You might have found a dozen of techniques of learning the English language. But don’t rush to use all of them. I promise you will be surprised how many methods do not match to your level. I found 7 mythical techniques that won’t help you learn the English language, and students with basic and elementary levels should not use in everyday practice
Techniques That WON’T Help You Learn The English Language
1. Do not play games with your English.
If you choose the game-based learning (gamification) as a central technique and do not involve other methods, your progress will last for a short time but then you might come to a long standstill. Gamification is a perfect engaging technique for the in-class activities but a good teacher will never build the whole lesson on it. The problem is that a learner expects to receive a reward and not to achieve a result for his efforts.
I do not totally disapprove gamification because I currently use DuoLingo for learning French. I enjoy its gamified skill tree and points I get for completing a lesson. However, my 30-year old ESL student also used this platform and I noticed how fast she became bored with in-class traditional methods. I felt as if she was expecting to get a bonus for her listening practice and the high result was not enough. The same problem was with the children. They clearly showed their discontent when I included only one game into the lesson. At this point, you should realize that gamification can become a kind of dependence since your goals shift from learning a language to gaining points.
2. Do not focus on one activity solely.
A perfect lesson must include 4 activities – reading, writing, speaking, listening. It means you have to practice your pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary in correlation. You can’t divide a learning process into separate stages like “Ok, now I focus on my pronunciation!”, and move to the next step only after you finish the previous one. This is not a productive scheme, because when you do not work on your vocabulary via reading and listening, you cannot master a lot of grammar constructions properly. For example, it will be too complicated to cope with degrees of comparison without knowing 1-syllable, 2-syllable and other multisyllabic adjectives. This is why grammar is portioned at every level and connected to certain topics.
3.Stop translating to begin speaking.
When my students ask me to help them translate almost 80% of a sentence, I advise them to rephrase it using the words and tenses they definitely know. Any ESL student does the same when he writes his first essay – he makes a direct translation building sentences according to the logic of his native language. You speak and write to train what you already know. Of course, if you need those 1-2 unknown words to fill the gaps in a sentence, you can use a dictionary or your teacher’s help to find out something new.
4. Do not learn to write only via texting with native speakers.
This technique is efficient only in case you have the aim to learn everyday speech not concentrating on your grammar and spelling of the words. But if you need to learn how to write a 3-page essay or a 20-page academic style research paper, forget about such a technique! Begin working on your writing skills at your elementary level using such online tools as Purdue OWL for detailed tips on how to write different academic papers, StudentShare for following the best samples of essays, Grammarly for checking and detecting mistakes or typos in your written work.
5. Do not challenge the higher level.
I tested this technique as well as others mentioned in this article. Soon I found that my students became tired and irritated because of dealing with too difficult words and grammar structures. In the middle of a lesson, they looked puzzled with plenty of new information which hit them from all sides. Moreover, the students understood only 30% of listening exercises and I almost had to force them to write a 300-word essay on a chosen topic. I declined this method making a conclusion that everything has its own time and you can’t rush the process of learning unless you are ready.
6. Do not learn words out of the context.
When my passionate ESL student bought 3 boxes of flashcards with 900 new words, I couldn’t say to him bluntly that it was just a waste of his money. At first, I tried to apply them in our topic-based lessons but it took me twice more time to prepare a lesson and in 2 months of struggling I quit the whole idea. Regarding my teaching experience, I can suggest that cards only work if you have written the words with your own hand and taken them from a certain context (articles, dialogues, stories etc.).
7. Do not start learning English with a native speaker until you’ve reached the pre-intermediate level.
I know the exact time when you need to communicate with a native speaker and it is your pre-intermediate level. At your elementary stage, you will be more than enough communicating with a teacher or a few group mates. So, why shouldn’t you begin talking with someone who was born with this mother tongue? When you face the native speaker’s confusing pronunciation and 90% of unknown words blended in a very long sentence, you become baffled and scared to death with the first speaking experience. You might even think that you have no flair to learning languages and thus, you can give up. But it’s nonsense! Even if you begin hard, after you become accustomed to the native speaker, you can distinguish some words and give short replies.
There are more myths of learning the English language such as watching full-length films that can make you unable to catch up with a plot or reading unadapted fiction novels that can make you throw a book in your cat. Yet the worst technique is to begin preparation for IELTS or TOEFL having an elementary level. Such evaluation exams of language proficiency can cause stress after you get the lowest point.
Techniques that won’t help you learn the English language is a guest post written by Veronica Hunt. Don’t forget to share your views in the comment box below.