HOW CAN YOU LEARN ENGLISH EFFECTIVELY?
Anyone who starts learning English has the same question: What is the easiest way to learn this language? Learning a language is an ongoing process, especially for a non-native speaker of English. A lot of research has been done on the methods of learning a new language. In this blog, we will discuss some psychological aspects of learning a new language and how these can be incorporated into the process of learning a second language.
Read on to understand a few tried-and-tested ways of acquiring English (or for that matter, any new language).
LAW OF EXERCISE
Practice….... Practice…….. Practice, because the more you practice, the better you become. Edward Thorndike’s Law of Exercise lays emphasis on the importance of practice in the learning process. Remember how in school, your teachers made you write the spellings that you got wrong five times? Why? Because that’s the Law of Exercise! Simply speaking, concepts are strengthened when they are revisited and weakened when they aren’t used. So if you don’t want to lose it, use it. Practice grammar, practice speaking, practice vocabulary and master the language by taking these baby steps daily. Don’t underestimate the great power of small daily efforts.
LAW OF RECENCY
This law is connected to the Law of Exercise. We have a tendency to remember recent events and that is the reason why all of us revise just before our exams. That recap helps us perform better. Also, the brain works in an interesting way by strengthening the connection of concepts that have been recently visited. Being a voracious reader and re-visitor of concepts can give you the much-required revision of refreshing your vocabulary and grammar from time to time.
LAW OF INTENSITY
Being more enthusiastic to learn a new language is positively correlated with learning the language more quickly. Research suggests that while we learn new things, we need to connect them with our already existing pool of knowledge. This leads to deeper connections within the brain, as the new concepts are interwoven with already existing ones.
It is also a good idea to connect new concepts with real-life experiences or ideas. This can be done, for example, by using a grammar concept to create sentences related to your daily routine or using new vocabulary to describe people, places or events. By creating such hands-on experiences, you can build an emotional connection with the language and enhance your capacity to retain what is learnt. You can practice conversations, share your views or opinions on latest events, describe past events, talk about your favourite activities and create goals for the future. When you speak or write on such topics, you become more engrossed in the learning process and obtain results much more quickly.
A mnemonic is an effective way of remembering vocabulary. It is a method through which a learner can create a pattern, an idea, or an association that will be useful in remembering something. Mnemonics are powerful because they help the brain associate words with images or existing knowledge.
Mnemonics are of two different types:
- Word Associations
- Mnemonic Images
LAW OF EFFECT
Human beings are always looking for motivating responses from surroundings so that they are encouraged to engage in a specific activity. Always relying on extrinsic factors for incentives may not be a good idea. Then what should you do? Set short term goals, write them down and when those goals are achieved, you will feel confident and accomplished. Make this as your motivation to hit another shot of confidence. Learn for the pleasure of learning; learn for grooming yourself; learn for honing your skills.
Research also proves that when learning is associated with a gratifying feeling, it is strengthened, and in this way, the future probability of learning is enhanced. This is a cyclical process that it encourages the learner to retain the level of motivation by feeling good. Let’s assume your goal is to learn 200 words in a month. So to create short-term goals you can assign yourself 50 words every week. At the end of the first week when you are able to use 50 words, it will boost your confidence, make you feel good and inspire you to look forward to another 50 words in the next week. In addition to this, when you use these words in your day to day communication, you will evolve as a communicator, which will inspire you further to continue learning.
As a learner, you will find that relevant experiences are great learning opportunities, so use these methods to tailor-make an English Study plan.
Relevant Resources You Can Use
For learners embarking on the journey of learning English, THE BIG CD’s IELTS Vocabulary Flashcards are a must-have English language resource. This set of 352 carefully-crafted flashcards have been prepared by English language coaches and IELTS experts, keeping in mind the requirements of learners new to the English language. With these words, new language learners will be able to build upon a solid base for learning the fundamentals of the language.
Start your journey to mastering the English language today!
Deepti Agarwal has been an IELTS mentor for more than 15 years. She has guided hundreds of students in India and overseas for various tests including IELTS and helped them achieve their desired band score. She strongly believes that learning should not be limited or restricted to an exam but it should be applied to our everyday life and help us evolve our personality. She not only helps students in test prep, but also counsels them for various universities across the globe.