3 Things English Learners Must Stop Doing
1. Stop pretending that you understand when you clearly do not
You know what I'm talking about. You're having a conversation, someone says something you don't understand.. and instead of saying, 'excuse me, what does that mean?" you say... fucking nothing.
You pretend to understand what’s happening. “Mmm, uh huh, yeah…”
You force yourself to laugh a little bit because you don’t want to make the situation awkward or uncomfortable.
You sit in silence for a few seconds to see if they’re gonna keep talking.
But you’re talking to a native speaker… You really think they can't see in your face that you didn't understand what was said? Of course they can! So what’s the point in trying to hide it? There’s nothing wrong with not being able to understand someone’s words. It just means that you need them to be explained to you in a different way.
If you don't understand, just say that... because that's the only way someone will know that they need to teach you something… and that’s the only way you’ll learn.
2. Stop using your teacher like a dictionary
A lot of you are guilty of this as well. You arrive in class and do nothing but ask your teacher to translate phrases.
Teacher! How do I say, “aproximadamente”?
Teacher! How do I say, “O saco cheio não para em pé”?
Teacher! How do I say, “Abrir la puerta”?
Translating everything literally is not only an unproductive use of time. It's also not the purpose of a teacher. That's the purpose of a translator (which you can find online for free.)
Your teacher's purpose is to explain what you don't understand about the translation YOU went and searched for. Your teacher’s purpose is to guide you down the path, not walk for you.
So take the time to practice English on your own, search for answers to your questions on your own, and then call on your teacher to see if your understanding is correct. I suggest you do it this way because you typically value and remember things you had to work for much more than the things that were simply given to you.
3. Stop waiting until the day of class to practice your English
Having 1 English class per week is much better than 0 classes per week. But if you're not still practicing your English during the rest of the week, 1 class per week is gonna have little to no effect on your ability to speak and understand English. Or at least, your progress is gonna be painfully slow.
You need to be practicing and learning on your own every day if you really want to improve rapidly. You should be consuming real English, taking notes and writing down your questions so that when you get to your weekly class, you can get all your questions answered and doubts cleared up by your teacher.
These 3 simple changes in your learning methodology can and will have a significant impact on your progress and understanding of English as long as you’re consistent. If you don’t believe me, try it for just 30 days and see the difference!
If you’re really motivated to improve your spoken English, consider taking private classes with me or joining my online community of English learners from around the world. This way, you’ll have all the content and support you need to speak English naturally and confidently.