Learn/Teach English – 2 tips to help you acquire English more effectively

Do you want to save yourself time as an English-language learner or your students if you teach?  Today, I talk about something I have stopped doing to acquire Spanish. And something that I have started practicing.

Hey there, English language learners today.  I would like to share with you something that is helping me acquire Spanish and something that is not.

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

When I taught French in the classroom, I always told my students, “There is no need for you to write anything down. Just listen, watch, and try to understand as much as you can.” But I always had two or three students who thought it would help them acquire, learn French, if they wrote things down in a notebook. And of course I let them. 

When I started learning Spanish back in June, 2018, I just listened and watched videos for a good year. But then, I did get a notebook and start writing Spanish words down. I thought that would help. And I have kept that up all this time until last week. Why did I stop? Because it wasn’t helping at all.

What I have found (is) that when I need a word to either say, or to write, I’ll either ask for it or I’ll look it up. And over time, there comes a day, when all of a sudden I can see that word in my head and I don’t need to ask for it and I don’t need to look it up. Let me give you an example.

I have Hispanic friends who have gone through surgery. They’ve gone to the hospital to be operated on by a surgeon, a doctor. So, I have had to look that word up or ask for it and I’ve written it down. But recently I wanted to send a message on whatsapp to a friend who was having surgery for cancer this week.

I looked it up. I knew part of the word, but I didn’t have it complete. So, I looked it up and all of a sudden it joined those other words that I can see clearly in my mind’s eye. We talk about the eye of the mind. I can see it and I have it now. It’s my word. I don’t need to look it up or ask somebody for it anymore. 

And this has happened many times over, many times. So, I decided I’m not going to waste any more time writing things down. When I’ve heard something enough, read it enough, asked for it enough, it will suddenly stick in my mind, all on its own.

Now, what am I going to do with all that time that I used to spend writing words down and reviewing them?  Reviewing them didn’t help at all. Here’s the practice that is helping me. I am a firm believer in the power of reading in the target language, the language you are trying to learn, to acquire. But when you start to recognize a word and you, you see it coming and you know what it means, I’m finding that I don’t look at the word very clearly. So, what I do now, every day, when I read, I spend a few minutes, maybe five, reading out loud. 

That helps me in two ways. One, I have to pay attention to every word. Excuse me!  I have to pay attention to every letter in the word. That’s helpful. And number two, which I think is even more helpful, I get to feel the word in my mouth. I get to practice saying it. I get my mouth accustomed to the feel of the word. That seems to be helping me a lot. 

So, those are my two tips. They work for me. Everybody acquires a language differently, but let me know. Be daring, take a chance and stop writing things down and start using that time to read aloud and feel the words in your mouth. I think that will make a difference. Tell me about it.

And if you would like the transcript, the written words to today’s episode, or if you would like to be notified every time I publish a new video, just go to my website, www.Englishwithoutfear.com. And there you’ll find all the transcripts and you’ll be able to sign up and be part of my mail-out list. And I will notify you every time a video gets uploaded. Well, 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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