How To Learn Effectively From English Teachers

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You’re missing the point of having an English teacher

Since you’re paying (not the English teachers but the school) tons of money to study English, you might as well learn a thing or two. I know this sounds mean but don’t let the teacher relax in the classroom. Use him or her to the max. Ask your English teacher to repeat as many times as needed. Here’s what usually happens:

You want to say something in English. You’ve got the idea and maybe even the words but the sentence is just not there. The words are not coming out in a sentence. Teachers , if smart and experienced, as you would certainly hope they are, most likely get it. They should know where you’re heading with it. Most of the times, they say the sentence on your behalf.

When that happens, you’re often so happy the torture is over that you just nervously nod and move on. You’re happy enough that someone, anyone understands you. What you don’t know is that you have just missed a valuable learning opportunity.

What you need to do is repeat after the teacher and confirm: “Did i say this right?”, “Was that what you said?”, “Did this come out right?” etc. You have a better chance remembering the words you heard if you speak them. Your brain is more familiar with your own voice. It’s more likely to remember the sounds you produce and the mouth movements you perform.

English teachers as your audienceTreat English teachers as a patient audience

English teachers will possibly use words you have never heard or used before. Do not let them slip. Jot some words down and if you need help with spelling, ask the teacher to spell it for you. Remember, your interaction with the teacher is very valuable and so you need to make the most of it.

Strangers are not and cannot be as patient with you. Very few people, if any, outside the classroom will repeat the same word, phrase or sentence for you. Or wait for you to pull a pen out and write it down. Teachers are getting paid for this. They are getting paid to be like parrots, to be patient and not to strangle you no matter how idiotic you sound.

Test yourself with your teacher. Learn some new idioms or slang expressions that you feel shy of using with strangers and try them out with your teacher. I hardly ever hear students use phrasal verbs for example. They’re terrified by them because they have no idea how to use them and by how people might react. With your teacher, you don’t need to worry about that. You need an audience, a patient audience. That’s what English teachers are or should be, a patient audience. It’s okay to make mistakes with them.

Beg them to correct you

Similarly, English teachers should be okay to correct your mistakes and not be afraid of upsetting you or offending you. Some teachers are very hesitant as they don’t want to hurt your feelings. If that’s how your teacher feels, you’re wasting your time and money. You won’t learn anything because without feedback, you are utterly in the dark.

So the first thing you need to do is go up to your teachers and ORDER them to correct you. Say “Please correct me” or “I would like you to correct me”. Tell them not to worry about your feelings and reassure them that you are not going to be offended by their correction. This way, they won’t be fearful of how you could react.

What English language learning comes down to

Language learning, any language, requires two things: repetition and feedback. Tons of repetition and feedback. Some students are blessed with the ability to self-correct while others are not. If you can correct yourself, goodie for you. If you can’t, then you need to use every opportunity to repeat and ask for correction. Even the worst teachers will be beneficial if you do what I tell you.

English teachers are more valuable repeating and correcting than just explaining and observing. Don’t let the teacher spend too much time speaking with you about English but rather speaking English.

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