N is writing a job application letter and is looking for references.

Those on the internet which you can randomly searched are more or less the same, and they are mostly very useful. You can take about 5 of them to be your reference. Should cut and paste the best from those websites which suit your style to refine into your own one. Once it is written, you can keep it as your best template and modify it according to the job you are applying. 

Email 3:
Student B wants to further improve her oral, writing and listening skills, would like me to recommend course/school to them. Student B bought some grammar books but they are not so useful. Student B has problem communicating even with daily English. 

Honestly speaking, I don't know where you can find good courses or schools to further improve your English apart from Prime, others that I know of care more about money than their students, so with my limited knowledge, I have yet to find an answer for this question.

Since I don't know which grammar books you have bought, I can't say they are good or bad, but I have suggested some which I personally think are the best, and you can easily find out what they are by clicking on the Books button on the right-hand side of this English Playground, or you can simply click here.

As to why you can't communicate with daily English, there could be many reasons: age, practice, mindset, environment ... just to name a few. But let's not generalise too much, every learner's case is different, you need to know, in details, which areas of your learning are having problems before you can find the right cure. My suggestion is to find an experience tutor / teacher to give you a diagnosis and so that you can work on solving your learning problems.

I have a lot of labels on this English Playground that can help too, check out on Learning Methods or Learning Psychology sections.

Hope all these suggestions help.