Learning how to do something requires four key elements, which we’ll consider here. I also want to look briefly at the other elements of the subject: ‘speaking English’ and what doing it ‘freely’ might mean. Here are the elements of the learning process:
- The desire: let’s face it, unless the student WANTS to learn, learning isn’t going to happen. What is the motivation? For the businessman – are you doing this because the boss wants you to, or because you really want to? For the student – is the course just another course, or is this language something you really want?
- The teacher: there’s a series of advertisements on UK television which is aimed at recruiting more teachers for the state. The adverts focus in on the influence of good, charismatic teachers. A great teacher is the one who engages you, the student, and helps you to learn.
- The method: and there are several out there! Which one suits you and which one you can afford may be two key factors in your decision, but remember this – total immersion is the ideal, followed by as frequently as you can do / afford – sporadic classes might be fun, but there’s a lot of your time un-learning the lessons learned! I would also say that there is NO substitute for learning from a native speaker.
- The Practice! Without this (listening, speaking) the language won’t come to life in your mouth and mind. The student has to find a way of practicing, be that a local English speaker, watching the satellite TV or a DVD. Best of all, try and spend some time in an English speaking country! Speaking English – why? It’s the main International business language, for a start – so businessmen on the International stage need the language to ‘get on’. It’s the language of the skies and the seas and the PCs! Basically everyone approaching English as a second language has their own motivation, and each will be as different as the potential student! The good teacher will quickly understand the motivation (what makes the student ‘tick’) and home in on that for teaching direction: if you teach something relevant and fun, then learning happens! Finally the concept of speaking English ‘freely’. I guess that is the same as easily, fluently. Speaking any language freely implies a confidence as well as a competence with the words and phrases, vocabulary and grammar of the language. So open your mouth and try it out – with a good teacher, you will surprise yourself!