Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Learning Strategies: How to pick up a language

As an ESL teacher, I have found that some students don't know effective strategies or ways to learn better. In fact, I often how to teach student how to be students because some people have never learned how to learn and put in the effort to make progress.
 In some cases, I am surprised that a student arrives to class with a cell phone (or two), but he/she doesn't have a pencil or paper to write on. Unfortunately, this isn't an unusual case. Then, with no study plan or skills, the student may not make much progress and becomes frustrated.
While I try to help students learn better, they sometimes see me as a wall, rather than a bridge, to their success. Thus, I discuss learning strategies on a daily basis.
One simple thing students can do is to build their vocabulary by using a picture dictionary to learn the vocabulary of a specific theme and then create sample sentences around the grammar they are studying. Just having a dictionary sitting on your desk isn't enough. You need to know how to use it.


  1. the main topic is telling us how to make progress on learning English. Also, it said why some students did not improve their English.

  2. the main topic is the uneffective strategy to learn English better.

  3. the main topic is the uneffective strategy of some students to learn English better.

  4. One of the ways I have found to reach students is to describe a word. Since most students(even true beginners of the language) usually watch english TV shows especially english movies, they actually have more words than we(or they) expect. To show them this, I give them a word like BALLOON and ask them to describe it.
    Ask them questions to help them come up with the words(what is it made of? what can you fill it with?). You can usually get an average of about 10 words.

    Showing them that they can describe the word gives them a boost in confidence. After the first time, anytime the student wants a word, he must describe it until we are satisfied with the description before giving them the word WITHOUT translating or using their language.

    Personal Note: Grammar is overrated. You don't need grammar in order to communicate. Grammar is there to help one be understood easier. If that is the case, help the student to communicate first, THEN show him how to talk in a better structured way.

  5. Hey!!!
    your post is good.i also have some common and useful tips in order to improve English language..
    1)watch English movies.
    2)read newspaper.
    3)pick 2 or 3 vocab and try to use in your sentences..
    easier way to learn English language...

  6. Hey Randall,

    Great post - our team agrees. Students who simply put in more effort outside of class and actively listen during class will learn more. Playing around on your phone/s during class will only distract and decrease the value of your learning experience.

    That being said, I want to point out that there are a lot of students who benefit by working at their own pace in a one-on-one environment. That's why online classes provide enormous value. Students are enabled and empowered to choose to learn.



Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.



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