SLC in Europe

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Study Tips

“Why do you learn English?” we asked many of our students. The resounding reply was “so I can speak it”.

96% of information you receive each day is heard and seen, the rest is read or written. So if you want to be in the main 96% you have to be able to listen, observe and understand and then be able to communicate that information onto the next person where necessary.

This is how you learn most effectively. An old English phrase says “a picture is worth a thousand words” but if you don’t practice speaking as much as you can you may never be able to make yourself understood when you pass that information on to the next person.

Exposure, Exposure, Exposure

Expose yourself as much as possible to whatever language you are learning. Your studies shouldn’t start when you enter the classroom and finish again when you leave. It should be a consistent daily routine.

Do you remember how you learnt your own native language? Most children can speak long before they go to school…..and how is this possible?.... because every day you were exposed to your native language from your parents, family, and friends, when you start to study a second language the procedure should be the same (I am not suggesting that you should move back home to your mum and dads but).

For those of you who have lost your way

use these suggestions below to help yourself receive the maximum exposure:

1) Visit your local library or British Centre

I know it’s not as busy there as it used to be back in the old days, but nothing can replace the comfortable familiarity we all feel when we lounge around on the bus or lay on our couch at home with a good book or books recorded to tape. They may not be big on variety but they do have books and tapes especially written/recorded for learners. Also stop in now and then to your local second hand book shop. The prices are cheap and occasionally you’ll find something that will interest you.

2) Check out the Net

There are more resources available to you on the Net than you could ever believe. Ask your teacher which sites they would recommend or give yourself a good hour on a lazy weekend afternoon and sit down to browse yourself. Most of the Internet is available to read in English (but usually English written for native speakers so sometimes it can be a little hard to understand, but persevere and keep an on-line dictionary at hand). The Net is also a great place to find material spoken in different accents as well. A perfect for solution for the business person who wants to be able to understand English spoken by a Bulgarian or some other non native country.

3) Turn on the radio

It changes from country to country, but most EU countries transmit via radio stations small sections of news and other topics of interest from the BBC almost every day. Ask around and find out when and where they are being transmitted. Or go online, straight to the source. You can listen to a variety of previously transmitted radio shows directly from the BBC radio website. Play it quietly while you’ve got some light work in your office or burn some of the show to a CD and listen to them in your car on your way to work.

I don’t recommend using self-help language learning CDs when you’re driving. Statistically these CDs cause almost as many accidents on the road per year as people who use their mobiles while driving. I read it on the Internet somewhere so it has to be true

4) Watch some films or shows

from either the Net or satellite. And don’t be ashamed to sit down in front of the TV and watch kids’ shows. The language is much easier to understand and you can always tell anyone who sees you that you were just checking if it is suitable for you kids or family

5) Saving the best till last, Always carry a small notebook in your pocket

Try it. You will be amazed at how many things you use or see everyday that you don’t know the words for. Write them down and check them in your dictionary later. You can also do this and practice your speaking while you’re at home in the evenings or weekends, as your walking around your home or doing some simple house maintenance try talking to yourself. Ha ha, yes I know it sounds crazy. E.G “I’m dusting the shelves, then I need to wash the dishes and after that have a shower, hmmmm I must remember to wash my back”…. It really works! Business men have been doing the same thing all around the world for many decades. Now some even stand in front of a mirror and record themselves on tape to practice their speeches and presentations.