What is the most important English skill? What skill must you have to communicate well?
Obviously, number 1 is Fluency. What is fluency? Fluency is the ability to speak (and understand) English quickly and easily… WITHOUT translation. Fluency means you can talk easily with native speakers– they easily understand you, and you easily understand them. In fact, you speak and understand instantly.
Fluency is your most important English goal.
The research is clear– there is only ONE way to get fluency. You do not get fluency by reading textbooks. You do not get fluency by going to English schools. You do not get fluency by studying grammar rules. Listening Is The Key
To get English fluency, you must have a lot of understandable repetitive listening. That is the ONLY way. To be a FANTASTIC English speaker, you must learn English with your ears, not with your eyes. In other words, you must listen. Your ears are the key to excellent speaking.
What kind of listening is best? Well, it must be understandable and must be repetitive. Both of those words are important– Understandable and Repetitive.
If you don’t understand, you learn nothing. You will not improve. That’s why listening to English TV does not help you. You don’t understand most of it. It is too difficult. It is too fast.
Its obvious right? If you do not understand, you will not improve. So, the best listening material is EASY. That’s right, you should listen mostly to easy English. Most students listen to English that is much too difficult. They don’t understand enough, and so they learn slowly. Listen to easier English, and your speaking will improve faster!
Understanding is Only Half The Formula.
Understanding is not enough. You must also have a lot of repetition. If you hear a new word only once, you will soon forget it. If you hear it 5 times, you will still probably forget it!
You must hear new words and new grammar many times before you will understand them instantly.
How many times is necessary? Most people must hear a new word 30 times to remember it forever. To know a word and instantly understand it, you probably need to hear it 50-100 times!
That’s why I tell my students to listen to all of my lessons many times. I tell them to listen to the every thing I say in class, uses all notes I provide and record all my lectures. I recommend that they listen to each lesson at least once a day before the next lecture (and then doing the same for two week after the lecture).
So, the two most important points are: listen to easier English and listen to each thing many times.
Powerful Listening and Excellent Speaking
1. Practice “Narrow Listening” “Narrow listening” means listening to many things about the same topic. This method is more powerful than trying to listen to many different kinds of things. Students who listen to similar things learn faster and speak better than students who listen to different kinds of things.
Example is to choose one topic to focus on. For example, you could read an easy book, listen to the same audio book, listen to a podcast about the book, and watch the movie.
2. Divide Your Listening Time Which is better: to listen for two hours without a break, or to divide that time during the day? Well, dividing your listening time is best.
By dividing your time throughout the day, you remember more and learn faster.
3. Use an iPod or MP3 Player iPods are fantastic. You can put a big listening library on one. Then you can carry your English lessons everywhere. Also, you can find a lot of English listening on the internet. You can find lessons, stories, podcasts, TV shows, interviews, and audio books. Simply download the audio, put it on your iPod.. and learn English anywhere!
4. Listen To Movies Movies are great for learning English BUT you must use them correctly. Don’t watch all of an English movie. You will not understand it, and therefore you will not learn anything.
Only watch one scene or segment per week (maybe 2-3 minutes). Follow this method:
a) First, watch the scene with subtitles in your language. This will help you understand the general meaning.
b) Second, watch the scene with English subtitles. Pause. Use a dictionary to find new words you don’t understand. Write the new sentences in a notebook.
c) Listen to the scene a few times, with English subtitles. Do not pause.
d) Listen to the scene a few times, without subtitles.
e) Repeat a) – d) everyday for one week.
On the second week, go to the next scene/segment and repeat again. It will take you a long time to finish a movie. That’s OK, because you will improve your listening and speaking VERY FAST. This method is powerful– use it!
5. Read and Listen at the Same Time Listening and Reading together are very powerful. While you listen to something, also read it. This will improve your pronunciation.
Reading while listening also helps you understand more difficult material. Read and listen to learn faster. After you do this a few times, put away the text and just listen. You will understand a lot more and you will improve faster. Always try to find both audio and text materials.
6 Months To Excellent English Speaking
You only need 6 months– 6 months and you will speak easily to native speakers. 6 months and you will speak quickly and naturally. 6 months and you feel relaxed when you speak English.