What are The Most Successful and Effective Ways to Learn English?
There are numerous reasons to set learning English as a goal.
Just to mention a few:
■ to facilitate communication with people from all over the world;
■ to improve business and career opportunities;
■ to get better chances to enter the most important universities in the world.
Moreover, learning English can be fun. It opens up doors to different cultures providing access to works of literature, music, movies, etc. All this sounds nice but, what are the most successful and efficient ways to achieve those goals? This question is similar to “what is the best method for learning English?” and, believe me, the answer is not an easy one. Why? Because academic research has proved that there is not just one best method for all learners. Different learners have different objectives, live in diverse environments, have special learning needs and, above all, have different learning styles.
As a prospect student of English, you can choose between:
■ Studying on your own using different tools like books, magazines, comics; English songs, videos, and movies; TV shows, news, etc; the internet, social networks where you can interact in English.
■ Attending a school or an institute. If you decide on this, it is important for you to understand what teaching methods and techniques the school you choose develops. They should suit your needs and enable you to enjoy and profit from your learning as much as possible. Your learning style is also of great importance to make a decision because it influences the way in which we understand information and solve problems.
■ Moving to an English speaking country, which, in most cases, is out of the question for innumerable reasons.
Bear in mind that your language learning will not advance much unless you study in a respected language school where you can meet other students in your same or similar situation and where you have a tutor who can guide you through the fantastic adventure of acquiring a new language using appropriate methods, techniques and procedures.
Language teaching methods have come a long way since the time when learning a second language was used to understand literary pieces written in that language and its teaching meant transmitting structural rules, focused on reading, writing, grammar, and analysis. This traditional method is still used and it is best for visual learners who like to learn by reading books or by having teachers who write rather than speak.
Other methods taught how to think and communicate using everyday sentences and structures and how to use the language spontaneously and even though students could interact, they were teacher-centered and the learning was not efficient because even after several years of studies, they were not able to speak the language properly and accurately.
In the last decades of the 20th century a major change took place: the development of the Communicative Language Teaching Approach with the following features:
Goal: learn to communicate successfully
Basic approach: the teacher facilitates communication while students try hard to interact using English
Focus on: interchange of messages understood by learners: meaningful communication; interaction among students and with other English speakers – lots of pair and group work.
The learning process is centered on the student allowing personal creativity
Even though there are several other methods and techniques, I can’t finish this article without mentioning what is known at present as Blended Learning, which, I think is the best way to learn a language. It appeals to all learning styles, situations, needs and demands. What exactly is blended learning? A combination of face-to-face (classroom) learning and e-learning (online). It is much more than adding computers to a classroom. It changes the approach to language learning by breaking down the traditional walls of teaching and providing access to modern technologies and resources useful for all types of students.
Blended learning increases student interest, keeps students focused longer, especially because students have access to many different types of content which are more stimulating, such as video and audio content. They can practice all skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing, in their own time, there are no restrictions on time, like in a traditional classroom, and they can get instant feedback. It makes learning fun! Learning shouldn’t be a one-sided all-serious process. By adding an entertaining twist to the material is more likely to increase the engagement level of learners.
Teaching programs designed in this way reach all types of learners alike. Integrating technologies and classroom activities, students can increase retention, engagement, responsibility, and enjoyment! So if you want to start learning English why don’t you check out Our Method, and see how you can reach your goals of learning English!