5 Tips How To Study English Effectively
This is not another blog post that offers you a magic formula how to master a language overnight. As a teacher, I can repeat the advantages of reading for a foreign language learner or suggest how to describe a picture during an examination to impress the raters. Nonetheless, it is regularity and persistence, or the Churchillian blood, sweat, and tears, that help gradually speak better and gain more linguistic confidence. Learning another language is a time-consuming process and, therefore, the time quality of the time matters over not the quantity. Read my guidelines to know what can you improve.
Kill All the Distractors
Before you start revising or learning log out of your Facebook, switch off all the notifications in your smartphone or turn on the airplane mode. Why? To be honest with yourself; when you study, you only focus on it. As a matter of fact, you cannot effectively learn when you simultaneously chat with a friend or scroll down a news feed. Living in the social media oriented times made our attention span shorter, hence, concentration on one task at a time is becoming an outstanding trait of character. Multi-tasking is a huge disadvantage here which lowers your productivity significantly.
2. Self-discipline Over Motivation
Self-discipline in the process of learning is a key. Motivation is not. Many authorities or coaches speak lovingly about motivation that should help us feel the flow towards reaching our aims. The reality turns out to be different than we expect because, presumably, we tend to do a lot of things in a short period of time. When we’re tired and we feel the motivation is reaching the end only self-discipline will give us a helping hand. It is a skill and it can be trained just like a muscle. A clear plan of tiny step by step progress that should be done when a motivational fuel is over.
3. Adjust Slowly to Changes
I find it strange to write it but yes – you are allowed to make mistakes and retry regardless of others opinion. Let’s assume you want to revise English and take the CAE exam in fall so a new part of your daily routine is listening to podcasts with the authentic language. At the beginning, try to listen to them three times per week. When you feel it is already on your weekly schedule on a regular basis, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and change the frequency from 3 to 4 times per week. Try to find the solutions that you feel the most comfortable with and when your aim is already fulfilled, take another step that can lead you to a new quality.
4. Make Appointments With Yourself
Reserve the time for studying in your calendar. I’m dead serious about it although it may sound like a joke. It’s all about defining your priorities. Maybe in the next week, you can devote 30 minutes to English on Monday, Thursday and Sunday from 9 AM so note it down in your analogue or digital planner and do it. When someone asks you what do you do on Monday, Thursday or Saturday morning and offers a meetup, reply politely you have a very important English class and refuse. The time for studying should be found and treated as equally important as other actions in your life that require your attention and engagement.
5. Control The Progress
Every single week, month, 3 months and 6 months make a critical evaluation how did you spend your free time and give yourself some feedback. What are you the most proud of? What can be done slightly better in the upcoming weeks to reach your goal? Are your priorities made 3, 6, 9 or 12 months ago still valid? Does something have to be neglected permanently to focus on what is really important to you? What can you do to steadily get out of your comfort zone and prove yourself you can? Brainstorm the ideas and always note down the reflections that come to your mind. It’ll be a perfect starting point for you to know where to go and not to get lost once you’re overwhelmed by others to-do lists that are obligatory to them but not to you.
Now an exercise for you. Take a look at your New Year’s resolutions list if you have one or make a list of your personal priorities but try to remember to 1) stay specific about your tasks; being generic won’t help you, 2) be critical about the words ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ – it is your own plan or someone else puts the pressure on you? Try to eliminate or reduce the areas you need to stay more assertive, 3) how often will you control your progress and review your list. Once you have finished, please write a comment on what do you do to stay on track with your dreams and not to discourage? Let me know here or via e-mail. I keep the fingers crossed for your increasing effectiveness in terms of learning English! <3