When I was young, I struggled so hard to speak like every child does. Words were so difficult for me to learn, except my mother tongue. Our national language which is Filipino was quite hard to use. The reason perhaps is because we did not use the language in our everyday conversations. We did not have television or books, and we did not hear people in the neighborhood using the language. Some experts say that for children to easily learn other languages is mastering first the mother tongue. Whether this is agreeable or not, I have learned English through different ways with my own efforts.
In this article I am going to share some tips and techniques which I think are effective in mastering the English language.
First, we have to believe that English as the global language is the best way to understand other people from other nations, and that English would help us connect with each other. This thought will motivate us more to learn the language and we will become more determined. English is not the language which has been recorded to have the most number of users but this is the language of business, computing, medicine, technology, science and education. This means that English is used in various contexts. There are other languages like Cantonese; a variant of Chinese, which is used in many places and in a geographic sense, it is global. However, as I have mentioned already, English is used more in different contexts and that is why it is called the global language.
So, after conditioning our mind that English is the best way to connect with the world, the next thing that we should do is to think of specific ways to help us learn the language. As education is a lifelong learning process, it is the same with learning English. We just have to be patient. I have discovered ways, easy ways if done seriously, to learn it.
I have a pretty large collection of books in my bedroom.
I bought these books from different bookstores. Seriously; when I have money, I set aside some of it for buying new books. When I attend seminars and training’s, I make sure I leave home with at least one book. Some of them were gifted by my friends. It may sound funny but during Christmas and we have gift exchanges, I require them to give me books instead of other things. I may not have a very huge collection but my books range from different genre’s: English novels (mostly series like Hunger Games, Twilight, Fifty Shades, Harry Potter ). Some are novels by Nicholas Sparks: I just love reading romance. Others are inspirational books, and of course; grammar and composition. General reference materials like encyclopedia, atlas, almanac and a dictionary are also present in my collections. They not only help with learning the English language but they offer more facts and knowledge.
Another good way to learn the English language is through technology. Android and smart phones are really smart and humanlike. But unlike others, when I install applications and games on my phones, I install apps that help me become better in learning the language. I install grammar games, English videos, audio and dictionaries. Wherever I am, I can watch the English videos or listen to the audio. This way I can learn the correct and proper pronunciation. I observe how the speaker speaks. Before I would fall asleep at night, I’d play the audio. I’d play the grammar games when I get bored and when I have free time. When I would encounter unfamiliar words, I had my dictionary to look for their meaning.
Writing our thoughts is another way that helps us improve our English. I usually write when I am bored. I don’t know, but boredom seems to make me more creative. There are many articles I have written many years ago and I have them printed and saved on my laptop. Sometimes I go back to these writings and read them; then I would notice some errors and mistakes I’ve missed—I identify them and revise the articles. English is a dynamic language because grammar rules change. It is also important to let others read our outputs. We ask for their opinion and listen to their suggestions. I am glad I’ve found a good editor who is always willing to help me with my articles.
Finally, we should speak the language. We have to use it in our every day conversations. We may sound awkward at first, shy and we may fear that we’ll make mistakes, which is normal—It is part of the process. We will never learn until we know our mistakes. If we cannot find anyone in the neighborhood, someone whom we can talk to in English, we have our social network. I have gained so many friends on social media: we talk through Facebook, Skype, Wechat, or Viber. I am learning from them and they learn from me as well. We always do this until we have the natural accent. Our fear may hinder us from learning the language, but don’t be afraid. Others also have made mistakes. It is even better if we look for native English speakers. They can help us learn easily.
I have developed my communication skills well by hosting programs and activities, not only in the school but also in our town. Since I graduated from college, I’ve hosted pageants. I feel I’ve become the favorite host in our town. Do I sound like I’m bragging? I just believe by saying this will add to my confidence.
Speaking in front of a large audience takes a lot of courage. Many of us suffer from stage fright, but we can only overcome this when we speak with a large audience. I’m glad I’ve overcome this fear. However, there are still times that I feel nervous when I’m asked to host a program. There are many reasons why we may feel this way, no matter how experienced we are at public speaking, especially when we are standing in front of prominent personalities; politicians and school supervisors for example. I learned what I call the FEEL-LIKE-YOU-ARE-THE MOST-INTELLIGENT technique. I have to think I am the smartest, the most important, and the greatest person in the occasion—this boosts my confidence. Some audiences are keen at observing your mistakes, but don’t think about them. Unlike writing where we can always correct our errors, speaking is more difficult because you cannot always correct your mistakes. Just go on! No one is perfect right?