Learning of any new language is different from learning a new subject. To achieve success in the process of learning a language, one must follow certain steps. Those steps aren't filled with difficult procedures rather they're of simple techniques. To be more specific about those techniques, they're the steps which even we have followed (unknowingly), when we were kids at the time of learning our Mother tongue.
Most of the people, even though they've studied English, right from their school days, might be even in the English medium of instruction, still many of them are facing the problem of communicating in English. The problem is because they've been thought or learnt/studied English like a subject.
Many students/people if they've been asked about their English communication, they'll tell a common answer i.e. "…… I'm doing many grammatical errors; frequently I'm doing grammar mistakes etc." Here the reality is, they're not doing many mistakes but they're doing only some/same mistakes many times! The main reason for the mistake is worrying too much about usage of the grammar and also trying to make more perfect or standard answer/sentence. So in the beginning stage one should stop giving over importance to the grammar.
In this chapter, simple and effective attempts are made to develop the English communication. In fact these techniques are also tested on more than 40 students from different age group and academic background.
Language learning methods
There is no short cut method to learn a language. The method of learning a language requires certain steps. Practicing those steps with interest, will definitely results in effective learning of the language.
The language learning methods are as follows.
Those methods can also be abbreviated as L T S R W. They're
- L: Listening
- T: Thinking
- S: Speaking
- R: Reading
- W: Writing
1. Listening: Listening is nothing but ‘a process of hearing with concentration' for better understanding. But in the instant context, listening means observation of verbal communication like speaking (mainly for the formation of sentences), pronunciation, intonation while speaking etc.
As kids, at the time of speaking, even we were listening to our parents rather the speakers, that too with eye to eye contact. Now as a beginners or layman it'd be better if we start listening the language part, preferably The News! Here along with listening of the news it's equally important to observe the lip movement of the reader because it's also an important thing that is going to help us for the better pronunciation.
As we're more focusing on the development of English communication, listening of English news, is very much needed because it really guides a person in the areas like usage of words, pronunciation etc. So, as the 1st step one should start to watch the English news in TV channels and also listening news in Radio is a right method.
In initial stage it may happen to some layman that they're unable to understand the matter in the news. Fine it's not an issue! Still they must go ahead with the process of observing the lip movements. After some days even those people can able to understand without much difficulty. But listening is very important because it is the primary process which provides materials/ideas for the remaining 4 steps.
2. Thinking:This is another important process. Remember "if you want to speak fluently in English, you have to think rapidly in English". Yes! Thinking in any language will not only give good command over the language but also improves one's recollecting ability. For example, at the time of thinking any individual will think normally in his/her mother tongue. In case of solving problems, happy or sad movements he/she will do it in their mother tongue. This is because we're very much familiar to the language. To get the same degree of familiarity in English, one should start to think in English consequently he/she can speak in English fluently.
Once again if we go back to the example of a kid, after listening and before speaking, it'll think in its mind what to speak… Without attending any classes when a child has learnt a language means why not you and me! The same thing even we need to follow i.e. ‘thinking in English' but it doesn't mean one has to keep on thinking for the whole day. Just for 15 to 20 minutes (not more than half an hour) per day is sufficient. One common problem at the time of thinking in English is, thinking what to think? Most of the candidates are ready to think in English, but they may not able to decide what to think. In such case just start to recollect mentally, what're the things you did yesterday since morning 6:00 am to night 10:00 pm. Next prepare an action plan in English (Psychologically) for tomorrow/next day. Further think (in English) what you'll do ‘if you become Prime minister of India, CEO of a leading company etc… These kinds of scenario based questions, recollecting past events etc, will certainly makes a person to think rapidly, consequently one can improve not only the thinking ability but also the communication skill. Moreover at the time of remembering the past events the additional advantage is one can also improve his recollecting ability.
3. Speaking: The purpose of any language is for communication. In other words speaking is the most common mode of communication. For the effective speaking, one has to practice the art of speaking. The previous steps listening and thinking prepares a person to speak and speaking alone gives fluency in the language. So speaking is also equally important. Speaking to customer care executives (toll free numbers) is also a good exercise where we can improve the speaking skill.
One should speak without worrying about the mistakes. It'd be better if one starts to speak with a person who knows the language. Here are some more Do's & Don'ts which one should follow to get fluency.
- What you think that you become. So don't think that you can't speak. Think you can speak & you'll speak well.
- Select any simple materials to read. Read it loudly. Confirm the pronunciation if needed.
- While reading give adequate time gaps like full stops comas etc.
- Try to speak with yourself. At the time of doing so, record what you've read or spoken. After, you must listen what you have recorded so that, you can easily judge your own conversation and can make necessary modifications in your communication.
- Practice tongue twisters. Because it'll enhance your pronunciation and fluency.
4. Reading: This is another step to strengthen our communication skill. The significance of reading is to promote learning of a language. In fact there's no easy way to learn a language. The more you read, the more you understand. Reading of standard news papers, magazines etc will just provide bookish language of course it also helps to improve vocabulary but it'll not help in strengthening the communicative English. What to do then? In order to improve communicative English rather conversation skills one should read local newspapers with interest, preferably the columns like reader's forum, voice of reader etc. Further reading is an exercise to speak. So reading loudly with proper pronunciation and intonation, will surely results in speaking fluently.
At the time of reading have a dictionary with you to clear the doubts. It's always good to keep a dictionary, however knowledgeable you are! If possible try to have an audio dictionary or computer based dictionary (like CD's/DVD's or Chip) because, apart from knowing the meaning one can also learn the pronunciation. Moreover it's very much user friendly.
One more thing, one should do at the time of reading. That is transforming and substituting the sentences. Transforming in the sense, you have read something in the present tense. Try to put the same in any other tense like past or future (past participle). E.g. "… He has a nice handset" you can put this as he had a nice handset; he'll have a nice handset etc… Next substituting in the sense you read like Vivek selected a book; substitute it like this. Vivek selected a dress in ABC garments, Vivek purchased a book, Vivek bought a new car from UK etc. These steps will show a way to improve and strengthen the communication.
5. Writing: Another important method to improve communication skill is writing. Writing helps us to express ourselves. Writing can be a great tool to help us to understand more about the way we think. Writing can strengthen ideas and thoughts and allow us to reflect on them better.
Writing is one of the ways that we translate our thoughts for others. Some people are better in expressing themselves in writing than any other way. Writing assists us with other language tasks like formation of sentence, knowing the correct spelling etc. We can also learn to make a logical argument, and also to convince others mainly through writing. Further writing (either writing of ideas or copy writing) makes to understand and remember better especially the grammar areas in the process of communication. Copy writing in English, makes us to understand the complex grammatical aspects and also the correct spellings consequently we can improve our word power.
Conclusion: Language learning is an art. In this corporate era, English learning is very much significant. However, there's no easy way to learn any new language. It requires hard work, interest and sincere attempts. Moreover learning English or any other language, cannot be possible overnight so instead of expecting instant results, it'd be better to put honest efforts in learning. Secondly one should stop worrying about the mistakes while communicating, because even the native speakers are also doing certain mistakes. Further English is a foreign language and it's quite common to do mistakes in initial stage.
Last but not least the guidelines mentioned above are well tested, practically oriented and simple to follow. Those guidelines are based on minimum efforts maximum benefits principle. As a writer of this article and Sr. Trainer of communicative English I can assure one who follows those steps seriously, will learn effective communication of English obviously.
Practice makes a man perfect.
Wish you All the Best!