How To Learn A
Part One: Helping Yourself
The chapter begins by outlining fifteen key areas in effective language learning. Each area has nine statements of good practice.
What you have to do is read each statement carefully and consider to
what extent you do the activity described. There are three possible
answers: always, sometimes, never. After working your way through all
135 statements you will have a precise picture of your individual
strengths and weaknesses. (If you find that a particular statement
doesn’t apply to your own learning situation then ignore it and go on
to the next one.) You are then shown how to interpret your results and
construct an action plan to deal with any areas of concern.
If you prefer, you can skip the self-evaluation and read the entire book from cover to cover, or just dip in
to those sections that most interest you. In this case the page
references or hyperlinks that follow each statement of good practice
will take you directly to those parts of the book which contain further
information and advice on your chosen topic.
no use trying to learn a language if you’re in the wrong frame of mind.
A positive mental attitude is vital for success. The chapter starts by
asking this question: How motivated are you to learn a foreign language?
You are then asked to identify the various factors determining your
level of motivation. For example, if you are already highly motivated
and focused on the task in hand, then great - you may find that you’re
already doing many of the things recommended in the chapter. But if
you’re not, or you feel you need to increase your self-motivation, then
chapter looks in detail at important motivational issues such as target
setting, building up self-confidence, approaching difficulties
positively, and enjoying your learning. Effective communication
techniques are outlined, and advice is given on how best to review and
reward your own progress. Put all of this into practice and you’ll find
that you make greater and faster progress in language learning.
environment in which we learn a language is vitally important. The best
one of all is being in the foreign country, but for many of us this is
not always possible. It may be that you are attempting to learn a
language all on your own, but you are probably part of a class
being taught by a teacher at school, college or university. If this is
the case, then you have to make sure that you’re getting the most out
of the experience. It’s no use attending classes if you’re not
maximizing your effort and involvement in them.
chapter gives you practical advice on doing just that. The main areas
looked at are pre-class preparation, anticipation of what the teacher
will be doing, how best to participate, questioning strategies and
after-class reviews. Students who apply these techniques consistently
make quicker progress and achieve greater success in their language
studies. Make sure that you are one of them.
organisation is the key to effective learning. Students who are
well-organised find the whole learning process much more
straightforward, and are more likely to succeed. Research has shown
that the process of learning a language depends on many things: your
own natural ability, your self-motivation, your self-confidence, the
time you have available, the opportunities you have to practise, and so
on. However all these things are made very much more difficult if you
lack good organisational skills.
chapter describes in detail the practical organisational skills and
techniques needed to learn a language. Extensive guidance is given on
the following areas: forward planning, time management, presentation of
work and storage of resources. Organising your work can take up a lot
of time in the initial stages, but once you have a system (and stick to
it) the time savings in the long run can be tremendous.