How to Learn English, by Carlos Navarro Heyden


We proudly present another example of student writing! Carlos is an advanced English student, as you will see by his excellent writing!

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Carlos, the second from the right, is a very dedicated advanced English student at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe.

How to learn English

 

            Learning a foreign language is one of the most current and imperative tasks we must approach in our present-day, since this has turned into a need for communication in a world each time narrower, and also since it is a non- exempted pre-requisite in more and more academic, commercial and professional settings.  And if we talk about English, this key assertion gets a critical prominence because of the worldwide significance of this language, certainly the most spoken language in the entire world and the common language for commercial, cultural, political and academic affairs.  All of us have seen, in any way, how English is used for transnational interchanges including a great   diversity of countries and cultures, from the West and the East, from the North and the South, from all the continents of our planet.  English is the leading language in international musical and artistic festivals, international sports competitions, academic encounters as conferences, congresses and symposiums, political high meetings, international trading events, and so on. Thus, learning English is a necessity we cannot avoid, and learning it in a correct manner is the best achievement to hope once we’ve started as English learners.  It is pertinent, in consequence, to know some crucial steps or cues that can help us to advance our careers as English fluently seekers.   Underneath, three of these practical cues will be exposed and explained.

1) Aiming deep and active attention.

In order to learn the English language in a suitable and skilled manner, the first important thing we must do is to pay active and deep attention to the set of topics which are relevant for learning it.  These basic topics have critic importance, and a fault in one of them can imply the impossibility to learn English with efficiency.  So, we must pay deep and active attention to the topics of grammar, spelling, listening, writing, pronunciation, vocabulary and reading.  The grammar topic constitutes the structure of the language, with issues as the tenses, the modals, the subjects, the verbs and the nouns among many others.  Spelling is important for their pertinence in relation with the correct alphabetical conformation of words. Listening is necessary since we have to learn to understand spoken English if we want to be suitable at English exchanges. Writing gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in a written English good fashion.   Pronunciation can be critical in English due to this language cannot be used appropriately without care on how the words are correctly said, and English pronunciation is particularly arduous.  Vocabulary is also relevant because of the need of a lexical enrichment in order to a higher ability in language use, and reading introduces us in the understanding of written English that can be so exciting to drive us to the enjoyment of English literature.  Deep and active attention to all these basic topics means that we are intended to work with them hard and constantly, always trying to improve our performance, without any amount of conformism.  If we don’t try this, and try it seriously, our eventual English fluently will be just an imagined tale, since these topics are essential for acquiring the language mastery.  Some of the personal dispositions we ought to get in order to this huge learning adventure are discipline, patience, tolerance, order, ambition, perseverance, real interest and, over all, work, work and more work.  We cannot forget that the achievement of English basic topics skills also requires time due to it isn’t an easy attainment.

2) Speaking as much as possible.

Secondly, a critical issue for English learning is to speak it as much as possible.  The acquisition of every new language needs to speak it as a requirement, and the experience has proven that the more time we practice to speak it, the more learning we obtain.    Although this requirement can be difficult and very challenging for almost new learners, because of the difficulty of applying grammar to conversation contexts and the difficulty of listening and pronunciation,   the constant practice in speaking the language with other people, principally with English natural speakers,   reaches good results because it is an accurate method to get familiarity and confidence with spoken English.  If someone pretends to learn English without speak it with others, it’s necessary to strongly remark that this is impossible due to English isn’t an abstract stuff, but a communication tool.  Consequently, the English learner needs to participate in all the possible and current instances for speaking English, such as conversation groups, meetings, appointments, parties, oral lessons and so on.  In order to practice our spoken English we need to be perseverant, self-critical, alert, inquisitive and –why not?–, also friendly and polite. In true, speaking English is a multi-modal approach since it allow us to practice all we‘ve learnt (as grammar, spelling, pronunciation and listening) in the real stuff, which is the stuff of daily face to face communicating interchanges.

3) The cognitive matter.

The third subject related with English learning has a crucial relevance.  It pertains to cognition field, and perhaps for this reason it’s less conspicuous for almost people.  Concretely, it’s decisive for us to learn to think in English.  As Spanish speakers, we use to think in Spanish all the time, and this is logical.  Our inner Spanish dialogue –the massive group of self-statements we make continuously in mind to guide our behavior, to connect our thinking, to give an interpretation to our feelings and emotions, to explain ourselves our inner and outer world–, has gotten a spearhead roll in our daily language making up, and maybe this is the main reason why getting English fluently is usually hard for us.   So, if we keep a daily practice in thinking in English, just talking ourselves and silently in this language while we make our daily routines, and doing it about our tasks, or our feelings, or even our plans –of course, applying correct grammar, spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary– we will become more and more English thinkers, a cute way to become also more and more English speakers. This can be explained because of the brain structuration of new neural systems that work as functional supports for the new language skills, a clear example of which is named in Neuropsychology “brain plasticity”.

In conclusion, the search for fluency in English as a second language is a step by step assignment, possible only by the means of a set of necessary and reasonable tasks, or cues, we have to perform with discipline and strong attention.  In other words, English learning works as a process in which every element is important and is connected with the rest in a logical and functional system. So, the most ability we get with the different elements, the higher probability we catch to acquire the language accurately.  And all ability improves as much as we are envisioned to practice and, practicing, to learn more and more.

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