Friday 24 February 2012

Speaking: A Story Of My Learning

Article 4 on Singtao Student Page:

An anecdote of my learning experience -- my doubts and enlightenment.
This is how I learn
Image from

When I wrote the first entry of my blog, Locky's English Playground, I put the following quote just beneath the blog title, "Languages are tunnels that lead to the worlds of infinite knowledge -- Locky", in other words, languages are tools for us to gain knowledge. This may be common sense, but truly understanding the essence of it cost me years of time.

Some students in schools consider learning English boring, I agree, because that was exactly what I used to feel. Dully spelling words and getting the grammar correct will not make the learning experience meaningful, we have to go beyond knowing English language itself. It is only fun to learn a language if one will eventually make meanings out of it. An easy question to ask ourself is, "What can I do with English if I am good at it?"

I did not like reading news when I was in schools. I always kept in mind, "Why should I like it? It will not do anything good to me!" No matter how my teachers made me subscribe to news magazines and how many reading periods went by, I just could not find any meanings in knowing about wars and politics. I was still a school kid!

But then, meanings slowly appeared when I started teaching.

At that time, experienced English teachers in my workplace memorised English grammar so well that given any unit numbers, they could recite the entire grammar lesson . On the other than, some new Caucasian teachers knew little about grammar, but students enjoyed talking to them because these teachers knew about their home countries better than anyone else. There had to be something more than just learning English, I supposed.

Following the school's guidelines, I taught my very first week of classes and I was already bored to death. I thought to myself, "I like grammar, but how can I not feel bored doing the same things over and over again?" It was then I began to go online and explore the world of knowledge on my desktop computer.

I selected some topics which I found fun and intriguing from the internet, merged it into my lessons, and the responses from my students were remarkable! Since then, I have continuously expanded my circle of interest and my knowledge has grown exponentially.

For me, I enjoy the feeling of knowing anything and relevance is the key to my interest in learning.

Looking back, I wish my teachers in my schools had at least told me how to build interests in news, or anything such as maths and science, rather than telling me to repeatedly read them. Had I known the fun and joy of knowing, I would have collected much more amazing knowledge in my brain.

When I was training my students for oral examinations, many of them possess common knowledge, but few have actual substance. Student must have quality knowledge in order to impress the examiners, or as a matter of fact, to mature as a human being in the long run.

Although Locky's English Playground on Singtao Daily has only lasted 4 weeks, my blog is always online. If you would like to learn more about everything through English, do visit Locky's English Playground at or simply Google it.

I will see you there, thrice a week. Have fun with English! Goodbye (to my Singtao readers) for now!

anecdote -- (n) [C] a short often funny story, especially about something someone has done
enlightenment -- (n) [U] the state of understanding something
beneath -- (prep) in or to a lower position than, under
dully -- (adv) not interesting or exciting in any way; boring
to death -- until you die
intriguing -- (adj) very interesting because of being unusual or mysterious
remarkable -- (adj) unusual or special and therefore surprising and worth mentioning
exponentially -- (adj) formal describes a rate of increase which becomes quicker and quicker as the thing that increases becomes larger
relevance -- (n)  [U] (also relevancythe degree to which something is related or useful to what is happening or being talked about
as a matter of fact -- as a matter of fact (also in (actual) factused to add emphasis to what you are saying, or to show that it is the opposite of or different from what went before
in the long run -- at a time that is far away in the future

Fun Tasks For You:

  1. Sit together with a group of friends or classmates and share your learning timeline, focus on what are the most successful and unsuccessful in your past learning experience.
  2. Ask yourself,  "What can I do with English if I am good at it?"
  3. Ask yourself,  "What do I enjoy learning and knowing?"
  4. Once you have the answer for question 2 and 3, start to focus on achieving your goal.
Third Conditional -- an unreal situation; something which cannot be changed any more because it has already happened, to express regrets or past possibilities
if + past perfect --- would have + past participle

  1. If I had practised more speaking, I would have passed the oral examination.
  2. Had I practised more speaking, I would have passed the oral examination. (Variant of 1)
  3. Had I known the fun and joy of knowing, I would have collected much more amazing knowledge in my brain. (Because I didn't know, so I did not collect those amazing knowledge)
  4. If I had not decided to make a change, I could have lived a boring life teaching repetitive lessons. (Notice the use of "not" and "could")

Locky's English Playground