Six months ago, I started preparatory school from elementary level and I am now in upper intermediate level. During this time, I tried to do various activities to have a better command of English. My aim was to do something different from the other students. I think it was because of my understanding of learning English. I am eager to learn and I always wonder everything about English since I love this language. In my point of view, this is the most significant aspect of learning.
What did I do outside to have a better command of English?
My learning English process continues apart from doing homework. Frankly speaking, I don’t like that like most of the students because I see it as something which is compulsory. Although I am aware of its benefits, I can’t accept doing homework just because of my teacher. That made me think about different methods of learning and doing research to find websites which include interesting and meaningful content.
I am now going to explain what I did to improve different language skills in more detail.
Reading: I found many resources to read as I couldn’t like reading English books. In the beginning of the process, I started to read some magazines which are written for kids such as National Geographic Kids and Time for Kids. I could read about many subjects that I was interested in. Due to the fact that I got bored easily, I forgot them. I am using a different strategy these days. When references are written under the articles which we read them in the classroom, I search the references on the Internet and I continue to read the writers’ other articles on other subjects. It is good to be informed about not only themes of the units but also different ones. Nowadays, Wikipedia also helps me to learn the things I am interested in. I continue to read in English with the help of blogs written by businessmen/women and instructors who teach English as a foreign language. I can learn some tips about methods of learning English and business life. Besides all these, I found a website (http://spreeder.com/ ) that helps me to improve my reading speed and comprehension. In these days, I am spending my time with this website and I am choosing reading texts among the blogs( http://www.twingly.com/top100?lang=en ), news site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ ) and magazines in English. In short, I try to read more informative and attractive texts which are about my areas of interest.
Listening: I really needed to improve my listening skill. At first I wasn’t good at listening so I tried to find some websites. I benefit from a news site (http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/ ). I can read and listen to the news at the same time. This is the most useful practice to improve my listening skill. Another thing I like is songs. I listen to songs and tried to understand their lyrics. Apart from these, I listen to some people who have made speeches in conferences about their business experiences ( http://www.ted.com/speakers ). Even though I can’t understand meaning of all sentences, I don’t give up. Finally, I listen to the news and other programs which give information on various subjects (http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/ ) instead of watching movies/series with English subtitles. When I do these activities, I am happy and I can enjoy all of them except for the podcasts we listen in class.
Writing: That was the most problematic area for me because of my way of thinking. From the beginning, I tried to use different things in spite of my instructors’ feedback but they couldn’t prevent me using different words and sentence patterns which I didn’t learn in my writings. I was eager to write better. I insisted on using them and while my instructor was giving writing feedback, I always said that “How can I write the new words or patterns in the correct way?” I am happy now to do that because it has opened new doors to me. I have a learning diary in a website (https://penzu.com/p ) due to instructor Beyza’s great idea and I benefited from this in all levels. There is no doubt that it has been the most significant and effective thing in my learning process.
My recommendation to other students who learn a foreign language is that to be eager to learn a language is the most crucial thing in the learning process. If a language learner regards learning something as unnecessary, s/he won’t learn better. Learning language is a long process and during this time learners shouldn’t give up and lose their hopes. They should be aware of their skills which they are good at or bad at and they should improve imperfections of their learning skills. Another noteworthy advice is that they shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes and they should be risk takers to learn better.
I can recommend some internet resources for meaningful practice.
-for reading practice
-for listening practice
-for grammar practice
-for speaking practice
-for writing practice
I should say that until started preparatory school, I hadn’t read, written or spoken anything in English for a long time as I hated English owing to my ex teachers who have tried to teach English. These six months have changed everything in terms of learning English. I believe that I made progress with the help of my instructors’ ideas and these activities.