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The Gachon Herald
Learning English as a Second Language
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Updated : 2020.01.21  17:18:26
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 I was approached by a student to write an article about how to improve one’s English. For a non-native speaker, learning a second language is never easy. Deep inside you, there’s always a feeling of self-doubt and you even question yourself, why do I need to study English when I’m living in Korea and people here speak Korean, not English. Well, the answer is simple, the more languages you know, the more opportunity that awaits you in the future.

 As I have always said in my English class that the English language is not just a bling subject. You will reap the benefits in the future.
One of the hindrances in learning the language is that the student is afraid to commit a mistake. They are always worried about being criticized with their grammar, accent, and their limited vocabulary.  Thus, giving them doubts, that hinders them to speak the language with confidence. When you want to study and improve your English, first things first, STOP, STOP, again, stop overthinking!

 I am sharing here with you some of the learning that I had in my almost 10th year of teaching experience.

Learning the language is not difficult but it’s how you think about it. You have to program your neurons that learning new things can be fun and beneficial at the same time. Forget about making mistakes, it’s inevitable. There’s a famous quote that states, “Your best teacher is your last mistake.” Don’t be shy and learn from your mistakes, in that way, you will feel comfortable, relax, and confident in speaking.

Practice makes perfect. There is no short cut in learning and speaking better English, it doesn’t happen overnight. The best way is to speak, speak, and speak. It is the only way you can get better. It takes time of constant practice and tons of patience. Don’t fixate yourself over grammar but focus more on fluency and comprehension. You will still be understood and you will sound a lot better if you don’t hold back. Always remember, as long as you try your best you will succeed in your goal.

There are different sources of media platforms that are widely available such as, movies, television, newspapers, magazines, books, YouTube, social networking sites and so on. For beginners, I would highly recommend learners to watch simple and slow conversation kind of Television series, such as Modern Family. The setting is very light, it’s funny, it’s not too long and most importantly, it is easy to learn and understand. Watch it with subtitles both in English and Korean and don’t forget to keep a journal. Take note of unfamiliar words, different expressions, vocabularies or even sentences that you may find useful for you. For the pronunciation part, you may pause and imitate the artist on how they pronounce the word properly and the intonation as well. You may also record your voice to check your fluency.

I once asked a senior student before who speaks English like a native to advise to new learners. According to her, apply as many English programs as you can -like studying abroad, learning TOEIC and so on. Programs that will help you enhance your English level.

Learning English alone in Korea will not suffice your knowledge and proficiency. Try studying abroad whether on a short course or for a long term basis.  Make friends with other nationalities. In that way, you will have to apply the things that you have learned.

 Good luck and I hope you learn something from me.

 Be crazy and Be creative!
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