Author Topic: English learning methods  (Read 3997 times)

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« on: November 26, 2010, 20:36 »

In order to have good skills in listening comprehension in English and to speak it fluently, a learner should practise listening to audio and video aids in English (dialogues, thematic texts and narrative stories). It is preferable to have English transcripts of audio and video material. I suggest that learners practise listening comprehension with subsequent speaking in the following sequence:

1. Learners should listen to each sentence several times. At the same time they should see each sentence in the transcript.

2. Learners need to make sure they understand everything clearly in each sentence in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.

3. Without looking into the transcript, learners should try to repeat each sentence (say it aloud) exactly as they heard it. Without being able to repeat a sentence, a learner cannot understand it.

4. Then it is essential that learners listen to that particular conversation or text (story) in short paragraphs or chunks, say each paragraph aloud, and compare to the transcript.

5. Finally it is necessary that learners listen to the whole conversation or story without interruption several times, and try to tell the content of the whole conversation or text (story) they heard. They can write key words and phrases, or main ideas as a plan, or questions on that particular dialogue or text to make easier for them to convey their content in English. It is important for learners to compare what they said to the transcript.

I am a former ESL teacher. I'd like to know your opinion about these suggestions. Maybe you could publish this comment if you find it important.

I have developed my own unique suggestions on mastering English conversation and vocabulary. They are based on my experience and knowledge, and my tips and advice may be valuable for all students of English. I hope that they will  become a short but indispensable guide for many learners of English.  I am a former English as a foreign language teacher. I have thoroughly read on the issue of effective methods and aids for learning English. Those aids include audios, videos, websites, study books, etc. I want to share with you that information for English language learners.
Of course, everyday talking in English to native English speakers on a variety of topics helps best in order to be able to speak English fluently. But relatively few learners of English have such long-term opportunity. To eventually be able to speak English fluently, first of all learners of English must have materials with important content on all everyday topics (audios, videos, printed texts/study books, etc.) for beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of study. The materials must include dialogues, monologues (thematic texts), questions - answers with important content, thematic lists of difficult word meanings and phrases (expressions) with usage sentences, and comprehensive vocabulary on all everyday topics. I believe that learners can master English conversation and vocabulary with the following methods:

1. Learners of English must listen to each sentence in conversations (thematic dialogues) in audio materials several times and see their transcripts at the same time, and understand everything in those sentences clearly.

2. It is necessary that learners of English read (pronounce) each sentence aloud and compare their pronunciation to the announcer's pronunciation.

3. Speaking activity with self-control. It is essential for learners to check if they can orally convey the content of those dialogues closely to the original dialogues as much as possible. That means they must try to be an actor for both speakers in the dialogues. The most important thing for them is to speak English, and to check in the transcript of conversations (dialogues) whether they have made any mistakes in speaking.
Learners can also make their own written questions on the dialogues that require long answers contained in the dialogues to facilitate (make easier) imitation of the dialogues. Alternatively, learners can write key words and phrases, or main ideas as a plan to make easier for them to imitate those dialogues.
4. It is important that learners prepare potential questions and answers with important content on all everyday topics, and practise speaking. To show different ways of expressing a particular thought they can make several potential questions and answers on one point in this speaking activity. There are two websites that contain a lot of ready-made questions in English on a wide variety of topics.

5. Learners of English must have lists of difficult word meanings and of phrases (expressions) on every topic with usage sentences. They must read those ready-made vocabulary usage sentences many times if needed. Longman Language Activator Dictionary (unique English Idea Production Dictionary) covers this issue thoroughly. It is essential that learners also make their own sentences with that vocabulary, taking into consideration real life situations.

6. Students of English can learn a lot of vocabulary on every topic from thematic English dictionaries. Good thematic English dictionaries provide clear word usage explanations and also a few usage sentences for each word meaning, which is especially important. It is essential that students of English also make their own sentences with difficult vocabulary. They should think about the real life situations where and when that vocabulary can be used.

7. Learners can also master new English vocabulary by reading thematic texts (materials), first of all on everyday topics with important content, for example: Practical Tips and Advice to Make Everyday Life Easier and Better (practical solutions for everyday problems). Such self-help books on settling everyday matters are available at book stores.
Learners must write down unknown vocabulary in whole sentences. It is essential that they practise telling the content of the texts that they have read. As people say, practice makes perfect.

8. Constant review of material ensures solid knowledge and success in learning.
9. It is very important that learners also make use of other important aids on a variety of topics to improve their English conversation and vocabulary skills: audios, videos (English learning videos, travel videos, etc.), Internet resources, English learning magazines, newspapers, newsletters, radio programmes (especially the BBC English learning programmes/materials), TV programmes (educational programmes, documentary films, movies, news), books and e-books on a variety of subjects, online communication with native English speakers (chat, email, Skype).
Good libraries have a wide selection of English learning aids.

I request that you publish this article on your website as my contribution if you find it important (with my name). We could also discuss the issue of effective methods and aids for learning English. Information exchange could be mutually beneficial to us. I am open to your suggestions to improve my Effective Methods for Mastering English Conversation and Vocabulary.
All the best.



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