How To Learn A
Part Three: Going It Alone
students who learn a foreign language in a classroom situation do so
from a textbook. This is normally chosen by your teacher and may be
part of a larger course stretching over a number of years. The general
pattern is for the class to work primarily from a textbook, with
additional materials being provided by the teacher if and when required
– these might be supplementary books, worksheets, extra texts, etc.
textbook can be the single most valuable resource you have, but only if
you use it well and explore its full potential. Every foreign language
textbook offers a wide variety of resources presented in an accessible
and user-friendly format. All you have to do is ensure that you take
the time to acquaint yourself with its contents. You might be surprised
at what you find!
purpose of this chapter is to show you how to do this, and to prove to
you that using your textbook effectively is a vital skill in language
learning. The form and layout of the average textbook are described in
detail, and advice is given on how you can actively exploit its wide
range of features and resources.
of what it would be like to do an advanced mathematics course without a
calculator – you might be able to manage it, but it would probably take
much more time and effort. Could you do an equivalent course in a
foreign language without a dictionary? Not so easy – if you don’t know
a word or expression, then looking it up in a dictionary is usually
your only option.
from your textbook, your dictionary is perhaps the most valuable
resource that you can have when learning a foreign language. Having
said that, learning to use a dictionary properly is not as easy as it
might appear, and much of this chapter is devoted to giving you clear
advice on how to use one effectively.
you are already well down the route of learning a language, then buying
your own dictionary makes a lot of sense. Detailed advice is therefore
given on choosing the right dictionary for your learning needs. The
chapter then describes the basic features common to all foreign
language dictionaries, with detailed explanations on how to access
them. Finally, guidance is given on how to acquire and practise
advanced dictionary skills.
a foreign language doesn’t just happen in the classroom. There are some
aspects of language learning that teachers find more convenient to
address by setting homework. The problem is that many students fail to
realize its importance, with the result that their progress in the
foreign language is severely limited.
purpose of this chapter is not only to demonstrate the importance of
homework in learning a foreign language, but also to point out some
ways in which you can make the most of it. We start by looking at two
key areas: the different types of foreign language homework set by
teachers, and the issues that arise when students are doing it. The
chapter also includes much practical advice on ensuring that homework
assignments are completed as well as possible.
mere mention of the word examination can have a variety of different
effects on foreign language students. These range from instant feelings
of fear, dread and panic all the way through to calm reflection on what
lies ahead. Most of us are somewhere in the middle: a little nervous or
concerned about how well we are likely to do.
well in a foreign language examination is not a question of mastering a
precise body of knowledge and recalling it at the appropriate moment;
it is more a test of how well you can apply the skills you have learnt
to the task in question. Having said this, you also need to master the
technique of preparing for and sitting examinations.
This chapter will give you some useful
advice on how to do exactly that. Effective revision techniques are
described in detail, along with strategies for maximizing your
performance during the actual examination.