The Best Ways To Learn

The Best Ways To Learn

So, I’ve been thinking again, about all the different methods people use for learning English (or any foreign language, like me learning Czech) and how a lot of people struggle to find the right system or style of learning that suits them the best. Video is my preferred way (sign up for my new course here), but why is that? What about the alternatives?

Textbooks

books

I know you’ve tried textbooks, and while they can work for some people, they also bore the pants off other people. If you’re one of those people, read on.

Pages are only two dimensional, so that means at the most two learning styles; words and pictures. They also take so long to work through, especially when you don’t have someone to explain to you the bits you don’t understand. However, learning at least some basic grammar from a book is a great way to start.  So what else can you do to complement learning from a book?

Native Speakers

One to one sessions with a native speaker are a good way to practise what you already know and they are an opportunity to ask your English teacher questions. However, it’s very easy to go with the flow and keep talking without listening. I have found that many of my clients love to speak and talking-womenlove to have deep conversations about all sorts of things from travelling to family life, from sports to spirituality. Often, it seems like people will tell me things in English they would never tell others in Czech. My point is, that although face to face, one to one English lessons with a native speaker are a great way to practise, you are probably not learning as much as you would like. They do, however, bring you confidence and should excite and inspire you.

Group Sessions

So what about group sessions and courses? These provide a superb opportunity to learn a lot, quickly, if you can keep up with the group speed that is. On the other hand, maybe you get bored waiting for the slow ones in the group when you want to move on to the next bit. You can also practise talking with others if you have the confidence to speak in front of the group and it’s a great way to meet others who share your passion for learning.

Going Abroadtelephone-box-red

Holidaying and studying in a foreign country (or even living and working abroad) is thought of as the best way to make quick improvements.  As you can immerse yourself in the language, you are forced to speak. This is probably the most expensive way to learn but you will make the quickest improvement in your understanding and maybe have the most fun!  Since I moved to the Czech Republic my level of comprehension has increased and I have found that I am able to remember new words much easier than when I was learning Czech in the U. K.  While I’m recommending it, I understand that for many people it might not be a realistic possibility.

Audio Books etc

I’ll end with what I believe to be two of the worst ideas. Firstly, listening to audio CDs, MP3s or podcasts WHILST DRIVING! You should be concentrating on your driving not trying to remember new words and phrases, let alone complex grammar rules. Stick to the music, that can be English language songs at least.  Car driver girl.pngAudio is also only one learning style.

Secondly, and I admit I am also sometimes guilty of using this method, is a reliance on Google Translate or other online dictionaries. These, in my humble opinion, should be kept for the odd word or phrase you don’t understand, not used to translate entire emails, PDFs, articles, web pages, reports or seminar notes etc. Try to work out as much as you can first, because trusting yourself will build your confidence. Then and only then, go back to fill in the gaps using an online translator or old fashioned paper dictionary (remember those?).

Conclusion

Ideally, you might use a combination of these methods. If you have the time (to attend a group, see someone for 1-1 lessons, study at home from a book, listen to audio (safely!) and take a yearly trip to study or practise in a native English speaking country) then you would be covering a number of learning styles giving yourself the best chance to improve quickly and remember what you learn. Studying something everyday is key.

Next week I’ll talk about my favourite way of learning; video. You can sign up now for my free mini course to learn about your most common mistakes. Fill in the form below or click here and I’ll add you to the ‘Better Your English Now’ video mini course list.

The Most Common Mistakes You Make.

The Most Common Mistakes You Make.

So, you’ve got a lecture or class to take in English next week. Maybe you’ve got an interview coming up for a job that requires English. You want to improve your basics fast and cut out those silly mistakes so you don’t sound like an idiot. What about those English emails at work? They aren’t going to correct themselves and you told your boss you can speak and understand English, right?

You need to know two things. One, what are the mistakes you’re making. Do you know? I bet you know some of them, but others you are not even aware of. Two, how do you correct those mistakes and bad habits (like forgetting to put an S on the end of verbs for he/she/it etc.) and how do you remember them?

Now, you know me. I like mistakes, it shows that you’re trying and not afraid. That’s great  of course, but, if you really want to improve quickly, one thing you can do is correct a few of those nejběžnější chyby v angličtině. I’m sure I made plenty of mistakes in my last post, which I wrote in Czech.

Luckily for you, over the last five years I have made notes on the most common mistakes that my students make and I’ve made a great, online, video course to help you correct many of those English mistakes. You can sign up for the mini course for FREE here and find out about your most common mistakes and how to fix them. Enter your email and I’ll send you the link. Entry is via email link only so sign up now or you might miss out.

Today, I’m going to focus on one of your most common mistakes. Confusing when to use come and go, and came, got and went.  An example of a typical mistake would be when we are sitting in a cafe and you say to me, “I came home from work at 6pm yesterday.” This is wrong because we are not in your home, we are in a cafe and where you are dictates which verb to use. You could remember to ‘come here’ and ‘go there’ but it’s not as simple as that.

In order to ‘come’ you usually need to be in the place you are referring to. I came home at ten yesterday.’ This means you are at home now.

If you are not at home we would naturally say ‘I got home at ten yesterday. (not ‘I came home’) but you can also use got if you are at home.

Of course, this being English, there are exceptional cases. If I have planned to meet some friends in a restaurant and I also want to invite you, I would say ‘Why don’t you come and join us? Or, ‘Come to the restaurant tomorrow.’ In this instance I am not in the restaurant now but I am planning to be there before you arrive and you will therefore come to meet me.

However, if you are talking about the time that you left somewhere (not the time you arrived home) then we would use went. ‘I was at the party but I went home (left the party) at midnight.’

go-sign-16620If you want to send somebody somewhere (away) and you will not be with them then use go. ‘Go to the cinema on your own, I don’t like Star Wars.’ (not come to the cinema). If you are inviting me to go with you to the cinema then you can use either come or go. ‘Will you come/go to the cinema with me tomorrow?’

Compare these similar situations:

‘Will you come to my house for the party next week?’ (I will be there)

‘Will you go to my house to pick up my keys please?’ (I have forgotten my keys. I left them at home. I am not there now and I will not be there when you get there to pick up the keys.

‘I went home at 11.’ (You are not at home now and you are talking about the time you left somewhere else)

‘I came home at 11.’ (You are at home now)

‘I got home at 11.’ (You could be either at home or not at home)

If you want it explained in Czech, HelpforEnglish.cz has a good explanation here.

Next week, ‘What are the best ways to correct your most common mistakes and other ways to learn?’ video-player-richard-hill-english

I’ll talk again about learning styles and if you liked today’s content but prefer video to reading then take my FREE Most Common Mistakes Mini Course. Remember, admission to this free course is available to everyone on my email list but you need to sign up for it by sending me an email from this box below. I will send you the link when the course opens in the next few days.

I know that you will get massive value from this course and it will benefit you in many ways, not least, making your English sound a little more native, smoother and more intelligible.

That’s all from me for today. Remember, ‘every day’s a school day’ so let me learn from you by telling me what you think are the most common mistakes Czechs and Slovaks make when speaking English. Leave a comment below and sign up for the course above.

Richard.

Muj Špatný Češtinu

Muj Špatný Češtinu

Pamatujete že ja jsem Anglický rodilý mluvčím?  Tak že, tadz mám problěm protože dneska musím napsát vaše blog v Čestině. Asi, ne, určitě, poynáte že muj řada slovu je jako Anglickz.

Ahhh… musím vzpnout 4esk7 kl8visnice kvůli muj y a z je správný.

Pokračuju… Zkouším napsát bez používajici slovník i překládač tak uvidíme jestli umíte mi rozumět. A, proč udělám Český blog kdzž vždycky psám v Angličtině?  Odpovězda je ukázat že nemusíte být perfektní být rozumění.

Jestli vaše gol je být rozumění je to duležitý jenom že máte důvěra zkoušit ynova a znova (Sakra!)  Mnohu Český lidi vubec říct ani nic protože “to není perfekt”, “to není dobrý”. Slište mě! ear-clip-art-McLLy6RXiNe bude lepšit bez zkoušení. Nevadí jak špatně vás Angličký jazýk, většinu rodilý mluvčí vy pomoc s trpělivostem.

Dneska ten blog bude krátký protože pro mě napsát na počitač trvalo mi hodně dlouhá. Měl jsem nějáký knihy se učit Česky ale pro mě nefungovat. Ja vím že dělám hodně chyby. Máte nějaký jiný nápady pro mě? Doufám že ano. Dolu mužete mi pomoc v commentsu. Dík. 🙂

Přes přístí dva týdnu budu napsát o vaše nejběžnější chyby a jak je opravit. Těšte se na videa mini kurz Zdarma.

Dolu řeknete mi co myslíte co je nejběžnější chyby.

Čau for now.

P.S. Mužete mi  sledovat kliknutím na FOLLOW.

 

A Perfect Future?

A Perfect Future?

Last year I wrote about new year’s resolutions so I won’t repeat myself here. Today I thought I’d tell you about my general plans for this year and talk to you about the seldom used (by you!) ‘future perfect’ tense.

So I’ll start with music and this year Guns ‘n’ Roses will play in Prague. I am really looking forward to seeing them as I have been a fan of theirs since I was a teenager. They are playing at Letnany airfield on July 4th (U.S. independence day).guns-n-roses-logo

As I write I have almost completed my first video course with a lot of useful information that I know will help you immediately improve your English and put a smile on your face. I am already excited about making the next one for you so let me know below what you’d like help with.

In February my family and I are going on our first proper winter holiday together. Radka can ski but I have two left feet so I will at long last learn how to snowboard. As a teenager, whilst listening to GNR, I skateboarded, so, I believe it will be easier for me than skiing. I should have transferable skills!

gardening-fork-and-trowelWhen the snow clears and the weather warms up, we will plant vegetables as we do every year; lettuce, tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, chillis, carrots, parsnips, onions to name a few. We are also planning on buying more hens and increasing our egg production.

So what of this future perfect tense?  What is it?  Well, it’s the tense we use to describe a situation in the future when we are imagining that it has already happened. If you know how to use the present perfect then you can imagine that you are using it in the future.

If you don’t know how to use the present perfect then get my free Easy Guide to the Present Perfect here. Send me an email and I’ll send you the guide.

I’ve just written about some of the things I will do this new year. If I imagine that it is the end of the year and I have done all of these things, I could then say to you now, that, by the end of the year, I will have learnt to snowboard, I will have been to see Guns ‘n’ Roses,  I will have planted a lot of vegetables and I will have produced more video courses to help all my Czech and Slovak friends with their English.

The future perfect is will + have + past particple.

When I am 50, I will have lived for 50 years.

By the end of January I will have finished my video course.

If Sparta win the football league this season, they will have won 37 titles in their history.

I have too much still to do, so I won’t have completed it by next Friday.

Will you have arrived before I get there?

When you get to the end of this blog post you will have read it all.

What will you have done by the end of this year? Let me know in the comments below. Next week I have a treat for you… I will be writing to you in Czech ! Well, my own version of Czech anyway. Remember, if you think this post can help a friend then please forward them a link and if it has helped you then please tell me by leaving me a comment below.