If you make English relevant to your life you also make English interesting
Make English interesting.
Here is the most important fact about learning: To make English interesting you must make it relevant to your life.
You should learn a language to use it, not just to pass a test.
If you make English relevant to your life you make English interesting which means you will probably continue learning.
The longer you learn, the more you learn.
It’s that simple!
When learning isn’t interesting
There are many books and apps to help you to learn English, but they are all generic because they are trying to appeal to everyone – which is very difficult!
So, many of those books and apps are filled with general information – which doesn’t make the information seem relevant to you.
So you need to make your learning specific to your life.
The problem with text books
Here is another example from a book teaching english to adults. The focus of the chapter is ‘making conversation’.
I remind you that it was a book teaching english to adults.
The first sentence was:
“How many pets do you have?”
What’s wrong with that?
Well, it would be great if I were six years old.
(I can think of many adults who would simply walk away if I asked them that question.)
The point is, much of language learning should be logically centred around real life.
You should not be learning a language in order to pass a test but to use it.
Don’t separate learning English from reality.
How can you do it differently?
(1) Think of five ways that you start a conversation in French
(2) Translate those questions into English. (Use Google Translate – it’s not perfect, but it’s a start!)
(3) Check with your teacher that your phrase translates accurately – especially if you are thinking of turning the conversation into a date!
Your life in English should be exactly the same as your life in French.
DON’T let books change the way you use language.
Make irrelevant English relevant!
Another problem with text books …
Here is an example sentence which was used in a well known online language learning website:
“This girl is nice, but this boy is not.”
It was used to help me to understand the use of ‘le’ as a way of replacing an already mentioned adjective in French:
“Cette fille est gentille mais ce garçon ne l’est pas.”
Not only is it ‘general’ it’s also completely irrelevant! To find out how irrelevant it is, take a minute or two to think when you might say this.
Did you think of one?
Hopefully you will discover that you would in fact never say it.
It doesn’t make English interesting
But it is a sign for you to do a little bit of research and make up your own version of the sentence to make it relevant in your own life, because you are an individual!
“This skirt is reduced [in price], but this one isn’t”;
“this photograph is out of focus, but this one isn’t” or
“this avocado is ripe, but this one isn’t”, or
“this chicken is close to its sell by date, but this one isn’t” or
“Last week was sunny but this week isn’t.”
Sentences that you would say regularly in your own life.
If you can’t imagine someone saying it in your life, don’t practice it!
Use your friends
A good way of doing this is to think of five people you know. They will accompany on your learning journey. Each time you have to think of a new phrase in your lessons, think of one of your friends or work colleagues who is most likely to say it.
Try to choose your group of friends from different areas of your life.
Choose a friend from work, a friend you go out shopping with, a friend you meet at the gym, or a sibling or other family member.
The more realistic you can make the phrase in your life the more successful you will be in your learning.
Learning in Nantes
If you live in Nantes you can get great personalised conversation at Learnch, (click to signup) which offers two hours of English conversation for just 5€.
And when we say ‘personalised’ it means that YOU direct the conversation and we follow! Try it 🙂
To read more of our blog about learning English you can return to the home page here
Stuart opened Bards Language School, Nantes, in September 2017 – and Learnch, in March 2018 – to help French students develop their spoken English.