Learn English – 2 tools to help you if you are an intermediate learner

In this video, I talk about what is really helping me with Spanish.  Teaching others is one practice.  The other is telling the same story over and over to different people and using their corrections to improve.



Hey there! You all are English-language learners. And I am a Spanish-language learner. Today,  I want to share with you two new practices, two habits that are really making a difference in my Spanish. And I think they might help you too, with English, 

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories)

A year ago in March, 2020, all over the world, we were just getting used to the pandemic. Zoom was becoming a household term. My daughter-in-law, the wife of one of my sons, said, “Maria, why don’t you teach some of the grandchildren, either French or Spanish?”

Well, I am a retired French teacher and am fluent in French. But a year ago I had only about 1045 hours of Spanish exposure. Yes,  I keep track in a little notebook. I was at the low intermediate level. The children chose Spanish, of course, and that scared me, but I said, ‘Yes, I would give it a try.’ 

And a year ago, on the 31st of March, 2020, I started with a weekly Zoom class for three of the grandchildren. I used storytelling just the same as I did in my French classroom. And as I do teaching English as a second language.  I was willing to give it a try because I knew that I know more Spanish than they did. They didn’t know any Spanish, but it was hard. And it took me a lot of time to prepare each lesson. And I was scared every week before the class happened. I dreaded it because it felt like a lot of pressure.

But now, a year later, I feel more comfortable. I now have, I’ve doubled the amount of Spanish contact that I’ve had, I have.  I now have 2063 hours of contact interaction with Spanish. And one of the grandchildren and a friend are still with me, weekly by Zoom.

The other habit that I have picked up is story sharing with four Hispanic friends. Every week I tell or write a story in Spanish to them that they correct. I started in January doing this and I would tell a different story to each one of the four friends every week. But about three weeks ago, I was short on time and I decided to use the same story for each one of them. That turned out to be a great idea, because as they gave me corrections, I absorbed, I was able to internalize the corrections. And each time I told the story again, I got better. 

So, what is my schedule on Sunday? I actually write out my story for Areli. She does the same for me. She writes a story in English and we correct each other, the writing, we use Google docs. That really helps. So, that’s on Sunday. My story, when I tell it out loud, is about eight to 10 minutes long.

On Thursday, I use WhatsApp and I retell the story to Mayra. I don’t look at what I’ve written. I’m not reading it, but it’s in my head, with the corrections. She corrects me orally on WhatsApp, leaves me an audio message. On Friday, I repeat the story to Katie. Now, Katie is also a Spanish-language learner, so she doesn’t correct me and I don’t correct her Spanish. On Saturday, I retell the story. It’s the fourth time I’ve told the story and this time it’s to Roberto. And then he sends me an audio message on WhatsApp with corrections. And after the fourth time I have absorbed the corrections. So, this really is helping. It helps to keep the same story. It saves me time.  But it’s good for the corrections.

I also like having to write one time a week. It’s, it’s my homework. It’s a challenge. It’s different than just speaking. So, now March 30, 31st, 2021, I feel like these two practices: teaching somebody what I know in Spanish and telling stories again and again, getting better, are really helping my Spanish. What about you? Which of those are you most likely to try? Which one do you think would help you the most? The teaching is by far the scariest, but they’re both good. They both challenge you. And I think this is appropriate. This will work well for you, if you are already at the intermediate level.

And remember if you would like the written words to today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com and there you’ll find it along with other transcripts. That’s it for today’s episode, I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)




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