EDITING : 2024.4.22 월 18:51
The Gachon Herald
English Too Difficult? Break it up!Tips for making English study easier with smaller steps.
kweagle  |  g.herald1984@gmail.com
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Updated : 2023.03.18  22:50:12
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 Students often ask “How can I improve my English? They wonder if they should memorize vocabulary, study grammar, watch movies, listen to music, or a different option they aren’t even considering. Language study is already stressful, and these questions make it even more difficult!
 However, “How can I improve my English?” might be the wrong question. Learning English is a very large task, and students are often overwhelmed by trying to do too many difficult tasks at the same time. Students are already busy with family, friends, and schoolwork – adding a giant project like English study is often too much to handle, leading to the famous “three day effort,” better known as “작심삼일.” So how can we avoid this?
 One simple solution is think smaller! Instead, ask “What part of English do I wish to improve? Reading? Conversation? Listening? Grammar?” and start there. Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are all very different skills – just like in the Korean language or any other! So instead of trying to do everything at the same time, break it into smaller tasks.
 Instead of thinking about “mastering English” as a plan, take a pen and paper and write a list from 1-5, and list what part of English you’d like to learn, with #1 being the most important. Then take some notes about why that is important to you. Then – the fun part! Look at each area and think about something in that category that you enjoy. Something you like to speak about, hear about, or read about, for example! Of course, this can be difficult, so let’s examine some ideas about each.
 If you want to improve speaking, you might ask yourself why speaking is so difficult for you. Some students have trouble with pronunciation, others with grammar, and some just have trouble remembering English while also considering what they want to say! Others are scared of feeling criticized for speaking slowly or making grammar mistakes. Try to identify why you feel worried about that – you probably needed not!
 Similarly, what about listening skills? Many students think – correctly! – that watching movies or TV shows can help them understand natural English speaking. But what should you watch? The answer is simple: watch whatever is going to keep you listening! Do you think you could watch The Avengers again, but without Korean subtitles? Maybe! Do you think you will watch a four-hour long performance of Shakespeare, or hours of boring news broadcasts? Probably not. And that’s okay!
 What about reading? Reading is a wonderful way to improve vocabulary and see how grammar works, all while slowly looking at each word carefully. However, in our Internet-focused society, it can be difficult to focus long enough to read for very long. So read something you enjoy! This could be a novel like Harry Potter or even a Batman comic book. The best thing to read is whatever keeps you focused and makes you not want to quit. The truth is, if you don’t like it, you probably won’t do it!
 Taking each of these smaller areas of language and handling them one by one, goal by goal, is much easier than trying to master the entire English language at once. With students spending hours in the library slowly, painfully memorizing things, it becomes clear why English language study has such an unpopular reputation. The truth is it really can be fun! Discover what exactly you want to learn and think of how it can be more fun for you! Because if you don’t enjoy it, you probably won’t do it!

▲ Dept of. Global Language Center

Prof. Leeder Kevin John

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