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  • John Douglas
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • June 13, 2011, 06:28:47 pm
    • Gwangju City, South Korea
Suggestions for language learning in 5 steps
« on: June 18, 2011, 10:09:02 am »
Have you noticed that many Korean English teachers correctly say "every day," but then say "every students"?
I've offered the advice below to them as a probably guaranteed  way to elimninate this and most other grammar mistakes, but they don't show much interest.

I wanted to post this as an attachment, but I'm having trouble with attachments. You can make this into a file yourself and print it as a single page.

                          Five Steps for Success in Language Learning
Koreans should stop memorizing English, and learn it! To do so, I recommend that teachers encourage students to try a system of 5 steps. They are based on studying grammar books like Raymond Murphy's Cambridge University Press books, (American) "Basic Grammar in Use" and "Grammar in Use Intermediate," as well as their vocabulary books, but at least step 4 can be applied to other books.
   Step 1: Study, but do not intentionally memorize, the explanation for a small amount of grammar on a left-hand-side page of a book like "Basic Grammar in Use."
   Step 2: Do the exercises for that bit of grammar on the corresponding right-hand-side page, but be sure to write the answers on a separate piece of paper. Otherwise, you will limit the usefulness of the book because the answers written into the book will interfere with your ability to review the exercises effectively, which is important for step five. Expressing oneself in a foreign language involves making choices, and step two gives you some practice, even if only through analytical exercises.
   Step 3: Correct your answers by consulting the answer key at the back of the book.
   Step 4: Most importantly, "think English into your brain" through practice making your own sentences, mainly in oral form. Although it is advisable to write some of your oral sentences down, do not spend too much time on this because it slows down your practice making choices. Do not merely repeat the sentences in the book. Here, in contrast to step two, you want to use your greater freedom to make creative choices, while hopefully distancing yourself from an overly analytical approach in favor of thinking in English. A simple example of such thinking would involve avoiding the first of the following three items: (1) the Korean word "ch’aek," which translates (2) the English word "book," and (3) the corresponding object that people read. However, despite correctly thinking in English, you must not fall into the mistake of making more than three or four consecutive oral sentences of the same grammatical kind (unless your focus is on vocabulary) since this would lead to monotony and would start to deactivate even the most eager mind, thereby resulting in diminishing returns for the effort made. Indeed, variety is crucial here, so go on to several other grammar points, each time doing steps one through four. To get maximum benefit from your oral sentences, produce them with variety including the subjects (I, we, you, he, she, they, or nouns), and simultaneously perform your own actions when grammatically possible (for present tense continuous "I" sentences) or create mental images of your own or others' actions or states of being. Step 4 and free conversation, as two kinds of practice making linguistic choices, will nourish each other.
   Step 5: Soon you will be ready to do step five, cyclical review, perhaps 1, and then 2, 4, and 8 days, etc., later. This is the second most important step because the repetition of step four is crucial for the success that memorization can not bring. When you review the grammar explanations and exercises as needed, be sure to concentrate on thinking in English, rather than translating, and use your old answer sheets.
   Use these 5 steps, free conversation, even with other Koreans, and extensive listening and reading, and be the master of your own destiny in learning English. When the correct grammar form feels right to you because of your experience thinking in English, and the grammar rule becomes only the second reason why the correct form is correct, then you have arrived! If you are a parent, you can explain the five steps to your middle school and older children.

  • SpaceRook
  • Expert Waygook

    • 814

    • November 18, 2010, 11:54:36 am
    • South Korea
Re: Suggestions for language learning in 5 steps
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2011, 01:54:23 pm »
Step 5 is really key.  The great news for many Koreans is that they already have a lot of latent English knowledge in their heads.  If they go through a book like "Grammar In Use" and really set up a disciplined review schedule, they would improve their understanding dramatically.