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Choosing your Partners for Communication

Last week a student of mine asked me if communication with people that speak English at the same level with his or lower is harmful to his growing (of course for his English Speaking Skills).

I understand his concern, after all, we’ve all experienced those moments in which we “borrowed” wrong expressions from people in our environment and later we had to work on us even harder to exclude them from our vocabulary.

Analyzing all pros and cons, I think that there is nothing dangerous in the communication with language partners that have the same language level as yours or even lower, on the contrary,  following next pieces of advice will help you to transform any conversation into a learning process (of course, only if want to).

Talking with a partner that has the same language level is one of the best practices you can get. Even if you do not manage to grow your vocabulary during a discussion you have the opportunity to get used to the use of the existing vocabulary but also you help your brain to become faster and better at generating sentences.

Plus, taking into consideration all the new technologies that are available, I confidently presume that you have access all most all the time to the internet, this means that you carry with you a big library that is always accessible. Use it! Are you having questions regarding a term? Open the dictionary. Are you having questions regarding a tense you need to use? Open a grammar page and find the answer. And do not think you are losing time, you are not, you will learn all along the way your searching.

What if your discussion partner has a lower language level than yours? You can transform this it into a winning situation as well.

Follow your partner speech and help him with corrections, I hear how you reply to me that you cannot do it as you are not a teacher. Wrong! If your partner’s level is lower than yours, you know more, share that knowledge. First of all, you will be more focused on all the rules you already know so you would be able to make corrections and this exercise will help you to become more natural in using all you’ve acquired until this particular moment.

I am not trying to convince you to quit on searching learning partners that possess a higher language level than yours, just don’t say “no” to all others opportunities of practising your conversational skills. It is only in your competence to choose your language partners, and it is good to know that with a little of effort, you can transform any conversation in a learning opportunity. Remember, communication is a learning tool accessible to all of us, why not take all it can offer?

To learn is good, practising what you’ve learned makes it better, managing to apply it in real life conditions is what makes it truly amazing

How often do people ask you to repeat into a conversation? Or how often do you hear them saying “What?”  If this happens quite often and you speak loud enough then you need to work on your pronunciation.

 

Learning the right pronunciation in English could be difficult. As English is a whole new language and might contain sounds that are not specific to your language, this means you have to learn to make completely new sounds.

 

Practical methods of how to improve your pronunciation

Developing your Conversational Skills (2)The first advice is to learn to listen. I know we are talking about pronunciation but if you cannot hear the difference between the word knight and night, chin or shin or write and right it is less probable that you will able to make the difference when you pronounce them. This is why if you want to pronounce correctly, you need to learn to listen.

developing-your-conversational-skills-4.jpgPay attention to your mouth when you talk. Each time when you position your mouth differently you will make a different sound. Try to follow the pronunciation of other people while watching TV shows, or public speeches or actors in movies. Repeating this behaviour will help you to improve considerably your pronunciation.

 

developing-your-conversational-skills-10.jpgPay attention to your tongue. The most difficult sounds for non-native speakers are the sounds L, R, TH. The right pronunciation is hidden in the right position of your tongue. There are a lot of guides available on the internet that are giving clear instructions on how to position your tongue when pronouncing or you can use a more interactive way of learning – the parrot game or the shadowing.  Repeat loud and clear while you are watching videos you can do this all the time when you watch news, TV shows, movies, etc.

developing-your-conversational-skills-5.jpgUsually, students are facing problems in the pronunciation of the long words. Break those words which you cannot pronounce in syllables (separate sounds) pronounce them by turn, then try to pronounce them all together, you will see that it is already easier.

 

developing-your-conversational-skills-6.jpgFor better results, watch yourself in the mirror while practising or even better record yourself and listen, this will allow you to track those sounds that are the most difficult for you to pronounce and work more on their pronunciation.

 

 

Practical methods of how to improve your listening skills

And when I say your listening skills I am not referring to your ability of actually physically hear better, I refer to your comprehension skills while you listen to others, and it doesn’t matter in which context, direct conversation or all kind of recordings.

Developing your Conversational Skills (7)First advice is to be attentive and to manifest a great wish of understanding; believe it or not, the ability to understand others comes from our wish of understanding them. If you are not interested in a discussion even in your mother language you will not get too many things, so, first be attentive.

 

developing-your-conversational-skills-8.jpgConscientiously learning, we imitate real-life situations to learn how to handle them in an appropriate way when we will actually face them. This is why listening to different voices, accents and tones would be very helpful. Work based on a variety of materials, also choose topics you are not familiar with will help you to improve your listening skills.

developing-your-conversational-skills-9.jpg

Another good method of improving your listening skills is to work in 3 steps with videos.

  1. Watch a video.
  2. Add subtitles to the video and watch it again.
  3. Watch the video again without subtitles.

You will be amazed how words that first seemed hard to understand are clearer after. Repeating this exercise will improve your comprehending ability.

As an ending, I have a general advice: to learn is good, practising what you’ve learned makes it better, managing to apply it in real life conditions is what makes it truly amazing. Learn. Practice. Apply.
Best wishes to you all,
Victoria

Why Conversational English and why do we need a special compartment for Conversational English into the English learning.

The audio version of the article

Are you sad about the fact that you cannot use your English in real life conversations?

Here is the cause and how you can overcome your problem.

One of the most frequent complaints in an English classroom is on the incapability of actually speaking the language, even if students are good at tests, and demonstrate good knowledge of the grammar and are able to understand difficult texts, when it comes to use English in real life conditions for a conversation somehow it is hard and they are making a lot of mistakes.

Conversational English is focusing on resolving these problems and on how to implement knowledge into practice, on how to use what students already have in real life situations. Is not that in a Conversational English classroom we forget about the grammar but we practice until we use all grammar rules unconsciously. To make this clearer, I will bring an example:

To ride a bike you need to know how to do it, I mean you need to know where to seat, and how to spin the bicycle pedals but this is not enough, you need to learn how to maintain your equilibrium on it. You cannot improve if you don’t practice, and on the opposite, if you practice, you can become a real professional and start making all kind of tricks on the bicycle.  Well, it is the same with the language, knowing grammar is like knowing how the bicycle is constructed and how you need to spin the pedals to go on it, but to actually ride it you need to practice, and absolutely no one can gain experience in “riding it” except you. In a Conversational English classroom the teacher is your coach, he gives you instructions, he encourages and motivates you, but it depends only on you how well you will actually ride your English bicycle.

Conversational English is more about the person’s ability to communicate with others and not only about words and vocabulary. As the ability to communicate is strongly related to our psychological mind state, the teacher should often go beyond the language learning and work with his students not only on their technical skills but also at a psychological level to help the student to overcome all problems that appear related to the effective communication.

Trying to improve your conversational skills you will face at least one of the following problems:

  • The shame of wrong pronunciation
  • Fear of failure
  • Lack of confidence

You should always start in a positive way – If there is a problem there is a solution.

Here are some suggestions on how you can overcome these issues:

  1. Being aware of what is wrong is the first step in solving a problem – take a moment and reflect, identify your own problem and the first step in the right direction it will be made.
  2. Making mistakes is the only way to become fluent in a language – print this and post it in front of your working desk. Being wrong hurts, nobody wants to look like a fool. And making mistakes feels really stupid. This is why learning a new language is so terrifying for some people; they know they will make mistakes. It also explains why so many people give up at learning in their first months, they want to be perfect from the very beginning and they feel frustrated if this is not so. The truth is that learning a language takes time and making mistakes is the only way to become fluent in a language. It is true that more or less in any cultural environment errors are blamed and this in time forms an obstacle in our head. The truth is that we all are making mistakes, a mistake could be involuntary. It doesn’t have to be so scary. And making mistakes certainly doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I suggest you look at any mistake or failure as at your greatest learning opportunity, look at them as at a normal part of the learning process. In fact, mistakes can be really positive the condition is to learn, to learn from them.
  3. The difference between I can’t and I can is just in a ‘t  – the lack of confidence is something you can overcome. Our confidence is related to our self-esteem and this is a complex problem. Although this is coming from outside the classroom I will refer to those moments that could be helpful for language learners. First of all, search for what is behind the problem, why you do not feel confident? Is it because you are afraid to make mistakes? Is it because you are afraid to be judged? Is it because you think you are not worthy? Erase all these bad thoughts and start thinking positive. Find a positive argument for each fear you have.  A mistake is a way to learn. 2. Only God is not making mistakes in rest we all do. 3. Your opinion counts, you are worthy and you just need time to learn to transmit your thoughts correctly, you are going in a classroom to learn, do not expect to be perfect from the very beginning. To gain confidence, you should start to set clear achievable goals. If planned right nothing is unachievable.  For example, plan to read a page per day –you will do it. If you will plan to read a book per day this might happen, but the probability that you would not succeed is big, is not that you cannot read the book is that you probably cannot do it in one day as you have so many other things to do. This is why setting incredible targets in dreamy terms will only make you feel disappointed because you did not manage to achieve them and in time, this is why you will be less confident. So, another way to grow your confidence is to teach yourself that you can, you should set clear achievable goals and score success after success.
  4. The last but not the less important is to take action. Once you’ve planned something,  start acting. You might have the best plan in the world but if you will not put it into practice is worthless. So, plan to do something for your English every day, 15 min each day, and at the end of the year you will have 5475 min of English, this means 91 hours, this is a significant amount of time in which a lot might change in the right direction.

Are you still complaining?  Stop it and start acting – the Conversational English classroom is waiting for you.

Five Easy To Follow Steps That Will Improve Your English While Reading

Any article written in English could be transformed into a great learning tool. All you have to do is to follow some simple steps while you are reading it.

1. ANTICIPATE THE CONTENT

Before you proceed to the reading of the article, use your intuition and try to anticipate the content of the text based on the title.

learn english by readingThis will help your brain to bring up all the words it is possessing regarding this topic and the further reading will be more relevant and useful as you will easily understand what is all about.

2. ASSESS THE TEXT’S DIFFICULTY

Finding the right difficulty level of the content of your reading is quite hard, step 2 will help you with this. Read the whole text once looking for the main idea. If you understood all the words in the text then this is good but this text will not help to grow your level. If you found so many unknown words that you lost the meaning it means that the text is too difficult, leave it for later. If you were able to find new words and you were able to follow the main idea it means that the text is suitable for you and you can carry on.

3. STOP & TRANSLATE

Go back and start reading again, you should stop at each word you don’t know or you are unsure regarding the meaning it has. I would recommend you to use these two sites: translate.google.com and dictionary.cambridge.org. On them, you can immediately find the right meaning of the word, its explanation and the right pronunciation. You could consider that you know a word when you understand its meaning, you can recognize its sound and are able to pronounce it.

Go back to your sentence and replace the unknown word with a synonym — is the meaning clear now? If yes carry on with your reading. If not then it is possible that you don’t understand a whole expression, try to look for its translation, if you still don’t understand it means that the text is too hard (leave it for later).

4. REPEAT STEP 3

Repeat step 3 each time you find an unknown word or expression.

5. REFLECT & REMEMBER

When you finish your reading, take a moment and draw a conclusion. Was this info useful? In which context could you use it in the future? – This will make your brain start using what you have accumulated. Anticipating the possibility of its use will help you to stock it for later in your memory and of course, you will easily remember it if is meaningful to you.

Integrate these five simple steps into your routine while reading and soon you will observe huge improvements. You will be able to structure your thoughts better and your vocabulary will considerably grow.

Happy Reading to Everybody!

You can see the original post on Independent Teachers Community Blog

 

Does it matter what personality has your teacher?

This week I have had an incredibly interesting discussion regarding personalities. How do people become personalities and which is the role of others personalities in this process? I’ve noticed that the word “teacher” appears pretty often, and the next question was, why teachers that are living in the same country and are working based on the same manuals, in the same type of classrooms, in the same cultural environment are having different impacts on their students? I often observe how adults refer to some teachers as at key personalities in their life and at some as they would never exist for them.

So, what makes the difference between a good teacher and an extraordinary one?

I dare to say that it is the personality of your teacher that makes the difference. I know that some of you will say that it is not true, as the role of a teacher in class is to guide the learning process and nothing more. But those thousands of lessons I experienced in my life first as a pupil, then as a student and now as a teacher taught me that there is something more than just a good prepared plan of a lesson, there is something more than just methods of transmitting the information, and there is something more than just guiding the process. It is about the relationships between the involved parts.

A student must trust his teacher and the teacher must know how to create a safe environment for his student. A student must be determined to learn and the teacher must know how to keep his student motivated and engaged in the learning process. A student must respect his teacher and the teacher must respect his student. If something is missing then those two are not compatible.

I had good teachers, but from all of them, I will always remember my literature teacher, a remarkable woman, smart, beautiful, unique, she had her own way of being, back then probably I would not be able to say what was so special about her, but now I know, her personality was inspiring. She made the difference between “I learn to take a good grade” and “I learn because I want to become better”. She gave me something more than just information, she made me want to acquire, to explore, to grow in the classroom and outside of it. I understand that a teacher cannot establish this connection with all his students, and still, it feels great to have a good example, someone that is more than just at his duty, someone that truly cares, someone that you like and you would like to follow. Some many years had to pass so I would understand what is the secret of this profession, the teachers’ personality is crucial as we learn from people, and we cannot learn from people we do not like.

How to learn a language in 2018 based on your zodiac sign?

The holidays are gone and we already passed that enchanting moment between the years in which overwhelmed of emotions, we promised ourselves to do more and to be better. It is time to keep our promises. Some of us made a promise to eat healthier, some that they will work more, some that they will work less, some that they will learn to dance and some that will learn a new language, no matter what commitment you’ve taken, it has no value if you will leave it between the years. Astrologists are saying that each new year that is coming, is coming with a whole new energy that if used wisely can help us to accomplish a lot more than we can imagine. So let’s see what stars are promising in 2018 and how they can help you to learn a language.

zodiac1.jpgIf your birth date falls between January 21 and February 19, you are an Aquarius. The future and the projects it holds make you receptive to new and original ideas and creativity. Your faith can move mountains of uncertainty, pessimism and apathy. You have a humanist ideal and others often appreciate your Samaritan’s soul. 2018 brings you a fast speed lifestyle with major curves and amazing events. Affairs of the heart and your ability to think creatively are the resources and the areas that see the most visible movement towards the future. Important knowledge learned in the past continues to feed current ambitions and future goals. During this year, constantly check your facts, add to what you already know, be willing to take on a new skill or learn a new subject if it helps empower an objective or makes a dream possible. You are an open mind spirit that is attracted by all it is new, untraditional methods are those to follow for a better learning this year, maybe your new love will push you to learn a new language or maybe learning a new language will take you to your new love. Follow the unexpected as this will keep your motivation level high and will help you to learn even what you thought it is impossible to learn.

 

zodiac2.jpgIf your birth date falls between February 19 and March 20, you are a Pisces – Your legendary sensitivity and intuition mean you have premonitions of events before anybody else. You have a sixth sense which guides all your actions and each of your decisions. Your exceptional mind often puts you in situations which most mortals never experience. Home is very much one of the focal points for all of 2018. Your needs are there, and your dreams are there. The kind of place you want to live in….from the furnishings to the intimate relationships you nurture there will all come into clear focus as the year rolls along. The past reflects career and things you’ve learned over the course of your life that can help you initiate changes there. The future is all home, home, home and this nodal transit just adds more emphasis to this over-all focus of 2018. This year, you will concentrate on developing your inner part, it is time for the changes and you are ready to accept them. As 2018 is the year of changing and personal growth for you, enrol in some activities or courses that will develop you as a person and do it in the language you are learning. The collateral effect is the best method of learning a new language for you in 2018.

 

zodiac.jpgIf your birth date falls between March 21 and April 20, you are an Aries – Energetic and courageous, your reactions follow your natural spirit. You live each moment to the full, often not caring about tomorrow and this can lead to some surprises.You can slide with a lot of things in 2018 but the one area that will almost constantly demand your attention and, most importantly, your integrity is the area of communications. With Saturn spending the entire year in this area of your life joined by the north node as it shuttles in the future meaning what you say and saying what you mean are the only way to grow and build successfully. Don’t downplay facts and spend as much time as necessary getting all the data and research you need to make your objectives cohesive to others. As communication is the key to your success this year, and all your energies will dance around this aspect use it to learn a new language. Make friends abroad or contact more often those you already have, communicating as much as possible in the language you are learning is the recommended method for your growth in 2018.

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between April 20 and May 21, you are a Taurus. You are often acknowledged as having a stable personality. You are a workaholic but put your energy to good use after much reflection. You are the kind of person who looks before they leap. One of your many qualities is that, once your mind is set, you do not change your direction. You hold on to what you have and are always a sure bet. This year, hard work pays off….in the most encompassing, security-minded ways. New possibilities may arrive attached to work offers and objectives and goals. Shortcuts towards financial security are likely to set you back more than they gain you ground. Apply your famous patience and inner control…it pays off in very rewarding and long-lasting ways. The first step was made when you decided to learn a new language as you never change your mind or direction. The best method for you to learn a language in 2018 is to use a learning application, it is always there for you, learning like this you will feel secure and in control, and your tenacity will not let you stop until you succeed. 

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between May 21 and June 21, you are a Gemini.  You are of a mischievous disposition, curious and good with your mind. You’re a born negotiator. You are attracted by all things new and seek to broaden your horizons. You are the sign of communication and your intellectual mobility comes into its own when circumstances call for a permanent change of situation. Much of the focus for 2018 spotlight your work, Gemini, from career to the way you simply do your job, from ambitions and aspirations to the more routine moments that support the bigger agendas.  Studying in a group could be the best option for you in 2018, use your natural ability to observe a good deal from the very beginning and catch a good offer to learn a language in a group of students, the competition will only add some fire and will push you to work harder, therefore, you will obtain better results. 

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between June 22 and July 22, you are a Cancer. Your particularly keen intuition means you can grasp any situation. You have the gift of being able to detect both the strengths and weaknesses of those you encounter. You have an imaginative mind, compelling to those with whom you choose to share your thoughts. This personality and sensitivity bestow upon you the soul of an artist. More peaceful than last year but also more internal 2018 promises plenty of revelations of the most personal kind and more than a generous helping of good luck when you need it the most Cancer. The most imperative matter should be a clear understanding of your most secret motivations, an attempt to understand why you do what you do and what ignites emotional and intuitional responses. You are an emotional sign and more than others you need to feel in harmony with all that is around you. Find your own unique spiritual way, for you, it is important to whom you share your thoughts and believes, this is why the persons you will meet will be the key for you in learning a language in 2018.

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between July 23 and August 22, you are a Leo.-You are strong-willed like few others in the zodiac and your powers of persuasion shine through in every situation. Stand-offs are commonplace in your life and you handle them with aplomb. Your determination to win people over is consistent to the end.Ambitious, you apply all your energy to achieving your goals and your combativeness keeps you going no matter what. Seeing some dramatic change in 2018 is the area of friendships, important alliances and all kinds of personal goals, ideals and missions that can be shared, Leo. This is a terrific new period where fresh faces along with unique ideas and thoughts are a constant reality in your day to day life.  Friendships, alliances and all those shared dream-things fall into the category of events and connections and possibilities that usher in the future. This year, the key is to be practical in your approach, use this and apply it to your learning too. Any attempt, of learning a language related to your business or career growth will succeed. 

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between August 23 and September 22, you are a Virgo.  A perfectionist to a fault, you are one of those people who organize their lives with great care and attention to detail. You master the essential aspects of all that you encounter, but frivolous details are of no interest to you. In order to maintain control over your life, you have a strict sense of propriety and prefer to keep your distance. In this year you leave triumphant achievements and rowdy victories to others, preferring to impose your presence through discrete faithfulness and devotion. Your career and all your goals and ideals, there very much takes front and centre stage throughout 2018. Also falling in this focus is avocations, promotions, job changes that offer more opportunity and more expansion. Nothing is able to keep you more connected than your passion and to do something you need to be passionate about it.This year start to develop a hobby related to the language you are learning, this will be the best learning method for you.

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between September 23 and October 23, you are a Libra. A balance and subtlety of emotion make you a warm, sociable person. You avoid conflict through the elegance and harmony that are ever present in your life. These characteristics often mean you make your career in the arts, and especially in the justice system where your eloquence is appreciated by all. Don’t be surprised to find yourself investigating some new courses, classes and educational extras that help put you in a better position to capture a success you’ve been dreaming of. There is both a need to follow your heart while playing by the rules of the road as this dynamic and important year unfolds before you. There are likely to be dramatic turning points throughout this year when the past rushes out and the future rushes in. Acting out logically, reasonably and practically can make almost anything work for you. As you are a balanced person you can turn into your favour all the opportunities that pop up in front of you. This means that any method you would choose to learn a language will work as you will know to take the best of it.

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between October 23 and November 21, you are a Scorpio. Mysterious and secretive, your hidden strength means you can tackle any situation, even the most perilous. Adversity stimulates your creativity, you know better than anyone else how best to settle the most delicate conflicts thanks to your natural magnetism and exceptional powers of seduction. Passions are in the cosmic spotlight in some very big ways this year, Scorpio. Your sign rules over all of our most driving passions, our sensuality, our desires, our truths and with this same area in your own solar chart strongly energized throughout 2018 you can expect to see some stirring movement, some important revelations and some intense/interesting encounters. In 2018, discipline and self-control are a must for you to succeed, so, with a teacher or by yourself make a learning plan and follow it exactly until you will reach your goal. 

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between November 22 and December 21, you are a Sagittarius. Justice is the central preoccupation in your life and your wanderlust means you often leave your birthplace to explore the world.You bring unifying force and triumphant enthusiasm to all your undertakings.You absorb the spirit of those you encounter to enrich your own fate in a constant quest for spiritual uplifting. One of the most energized aspects of 2018 is found in partnerships, relationships and all manners and types of commitments. From the intimate and the romantic to the business liaisons to simply important life commitments you’re energy, in important respects, is very much geared at finding more empowering ways to work intimately with others…and with alliances. For you this year the best method of learning a language is to travel, visit countries where people speak the language you are learning, nothing will boost your level more than real experiences. 

 

Zodiac signsIf your birth date falls between December 22 and January 20, you are a Capricorn. Reserved and prudent as disposition, you protect yourself from emotions by shrouding yourself in a shell of ice. Inside there is a solid determination allowing you to reach the highest summits. Patient, you methodically construct your own fate no matter how long it takes to achieve your goals. Faithful to your principles, you never let go. One of the areas most influenced by celestial events in 2018 is your work, your routines, the way you “do your life”.  This year, the future arrives through the way you support your life, through the way you do your job, through the pampering and support you give yourself. Little changes in work or career can mean much, much bigger opportunities than it might be apparent. Willingly take on an extra task or project if it helps your end goal. Avoid taking on anything that serves no real purpose other than making you feel busy or purposeful. Your perseverance will be defining this year, all your big goals will be achieved in small repetitive steps.  The “water drop” strategy is the recommended learning method for you in 2018. Invest daily 15 minutes of your life to learn a language and at the end of the year, you will have around 90 hours of study behind you, studies that will take you further than any expectation.

 

In the end what method will you choose to learn a new language is not so important as long as it will work for you. I wish you a wonderful 2018, full of great accomplishments, successes, love and true friendships. Surround yourself with true values and cherish the life.

*All methods were deducted based on general astrological recommendations of the year 2018. The main purpose of the article was to make you smile at the begging of the year and of course to motivate you to keep those commitments you took in the night between years. This was Victoria and see you soon.

Individual classes versus Group classes

Hello my dears, it is Friday and it is time for my usual article.
Today I decided to answer to one of the most popular questions I hear from my students: “What is better, to study individually or in group classes?”

Well, the truth is that both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s make a small analysis:

  • When you are studying in a group you have the opportunity to hear all kind of accents and to get used to them, this is indeed a very good exercise. At the same time while you are taking individual classes you are learning a correct pronunciation from your teacher and you skip that confusion moment in which you hear tens of pronunciations and you are not sure which one is the right one.
  • One of the best motivation for people are challenges this is why some of you might feel very motivated while they study in a group and quite soft when they are learning all by themselves, the truth is that competition lights fire in many of us and you can easily find with who to compete when you are in a group.
  • While you are learning in a group you should be prepared to share teacher’s attention with all your colleagues, it is obvious that if to split 60min to 10 people you will get less guidance than if you would have those 60 mins all by yourself, but don’t forget that you can always learn while your colleagues are corrected.
  • Individual classes offer a safe zone for those of you that feel uncomfortable talking in front of unknown people, but at the same time in group classes, you could develop your ability to speak in public.
  • In an individual class, you benefit from a personal approach, the teacher is focused on your needs and is helping you to overcome your issues, you work as much as you need and you can achieve your targets faster as you learn at your own speed, you cannot do all this in a group class as you have to wait for the others or to push yourself too much only to fit the general plan.
  • We need to mention the financial aspect, group classes are often more accessible than individual classes.

I hope you will find this article useful and next time when you will start a language course you will know what to take into consideration. Good luck and remember, the difference will always be made by your personality, needs, goals and possibilities.

Best regards,
Victoria

5 Magic Exercises that Will Help You to Study a Language Effectively

Learning a language is a long process and if you strive to master it, you will need to invest years of work. But is it possible to make it quicker? My answer is definitely yes. But to make it possible you will have to be conscientious and assiduous with your studies. Take your big goal and split it into small pieces, plan your studies and make a routine from it.
Today I will share with you 5 magic exercises that will help you to study a language effectively.

5 working days in a week distribute for each one an “M” exercise.

Monday is for Mood – nothing works better than doing what you like the most. On Monday, choose to do something you love to do but, in the language, you are learning. For example, if you study Romanian, you can choose a recipe from Romania, that is written in Romanian, to cook it you will have to look for the words you don’t know, you can make a list of the verbs that are related to cooking or even better to watch a Romanian cook in action and listen to his indications. It can be anything else as long as you are in the mood to do it.
Tuesday is for Memory – use your memory to boost your learning, no I am not talking about learning lists of words until you get so bored that you will want to run away. For sure you can do it in a fun way. For example, if you are learning English, pick any video – news in English and watch it, then write on the paper all you remembered from the video. Then go back and watch the video again correct all your notes and give yourself a grade, one for your memory and one for how accurate you were in using English. You will be better and better each time when you will repeat the exercise.
Wednesday is for Motivation – no matter what you do you need to keep your motivation level high. In the middle of the week is the perfect moment to work on it and of course why not to work on it in the language you are learning. For example, you are learning French, on Wednesday start your morning by looking on internet motivational quotes in French, or an article that is written in French and refers to motivation. First, you will find out a lot of great new things, you will improve your vocabulary as you will find new words for sure, and you will also improve your receiving brain area. How good is that? I know, and in reality is better than it sounds.
Thursday is for Mind – this is the element that enables us to be aware of the world and our experiences, to think, and to feel. On Thursday reflect on your week, what have you done, what do you still need to do so you would finish the week in the way you want. How do you feel and how would you like to feel, and of course you need to do the exercise in the language you are learning. Sounds hard, and it is, expressing abstract things is one of the hardest things in any language and sometimes even using your own, but how much will you grow by doing it – you will not gonna believe it. Just try it!
Friday is for Meaning – all we use in this life has a meaning for us, has a certain importance, all humans to conserve their energy prefer to don’t do things that are meaningless. This is a rule that our brain applies to everything, this is why when you choose what to read, what to watch, with whom to talk is important that you would do it with a meaning. On Friday, try to do something meaningful for you and of course in the language you are learning, talk with a friend that is speaking that language, look for a present in that language, plan a trip in that language. Anything that will cheer you up but at the same time will force to use the language you are learning. On Friday, as it is the end of the week, to relax in a meaningful way is the best prescription.

Leave your brain to relax on weekend and come back the next week eager to discover new things.
This plan weekly will assure you a continuous growth, an interesting learning path, and a never-ending motivation so you would achieve your final goal of speaking a language effectively.  I hope you like it and you will apply it.

Best regards,

Victoria

I am back

In September I made a shocking statement, I told to all my friends that I am going to disappear for 2 or 3 months. I kept it as a secret but from July I was already working on a manual and I felt I needed time to finish the biggest project I’ve ever started.

In the past year, I had a lot of students for Romanian all of them were “suffering” of a lack of learning materials, to help them I started to make new plans, to create schemes and clear explanations to support their learning. After 6 months I observed that all my plans work almost by themselves, my students were getting better and better with their Romanian and all this based on materials created by me. The next thought was that I can upgrade all this to a manual that people can use without me, and I start working.

By September I felt overwhelmed, I had a vision but to make it reality I needed to digest all I had in my head as a caterpillar so I would give to the world a butterfly. So, after 3 months of absence, in which I worked hard, I am back. I came with a whole new learning method of which I am very proud as I know it works and all my students are a living proof of that.

My Romanian Intensive Course for foreigners – my “butterfly” is ready to fly.

I chose December 1, Romanians National Day, to make it public as this is a very important date for all Romanians and I wanted to celebrate it in a special way. This book, in a way, is the key to understanding Romanian Culture at a deeper level as you cannot truly get into the meanings that people transmit without knowing their language. I hope that this manual will fulfil people’s expectations and will cover the need in this field as this was the main reason that pushed me to do it.

I am grateful to all people that supported me on this path, encouraged me and believed in me. Thank you all, and my traditional, see you soon 🙂

How to Start Learning a New Language From Zero?

* for step No.1 please read my previous article about THE GOLDEN MOTIVATION

As Aristotle was saying is not enough to wish for something you also have to do it. I had my Motivation List done when I realised that I am just at the beginning, I took a minute and counted all the words I knew in Italian – Ciao, Buongiorno, Uno, Due, Caffè, Mafia. I had 6 words and the Grande Dizionario Italiano dell’ Uso was telling me that there are 270.000 words in Italian. Of course, six is better than nothing, and I looked again at my Golden List.

And my warrior spirit spoke: No matter how big and far is your goal, you just take a paper and make a plan, choose a strategy, break it in small actions, and start acting – soon you will be there.

I continued the syllogism, language is a tool, we use it to transmit ideas and thoughts, material or abstract notions and all words are preset codes that we all learn in order to be able to communicate with others that know the same code (language). Now things were getting simpler, first I needed to learn words.

No teacher in this world could learn words for me this was exclusively my job. Luckily I live in the XXI century, technologies are here to help me to do almost everything. And I must say I was surprised how many wonderful free tools there are on the internet that can help you simply to learn vocabulary.  I started to learn words on http://www.duolingo.com, and for the next 3 months, I practised daily around 30 min. For me it was a great solution as I did not really felt learning, it was more like a game, free and always accessible on my phone and computer. After 3 months, the app counted that I knew 1500 words. I was able to make simple sentences of course with some errors, but I was making sentences!

Although I thought it is a good result, and my friends from Italy observed that for only 3 months of studying, I knew a lot. A problem occurred, I was talking like a robot, naturally, I thought, I learned from a robot. As I had a pretty unsteady schedule, I was able to find an hour per day to study Italian but I was not able to find an Italian that would be always available for me early in the morning or late in the night.  I needed another solution, and I found something suitable, http://www.memrise.com, it was very useful as there I was able to listen how Italians truly pronouns words. I turn off the sound on Duolingo, and continue to practice on both apps.  This was great, I felt how I grow very fast but at some point, I felt this is not enough, and the internet saved me again. Lucky me, I found on Facebook a great page https://www.facebook.com/italianoautomatico/   Alberto and his Grandmother were my company every day during my lunch break, I was listening to them 2 or 3 times, and this routine exercise developed my comprehension level very much. Thank you, Nonna & Alberto.

As things are not always smooth, I faced a new problem, I think that those of you that are constantly training in the gym will understand me, at some point you need to add more weight or muscles don’t grow. This was the exact feeling I had about my Italian, a good shape, some visible results but after 5 months of daily practising, I wanted more than just a slight feeling of rising, I wanted to feel a significant improvement. I added in my daily language training the reading of an article, radio, conversations with natives. I had 6 months of continuous practice and 2500 known words in my vocabulary. I was able to express more complex thoughts, still with some errors, but they were complex!     I looked back and I was very proud of me, I felt I did a very good job, I worked hard and the result was evident. My Italian was like a hard acquired diamond, a real treasure. Everything was almost perfect but my diamond needed to be polished if I wanted to wear it proudly. It was time for a personal, professional approach. I started to look for a teacher. All free tools I was able to found on the internet were great, they helped me a lot but in the end without a good teacher that would help me through until the end was impossible to achieve fluency.  My journey continues and I promise to come back with more details about the step No. 3, meaning – how to Masteries a Language.