So School is now well on its way ... You're enjoying your new friends, getting back into the swing of things, but maybe struggling a bit in an area? Maybe starting a new language or picking up with your skills from last year? Do you need a refresher or just a little quick-start to get you to the top of your game and help you to feel comfortable and confident in class? There's nothing like a little extra help to gain the confidence you need. You'll enjoy class more and won't have to struggle so much over your homework ~ it will come naturally & save you time :). Having the extra support of a knowledgeable Tutor will help you reach your goals and will also help you to learn language in a way that will last :) (At least if you go with me ... ;).
So if this describes you, please pick up the phone or shoot me an email. I look forward to it!
Studies show that the best way to learn a language and to improve reading and writing skills is to read. Kind of a no-brainer, huh? Just like anything else, if you want to become a better reader, you need to practice. In my years of reaching out to reluctant readers, I have found that kids (and adults) who aren't confident in their abilities either avoid reading because it's difficult or they pick up a random book and "fake read.” Letting words slip in front of your eyes without letting them anywhere near your brain is an utter waste of time.
The trick to becoming a proficient reader is being able to identify the right book. Reading something that is way above your reading level is going to be confusing, frustrating, and NO FUN. And guess what else? You won’t learn a thing, except, perhaps, to hate reading more than you already do.
Unfortunately, if you are a student, sometimes you’re going to have to suck it up and read what your teachers tell you to read. That’s when...
Back to basics means making sure you have a good foundation. Many non-native speakers can communicate more or less in English but fall short of their potential. For example, when reading an article, they miss part or even most of the meaning because of certain vocabulary words or expressions they do not understand. Vocabulary means knowing both small and large words. Knowing them means you can spell the word, pronounce word, and use it in a sentence correctly. If you cannot do this, you don't truly know the word. Try reading a child's book written in English. Unless you know every word, your knowledge remains less than that of a child born in the U.S. Small words like in, of, at, on, etc., are used in specific ways, as even young children master them by the time they enter school. Vocabulary is one basic that merits attention. Other basics to consider are grammar, study skills, reading comprehension, error correction, and writing. More on those to come!
Most of my students studied English from textbooks in their native country. Some can read and write basic English well but few have practiced pronunciation or conversation. Fluent spoken English takes a lot of practice. In the past, audiotapes provided a model of learners. Later, VHS videotape language instruction we introduced. Today, learners can buy instructional DVDs, watch YouTube, or use numerous websites to develop their speaking skills.
Watching TV or cinema does not improve English fluency at all in my opinion. After all, this dialogue is all scripted and rehearsed in all dramas. Characters in drama sometimes speak in eccentric ways. Vocabulary in drama tends to be most basic, so even less educated people can enjoy it. When you keep in mind that literacy in the US has declined, you can be sure that less common words are not used in popular media. Finally, do you want to speak like yourself or like some actor in a drama?
A better idea is to use a webcam to video yourself...
Today´s blog post discusses the issue of learning culture when learning a language. The easy answer is that language is a reflection of culture...but who wants an easy answer?
Seriously, language is a reflection of culture, because each culture provides variations to a language based upon its history and its people. For example, in the 1950's, the word "whatever" did not have the connotation of attitude and sheer exasperation that it has when it is said today. The pop culture of the last two decades has inserted many new words into the everyday speech of U.S. citizens, as well as those worldwide. Many of the words we use in general, today, as well as specifically for the study of mathematics, language and other subjects, have their roots in the Greek and Latin languages.
As an example, let's look at one of my favorite words--"spa." (I'm especially thinking about the spa today, because I'm cold and I see snow.) The Greek and Roman tradition...