sexta-feira, 30 de março de 2012

English with Harry Potter

Lessons from Harry Potter

I’m not exactly a fan of the Harry Potter (HP) series of books, but they do provide a useful and fun tool for learning Turkish. I first read HP 1 when I was teaching high school English back in South Dakota. I wanted to know what all the buzz was about and after reading, I still wanted to know what all the buzz was about. But Harry Potter can be a great resource for language learners and as I have read the first and now am finishing up the second in Turkish, I have made a number of observations that I want to pass on in hopes that they will help you as language learners understand the importance that reading can play on this journey.

For language learners, Harry Potter has a few advantage over a lot of other youth literature. The first is that it is immensely popular and so has been translated into a ton of languages. If you’re learning a language, HP has probably been translated into it. A second advantage that HP offers is that it is a series. A third advantage is that the books have all been made into movies that stay fairly close to the original story line.

Here is how my Harry Potter journey has progressed:

In 2007 I read HP for the first time in English.
April 2011 I read HP in Turkish.
After reading HP 1 in Turkish, I purchase the movie, watch it first in English and then four times in Turkish.
May 2011 I begin reading HP 2.
Half way through HP 2, I buy the movie and watch it in English.
June 2011 I finish HP 2 and watch the movie in Turkish.


Having read the first book, when I began reading the story in Turkish, I had a basic understanding of the story, insight into the personalities of the characters, and I know what the ultimate climax and resolution were in the story. In other words I had a significant amount of background knowledge. I did not know the Turkish words for all the ‘magic’ words like wand, cloak, spell, wizard, troll or potion, but I did know that they would come up in the story and so I was able to anticipate them. Most of the ‘magic’ words I was able to figure out from the context and my background knowledge.

The great thing about reading books from a series is that the new knowledge gained in the first book often carries into the next book. For example, when I began reading book two, I knew Harry and Dumbledore and and the others from book one. As well, many of the new words I had learned in the first book were no longer barriers to understanding. I already knew all of the ‘magic’ words. Seeing them in book two acted as a form of integrated review causing them to became more deeply ingrained in my understanding. But of course it wasn’t just the ‘magic’ words, it was also a whole group of new verbs, nouns, adjectives and a handful of new expressions – parts of the Turkish language that are used in everyday speech.

One problem I encountered with book two however was that new characters were introduced as was a new problem that Harry, Ron and Hermione had to figure out and defeat. While I knew the carry over characters and a lot of the story specific language, the new people – especially Professor Lockhart. I knew that Professor Snape was a bit mean, but was good. Lockhart however, I couldn’t figure out. I wasn’t tracking his character and was unable to figure out if he was good or bad or just really proud and into himself. I also was really having a hard time knowing what the problem was and who the bad guy was. I was a bit lost so after seven chapters I decided to do something about it.

I bought the movie and watched it in English. The story suddenly became clear. Lockhart is a comical character – I wasn’t getting that before. I understood the When I returned to read chapter eight, the story took on new meaning and I felt like I was understanding 10 – 20% more than before. The background knowledge the movie provided opened up the story to me in new ways. I was feeling more confident, understanding more and enjoying reading the story more and more. All of this conspired to keep me reading so that not only was I getting more comprehensible input, I was also spending more time reading and subsequently, more time with the language.

Harry Potter and other books in a series can be a great light reading and a great resource for language learning. Check out one today.


quarta-feira, 28 de março de 2012

Five Reasons You Should Write More

by Aaron Myers
For the vast majority of language learners, myself included, we learn another language so that we can speak it. We aren’t learning it so we can read the newspaper. We aren’t learning so that we can write letters to people. We may do both of these, and enjoy them as activities, but they are not the reason for our learning. We want to speak. We want to be in conversations in which we both understand and are understood. Speaking, not writ
ing is why we learn. If speaking and listening are the most important things we do with the language though, why would we spend any time worrying about writing? Reading we can understand, but writing?

I want to offer five reasons why I think that writing should be an integral part of your language learning journey. And specifically, I want to ask you to consider a personal narrative in the form of a journal or a diary as the main focus of this writing. I believe that writing has amazing potential to help maximize your language learning and significantly increase the rate at which you learn. Which of course will get you speaking sooner. Here are my five reasons why writing will help you learn language better:

1. Our brains function in the same way whether we speak or we write. A message is created and transmitted. It just sends the message down a different pipe. If you take a moment to grab a pen and paper and write a few sentences you will see that you cannot write without speaking out the words in your head. In this way, writing is a stress free way to practice speaking. Because we get to write at our own pace with no audience, we can give our mind a tremendous amount of repetition with the grammar, words and expressions of the language.

2. Writing allows us to use all of the words and grammar forms that we are currently learning and to solidify those we have already learned. This goes back to the repetition mentioned above, but if for example, we need to hear or produce a word 30 times for it to begin to get “stuck” in our mind, we can significantly increase the rate at which we incorporate new words into our usable vocabulary.

3. Writing about our days in a journal or diary connects the words and grammars we are learning to the context of our lives. This context and emotional connection creates richer meaning and allows for greater retention of the material. We remember things better when we put them in a context that is familiar to our lives and that we are interested in.

4. The next step is to get a native speaker to correct these journals. Once corrected, these journals become an amazing source of integrated review which will allow you to easily and quickly review everything that you have learned.

4. Language learning too often is a race from A to B to C and we often forget much of what was presented back at A by the time we get to point D. If however we have journaled all along the way, looking back through these regularly allows us to reconnect with all of the grammar points and words we learned previously. This is what I call integrated review.

5. These journals are also a great to have as a form of self assessment. There is nothing quite like looking back at your first journals to remind you how far you have come. If you haven’t read Yuki’s story yet, go back and read it now. It will help you understand this last point.

Writing is an important skill in any language, but now one we are usually interested in worrying about as we go about learning a new language. But don’t underestimate the potential writing has to be a great part of helping you learn that language. It is a maximizer and will enhance all that you are doing to learn. So get started writing today!

Many of you worry that your writing will suck.

Let me tell you a little secret – it will.

But it doesn’t matter. Even your blather is part of moving you forward and the more blather now, the quicker your blather will become poetry. So get started. Do your best. Write about things you love. Have fun!

What has your experience with writing been like as a language learner?


terça-feira, 27 de março de 2012

segunda-feira, 26 de março de 2012


Do you remember You? Sim, você conheceu You na Newsletter passada e tenho certeza que você sentiu que You está melhorando o Seu inglês. Eu tive outra aula com You e queria compartilhar com você, may I?

Crescendo é uma palavra usada em uma dinâmica musical. Em uma orquestra, ela indica o aumento da intensidade em que a música deve ser tocada, em um aumento gradual em volume, num processo de expansão da melodia que está sendo tocada. Em aprendizagem de um idioma, crescendo descreve um momento, onde a comunicação do aluno começa a aumentar em expansão e volume, de tal forma, que em um dado momento, ele se apropria da comunicação e começa a produzi-la, expandindo-a, sem esperar o comando ou a pergunta do seu professor.

You é um bom exemplo desse processo.

Previously, You aprendeu como usar "I would like to" para falar sobre Sua vida, sobre o que You like, o que You dislike. Ele compreendeu que "I would like" é melhor que "I want". Apesar de em português, ser comum usar "eu quero" sem soar rude; em inglês, se você usar "I want" soa muito mal-educado. Daí a importância dos verbos modais e de usar a palavra "please".

- Hoje eu quero que você descreva sua rotina,
You. Describe it!

- Minha rotina é muita chata - You reclamou.

Make it exciting - respondi - Faz ficar interessante.

- Como eu começo?

- Comece perguntando "como eu começo" em inglês.

How can I start?

From the beginning - respondi - Do começo!

- Eu não tenho vocabulário!

- Mas tem energia, e se você,
You, usasse toda essa energia – que você usa para dar desculpas – no intuito de tentar, você já estaria at the end da frase, wouldn´t you?

Ok, Teacher - disse You - I will try!

Try not! - eu disse, parafraseando a famosa frase do Yoda em Star Wars - Do it or Do Not!

Ok, Teacher! I will do it! My routine?

Yes! Your routine!

- I would like to describe my routine!

- Very good! Go on...

- I wake up very... How do I say "
cedo" in English, teacher?

- Early!

- Ok, I wake up very early...

- And...

- I go to bed very... How do You say "
tarde" in English?

- Late!

- I go to bed very late!

Junta tudo, You!

- I would like to describe my routine! I wake up very early and I go to bed very late!

- What else?

- O quê?

- Que mais?

- What else? Well... I go to work de Monday a Friday...

- " de Monday a Friday"

- How do I say "de" and "a", teacher?

- Nesse contexto: from and to.

- From Monday to Friday?

- Yes, from Monday to Friday!

- I go to work from Monday to Friday and I work
muito... Wait!!! I know... espera!!!

- How do you say "espera" in English, You?

- Wait???

- No! O contexto aqui é pedir um momento de uma forma educada: hold on!

- Hold on?

- Hold on!

- Ok! Hold on, teacher, I know
"muito" em English...many? No! Vey many? No! Much! Yes!!! Very much! I work very much.

- All together, You!

- What?

- Junta tudo!

- I would like to describe my routine! I wake up very early and I go to bed very late! I go to work from Monday to Friday and I work very much, but I like it.

- Well done, You!

- What else? I don´t like my boss, but I need my job… certo? How do I say “certo” in English?

- Right!

- Right!

- I would like to describe my routine! I wake up very early and I go to bed very late! I go to work from Monday to Friday and I work very much, but I like it. – You Crescendo - I don´t like my boss, but I need my job, right? So, I have to work with my boss, but I have good friends in my job – You Crescendo - They are very good people. We have lunch at 12:00 every day. The food in the restaurant is not very good – You Crescendo - but it is good to be with my friends. They are very funny and they //like me very much. I think this is my routine. Mandei bem, teacher?

You tinha acabado de se apropriar da Sua comunicação, falando muito mais do que o que eu tinha solicitado – Crescendo - Ao fazer isso, You começou a fluir naturalmente, falando por puro prazer e não apenas porque ele precisava, pois havia um professor pedindo e esperando que ele o fizesse.

You não tem tanto vocabulário, mas You sabe que ele pode reaproveitar tudo o que já sabe e criar frases novas, conectando com as antigas e expressando qualquer outra coisa que ele quiser.

- How do I say “mandei bem” in English? – You Pergunta.

- This is for me to know and you to find out! - Respondo, You dá risada. Ele já sabe que isso quer dizer que ele vai ter que pesquisar a frase que ele quer saber para a próxima aula.

To be continued…

sexta-feira, 23 de março de 2012

My Seven Secrets to Learn English

Posted by Oksana

I have always been fond of English. My first memories go far into my early school years when my Mom was assisting me to repeat vocabulary.
Well, what has helped me to approach my dream which implies good command of English? I decided both to analyse my experience (even for my own benefit) and to take the Challenge #25 at the same time.

One Ukrainian proverb says: "Any work has never been easy." This many times prevented me from frustration. And also this helped me to outlast it, for effeciency hardly ever has been apparent immediately. Time! Good work requires thinking, and thinking requires time. In turn, thinking is the main work of a language learner.

I have never expected that studying would be absolutely effortless for me. Once I read that learning the language is like learning to dance. Just different groups of muscles are involved. But actually in both cases you are supposed to acquire certain skills associated with muscle training. When speaking your native language everyday you sometimes even don't think what and how to say. It happens because of muscle memory. Well, and muscle memory still remains to be memory, hence it dwells in the very same place which we are trying to teach some new words. Absolutely, any memory dwells in our mind. Thus, repetition is the first of two main keys when speaking about learning a language.

Once I was told about one interesting interview with the first teacher of music who had taught singing to one of the most popular Russian singers. So, she was asked about the criteria or how she had chose whom to teach. Was it excelent hearing or voice? No! For a wonder, she answered that the most important criteria was the ability to think logically and to grasp the way and the reason of doing something.

Since the Challenge #25 requires telling the Seven Secrets, here they are a few extracts from my experience.

1. Teach your muscle memory. Be a dancer! (Repetition is a clue here).
2. Don't learn the grammar. Try to grasp the logic of the grammar instead. (No rules, the logic rules!)
3. Read out loud, read in phrases. This will impel you to think of item no.2 and no.4. Yes, this will prompt you to listen attentively how the passage should be read and request the grammar why namely these two or three words are joined into a phrase.
4. Pay attention to pace and inflections of intonation while listening to audios. Needless to say you ought to listen a great deal.
5. Be proactive and realise your curiosity. It's like a travel abroad. Launch your big curious nose everywhere! (I've got the similar one ;^) ) 6. 6. Enjoy the learning process!
Learn to defeat your dread. Despite it, try to make mistakes speak. At the beginning you will make many mistakes. Then you will start to notice your mistakes. But believe, in some time you will forget to make so many mistakes if you... start making them today in spite of all your hesitations.
7. Be ready to pay. Your dream takes a lot (energy, time, determination, nerves sometimes, etc.). Your dream is worth this credit.

The title of one book I have read reads "You can't be taught a foreign language" (by Nikolay Zamyatkin). The passive voice doesn't succeed. So these suggestions above are rather hints than the immutable prescription. The work, the choise and the benefit are yours. You can teach yourself.

-- -- --
I'm aware I'm not perfect. If any mistakes, please let me know. I would be happy to learn them, frankly!


quinta-feira, 22 de março de 2012

Knowing and Listening to your Body The human body can be considered a kinesthetic machine. Kinesthetic learning is a form of learning where the huma

The human body can be considered a kinesthetic machine. Kinesthetic learning is a form of learning where the human body actually learns to perform a movement, or series of movements, through participating in a physical activity. Other forms of learning are achieved through visual and/or auditory means.
Through kinesthetic learning, the human body will begin to discover how it is designed to move and adapt to different circumstances as the requirements change. A child learning to walk is an example of kinesthetic learning. As a child first begins to walk their steps, balance and rhythm are very unstable and irregular. However, through repetition, the child's body gains balance, synchronizes the movements of the necessary muscles, and begins to walk with less effort and greater rhythm.

As the owner of your body, you will perform the same learning process as you engage in a variety of physical activities. One of the best ways to promote efficient kinesthetic learning is to form a mind/body connection that focuses on listening to your body's natural signals.

Beginning at a young age, you have been learning what actions you can and cannot perform based on your body's main defense mechanism: pain. For example, when you touch a hot stove, your body tells you to take your hand away to avoid a serious burn. Along this same line of thinking, it is imperative that you listen to the signals that your body is sending to your mind during periods of physical activity, especially when weight training.

Listening to Your Muscles

The soft tissue of the human body is designed to perform movements in specific directions and within a certain range of motion. In addition, all soft tissue is designed to perform two types of movements: concentric (shortening of the muscle) and eccentric (lengthening of the muscle).

For example, when performing a standing straight bar biceps curl, the concentric portion of the exercise is performed when the bar is raised to the chest (biceps muscles are shortened), and the eccentric portion of the exercise to completed when lowering the bar back to the waist area (biceps muscles are lengthened).

In weight training, it is imperative that you learn to focus on the movements of each muscle. By doing so, you will be able to perform the various exercises with a greater emphasis on forcing the intended muscle to actually perform the work. This being said, individuals that are just beginning a weight training exercise routine may want to perform the following exercise to grasp the concept of listening to your muscles, and forcing the intended muscles to perform the work of the movement:

Begin by lying on your back.

Slowly push the heel of your foot against the floor and release.

Notice how your calf muscle also flexes when you perform this movement.

What muscles, and how many muscles, can you count that are engaged in this movement?

Now sit up straight with your right arm and elbow against your side.

Make a fist and begin curling your right arm toward your chest.

Pay careful attention to how the muscles are engaged when performing this motion.

Slowly keep flexing your right arm as if you were performing a biceps curl.

Place your left hand over your right biceps muscle and feel how it contracts and extends as you perform the movement.

When you remove your left hand from your right biceps, can you still feel the contraction and extension of your right biceps muscles?

Now add a small amount of weight to your right hand and perform a few biceps curls.

Pay close attention to the muscles in your right arm. Even with a small amount of weight, you should feel your forearm and biceps muscles contracting and extending as you perform the movement.

You can perform the same type of exercises as above with any muscle in your body (with slight variation in the movement of course). The objective of exercises of this type is to learn how each muscle in your body contracts and extends when performing movements that involve them. You can now apply this concept to the various movements that you perform during your weight training exercise routine. By doing so, you will be better able to isolate the muscles that are being exercised during each exercise type.

Principles in the Physics of Weight Training

The human body works in several ways when you lift weights. Of primary consideration are the concepts of friction and stress. Each time a joint performs a movement, the bones associated with the joint create a degree of friction between them. The force of the friction assists in the movement that is being performed and actually increases your effective strength to a level that is greater than you really possess.

When you hold any amount of weight in a stationary position, you are actually able to hold 20% more than your maximum lifting weight. The truly amazing part is how friction factors into lowering weight. A recent study revealed that the average person can actually lower 40% more weight than they can lift. You can learn to use the friction created within the joints, coupled with proper technique, to promote even greater weight training results.

When you perform a weight lifting exercise, stress is placed on the acting joint. This stress equates to an almost even distribution of the weight on the competing muscles. However, the entire weight is placed on the acting joint. For this reason, when lifting heavy weights, joint injury is far more common than muscle injury. Learning to listen to your joints and soft tissue will assist you in determining whether you should continue with your current weight training routine or if you should back off on the intensity, reduce the amount of weight being used, or eliminate an exercise type from your routine. Excess tension and joint discomfort occur frequently in individuals that routinely weight train with heavy amounts of weight.

The Difference Between Pain and Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness is normal and should be expected when performing a weight training exercise routine. When you lift weights, you are actually creating tiny rips and tears in your muscle fibers that are then healed and reinforced by your body over time. To many individuals, it sounds strange to accept the fact that they are actually damaging their muscle tissue when lifting heavy weights. However, the human body repairs the muscle tissue that was damaged when lifting the heavy weights by adding more muscle fibers to the muscle to prevent the tears from occurring again. Through this process, larger muscles of greater mass and strength are created.

An analogy to how additional muscle tissue is created by the human body is observed when an individual cuts their skin. The scar that is produced from the cut is not old flesh, but instead, new skin that has been manufactured by your body to repair the cut and prevent further cuts from occurring in the same location. In theory, if you were to continue to cut your skin in the exact same spot and let it repair before cutting it again, it would eventually become too tough to cut.

The tiny tears that occur in your muscle tissue are responsible for soreness. It was previously believed that the muscle soreness was caused by an excessive buildup of lactic acid in the muscle tissue, though recent studies have shown that lactic acid has nothing to do with muscle soreness. Muscle soreness that occurs a day or two after an aggressive weight training routine is specifically caused by the damage to the muscle fibers themselves. In fact, biopsies performed on muscle tissue the day after an aggressive weight training routine display bleeding and the disruption of the z-band filaments that hold the muscle fibers together as they slide over one another as the cause of muscle soreness.

Scientists can evaluate the extent of the muscle damage by measuring the enzyme levels of CPK in the blood. The enzyme CPK is typically found in muscle tissue and is released into the bloodstream when the tissue is damaged. Hence, individuals that have the highest levels of CPK in their blood tend to have the highest level of muscle soreness. Correlating levels of the amount of CPK in the blood stream to muscle soreness, researchers have proven that individuals that continue to exercise even when their muscles are sore will most likely experience muscle soreness the next day.

This being said, immediate pain is not normal. Typically, muscles do not become sore for some period of time after a workout. If you are performing a weight training exercise incorrectly, pain, your body's natural defense signal, will occur. While muscle soreness occurs gradually and over time, pain is usually sharp and sudden. If you experience pain while lifting weights, stop immediately and perform another type of exercise or lower the amount of weight being lifted. If the pain is severe and persists, discontinue working out and determine if resting the muscles and joints is required, or if a trip to your medical professional is necessary.

Letting Your Body Call In Sick

The human body will not only let you know when it is time to stop performing an activity, but will also provide signals that you should rest for a while longer before resuming an activity as well. In general, the longer you regularly lift weights, the shorter your recovery period becomes. However, if your muscles are still sore from a previous workout, you should not work those specific muscles until the soreness subsides. Think of muscle soreness as your body's way of telling you that it is still busy repairing the tears from your previous workout.

Almost no lean muscle mass is gained when performing your weight lifting exercise routine. According to several clinical studies, approximately 95% of the gains in lean muscle mass occur during the periods when you are asleep. Sleep allows the body to rejuvenate, revitalize and replenish itself while not having to control all of the motions that we perform when conscious. Taking a day off from your regular weight lifting exercise routine, due to muscle soreness, is not only beneficial in that it allows your muscles the time needed to repair, but to promote greater increases in lean muscle mass as well.

Listening to Your Body's Dietary Signals

Why do some individuals hate almonds while others love them? The answer may be quite simple. Food tastes and preferences develop due to addictions, lifestyle and attitude. In many instances, individuals may have had a bad experience with a particular food (i.e. you got sick after eating a specific food). As a result, you may find that it is difficult to consume that food for a while, if ever again. A 2002 medical study that explored the connections between individual food tastes and psychological associations revealed that:

Sedentary individuals are more likely to enjoy sugary and fatty foods.

Illnesses such as food poisoning caused physiological aversion to the specific food in 65% of the cases studied.

Several foods that were avoided by individuals appeared to be genetically passed by their parents with food allergies.

In short, the medical study concluded that the typical individual's body will migrate toward foods that it considers safe, and protect itself from foods that it views as potentially harmful. However, through bad habits, an individual can train their body to crave food types that are harmful. The study also inconclusively determined that certain individuals crave specific food types.

An additional study in 2004 revealed that individuals will associate certain foods with the nutrients they contain. During the study, the subjects were asked to name a food that they were craving during a meal time. By taking fluid samples from the test subjects, the study concluded that 7 out of 10 subjects requested a food type that provided nutrients that their bodies were currently lacking.

Whether this specific study was conclusive or not, your body will send a signal to your brain when it is either hungry or full. In summary, when paying close attention to the signals that your body sends regarding food consumption, the importance of portion control, nutritional content, and a healthy mind that recognizes the signals cannot be overstated.

Know, Listen, Understand

Knowing, listening and understanding how your specific body functions, operates, and rejuvenates itself is vitally important and essential for longevity in health, fitness and mental well-being. Knowing when to push yourself, ease up in intensity, modify your exercise routine, and eliminate exercises that over time will be more likely to cause injury are all important factors when living a lifestyle where physical activities and exercise are performed regularly.

For these reasons, learning to effectively listen to your body and understand what it is telling you is a vital aspect of living a healthy and fit life over the long run. As you age, your body will change physically, mentally and nutritionally. Through this inevitability, you will want to ensure that you listen to those changes and adjust certain aspects of your life to promote a lifestyle that is prosperous, healthy, fit and disease-free.


quarta-feira, 21 de março de 2012

Learning from your Joints

When you are learning something new, you are not only using your brain, but also all your body, specially your joints.

I have been studying about language acquisition and I realized that people might be surprised if I tell them that they can learn by the joints. They are so accustomed with the old fashioned west ideas about the learning process that they will probably think this teacher is losing his mind. Perhaps, I am, however, if you open your mind to the new approaches, you might have a surprise.

Some people are like an oak tree: too rigid to learn how to change their minds.

As a west civilization, we are among scientists and thinkers who teaches the mind role on it; however, if somebody needs to embody a learning process, their whole body has to be in the process, specially the joints which attach our bones and veins and so on.

I guess I have passed through those studies about joints before, but I have never paid much attention to it. A few days ago, when I was teaching a learner of mine, he told me about the joints role on the learning process and I remembered that this is exactly what I do in my classes: telling people to be flexible, to have experiences instead of classes - learning with the whole body.

Actually, overcome the limitations of the learning process in our west culture is one my goals as a teacher, it is my main target; that's why I have been always interested about the east culture, philosophies and religions.

I guess that the west and east thinkers should befriend each other and learning together how each culture could help one another. Afterwards, I know that there are times in life that we need to be as rigid as an oak tree, however, if we don't learn to be like a bamboo tree, we certainly will break and lose the opportunity to learn, grow and overcome our learning barriers.

terça-feira, 20 de março de 2012

segunda-feira, 19 de março de 2012

You and Me

You and Me
Eu tenho um aluno chamado You, acho que o nome dele é chinês, não sei, nunca perguntei, mas You é tão brasileiro quanto Você e quando You começou a ter aula comigo, You não conseguia abrir a boca, não participava, não tentava, tinha medo de falar errado; ó coitado do You, se eu não tivesse puxado, empurrado, You estaria lá até agora, colecionando palavras cruzadas, perdidas na encruzilhada da sua memória passiva, tão limitada, tão tímida.

Eu puxei You com a Sua permissão. Of course, You não é horse, animal sem vontade, sem WILL, sem aquele impulso que erra, mas acerta e evolui. You começou a tentar, daí o medo de arriscar, pronunciar erradamente, mas pouco a pouco - brick by brick - You foi naturalmente dizendo:

- My name is You!

Not so bad para quem não falava nada.

You, a partir do nome, foi dizendo o que gostava, o que You don't!

- I like to learn!

- I don't like to talk in public!

Why not, You? Por que não? Perguntei, esperando os "because", mas You não conseguiria dizer o motivo, pois You não sabia como dizia "tímido".

Pergunte, You, eu disse, ask me how...

- How can I say "Tímido" in English?

Shy! Respondi.

You sorriu, eu também; You já sabe mais. Sabe o motivo do seu "Don't Like"; agora, me diz You o que você não like:

- I don't like to speak English in public. I am shy!

Don't be shy, You! Just um pouquinho mais, para ficar perfeito, coloque no meio um "because".

- I don't like to speak English in public because I am shy.

Clap! Clap! Clap! You, você foi demais.

- Chega, né, teacher! - You fala.

Falar é exaustivo, posso ver o seu cansaço. Falar inglês é como uma dança, no começo cansa, pois falta leveza e naturalidade nos passos, na garganta, para respirar e saborear - savouring - a maravilha do que é dito. However, You consegue mais, just a little bit more. Não posso parar por aqui. Se You conseguiu até ali, posso aproveitar e esticar um pouco mais pra cá - just a little bit!

- You, para finalizar...

- Não acabou ainda?

- Not yet! Eu gostaria que você dissesse "I would like".

- I would like?

- Yes, I would like!

- I would like...- diz You.

Eu fico feliz com a sua pronúncia. Cópia da minha, nada mal, depois You acha Sua própria voz.

- To talk about... - insisto em mais.

- To talk about?

- Yes! To talk about!

- I would like to talk about...

- Well done, You! - eu vibro. You é esperto, nem precisou ouvir que eu queria juntar o "I would like" com o "to talk about". Continuo - Now, You, termina a frase com "ME".

- Quem? Eu?

- Yes! You, "ME"!

- I would like to talk about me. My name is You. I like to learn. I don't like to speak in public because I am shy!

- Amazing You, now, se eu te dissesse que falta um "mas" - but - em algum lugar da sua frase, onde você colocaria?

You pensou por um instante, respirou e falou:

- I would like to talk about me. My name is You. I like to learn, but I don't like to speak in public because I am shy.

- This is it, You! – eu disse quase explodindo de orgulho. Coisa de teacher feliz com seu aluno.

- O quê?

- This is it! The class is over.

The End!

quinta-feira, 15 de março de 2012

Which Pronunciation Should We Teach Our Students? [Part Two]

By Jennifer

Let me address the teacher’s own speech in greater detail. This is an important factor to consider in answering our main question about which pronunciation we should teach our students. It is not so simple to say, for example, that standard American English should be taught in ESL programs in the U.S. It is also not so simple to say, for example, that British English (RP) should be the norm in EFL programs in Russia.

Why? In the case of ESL, not all teachers speak the standard form of English in that country. In the U.S., for instance, a person from Texas and a person from New Jersey can have very different accents. In the case of EFL, there is often increased diversity among teachers. At one school alone, there may be native and non-native speakers, and the native speakers may all be from different countries: Ireland, Wales, Canada, the U.S., and more.
In the face of such variation among teachers, how can consistency be achieved? I stated that consistent models are needed for learners to establish a solid pronunciation base. Let me take this idea further now that we are considering the realities of ESL and EFL programs. There does not have to be only one form of English taught at one school, but within a single classroom pronunciation instruction should be limited to one form of English. Consistency is created by the teacher. The teacher’s own speech needs to be natural and consistent.

Let me first address native speakers teaching in the classroom. I can comment more boldly on this group, since it is the one I belong to. I believe there is a danger if teacher tries to change his or her natural pronunciation to conform to a standard form of English. It is my opinion that the effort to produce speech sounds and patterns that radically go against one’s native speech can lead to an inconsistent model for students. A teacher who speaks a regional or cultural dialect (e.g., Boston English) should speak clearly yet in a way that is natural and authentic. This teacher should also make students aware that his or her speech varies from the standard. For the most part, I believe I speak standard American English. However, I am aware that I fall into the group of speakers who pronounce words like cot and caught the same. When I must cover these vowel sounds in a pronunciation lesson, I am careful to note this pattern of mine. I have used audio samples of other speakers to supplement my instruction so that learners could hear the two distinct sounds.

Both as EFL and ESL teachers, native speakers should strive for consistency. Even when native speakers find themselves in an EFL setting, and their form of English is not the one generally preferred in that country, I would argue that it is best to continue speaking with their native pronunciation and not try to adopt another accent. For example, when I taught English in Russia, I made no attempt to adopt a British accent, though British English was often favored there. My Russian students heard my North American flapped Ts, hard Rs, and everything else considered standard in that form of English. I should note that most students came to me with previous study of English, so a pronunciation base was already in place. If they spoke to me with sounds and patterns more typical of British English, I allowed it. I only corrected their pronunciation when clarity was lacking.

In the case of teachers who are non-native speakers, I can comment with much less authority. My experience is secondhand: I have observed foreigners in the ESL setting who taught pronunciation lessons competently and effectively. My conclusion for this group of teachers would be that solid training, especially when followed by full immersion in a particular form of English, provides a pronunciation base that non-native speakers can rely on while teaching. Whether the setting be EFL or ESL, the need for consistency is just as strong for the non-native speaker. In fact, this need is coupled with a second one: the need for an accurate assessment of one’s own accent. For non-natives who are aware of a lack of accuracy in their own pronunciation (e.g., with a particular vowel sound), recorded materials can supplement and increase the consistency of instruction.

I want to emphasize a final time the need for consistency – consistency in production. I make this point to teachers and students alike. Be consistent in production, but learn to comprehend varieties of English. From around the world English learners often write to me, asking which accent they should try to master. I have noted that other online teachers give the same advice that I do: We tell students that the ultimate goal is to be understood and not to sound exactly like a native American speaker, a native British speaker, or anyone else. Unless you are training to be an actor or voice artist, accent elimination should not be the goal. Reducing the influence of L1 to achieve clarity in L2 is the goal. Having a foreign accent does not necessarily interfere with communication. Which pronunciation should we teach our students? Clear pronunciation.


quarta-feira, 14 de março de 2012

Should English be taught as a 'global' language?

Global English with Professor David Crystal. Another innovative feature of Global - Macmillan's new course for adult learners of English. Visit the website


Uma revolução sem gramática

David Crystal, autor de A Revolução da Linguagem, fala sobre as mudanças que a internet trouxe ao uso da língua

Professor honorário de lingüística da Universidade do País de Gales, em Bangor, David Crystal, de 66 anos, é uma das maiores autoridades mundiais em linguagem. Autor de A Revolução da Linguagem (Jorge Zahar), ele falou a VEJA sobre as mudanças que a internet trouxe ao uso da língua e sobre as línguas em extinção.
Para ler, clique nos itens abaixo:

1. A internet está mudando o caráter das línguas?
David Crystal: Em cinqüenta ou 100 anos, todas as línguas que utilizam a internet serão diferentes. Está surgindo o que chamo de netspeak, "fala da rede", ou comunicação mediada pelo computador, em jargão acadêmico. Ainda é impossível prever, no entanto, quais serão a forma e a extensão dessa mudança. Leva muito tempo para que uma transformação efetiva se manifeste numa língua. No inglês, por exemplo, notamos uma grande diferença entre a linguagem de Chaucer e a de Shakespeare. Duzentos anos separam o nascimento de um e de outro. Pergunte às pessoas quando foi a primeira vez em que elas mandaram um e-mail. Foi há dez, talvez cinco anos. É algo recente demais. Existem curiosos fenômenos de ortografia, o uso de sinais tipográficos e dos chamados emoticons. Mas, se procurarmos por novas palavras ou uma nova gramática na internet, não encontraremos muita coisa. O inglês é uma língua com mais de 1 milhão de palavras, e somente umas poucas centenas foram incorporadas a ela por causa da internet. Isso não altera o seu caráter.

2. A informalidade é uma característica central do netspeak?
David Crystal: Sim, até o momento. Isso tudo começou com os nerds da internet, há vinte, trinta anos. E eles eram rebeldes. Viam a rede como uma revolução, uma alternativa democrática às formas de comunicação mais formais. Esses pioneiros não pontuavam, não se preocupavam com ortografia, criavam formas estranhas de grafar as palavras. Quando a internet se espalhou, a informalidade se popularizou também. Nos anos 80 e 90, e-mails se tornaram muito informais. Mas a idade média do usuário de internet vem subindo, e com isso a comunicação está ficando mais formal novamente. Acredito que os estudos sobre netspeak que virão daqui por diante vão documentar um aumento da formalidade.

3. O senhor afirma que, no atual ritmo de extinção, em um século teremos so metade das línguas que são faladas no planeta hoje. Por que tantas línguas estão desaparecendo?
David Crystal: O principal motivo é a assimilação cultural por causa da globalização. O crescimento das grandes línguas do mundo funciona como um trator, esmagando os idiomas que se põem no caminho. Isso não é um fenômeno restrito a duas ou três línguas. Não é apenas o inglês que ameaça línguas nativas na Austrália, ou o português que põe em perigo idiomas indígenas no norte do Brasil. O chinês, o russo, o hindi, o suahili - todas as línguas majoritárias ameaçam idiomas de comunidades pequenas. O futuro dessas línguas minoritárias está vinculado a políticas regionais. Nos lugares onde elas sobrevivem, há uma série de práticas políticas e econômicas que valorizam a diversidade.

4. O que se perde quando uma língua morre?
David Crystal: Quando me fazem essa pergunta, costumo rebater com outra: como seria o mundo se a sua língua não houvesse existido? O que você teria perdido, o que todos teríamos perdido se não existisse o português? Se não houvesse o inglês, não teríamos Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens. Quando colocamos as coisas nesses termos, as pessoas vêem. Uma língua expressa uma visão peculiar do mundo. Não importa se a comunidade que utiliza essa língua vive em uma selva, em um iceberg ou na cidade, sua história, seu ambiente e seu modo de pensar não têm igual. O único meio de comunicarmos a percepção do que é ser humano em determinado ambiente é através da linguagem.

5. No Brasil, já houve tentativas de restringir legalmente o uso de palavras estrangeiras, especialmente do inglês. O inglês pode ser considerado em alguma medida uma ameaça ao português?
David Crystal: Não, de forma alguma. Esses movimentos puristas aparecem no mundo todo. E o fato básico é que todas as línguas tomam empréstimos das outras. Ao longo dos últimos 1.000 anos, o inglês incorporou palavras de mais de 350 línguas. Só 20% das palavras do inglês atual remontam às origens anglo-saxônicas e germânicas da língua. Essa incorporação de palavras tornou o inglês uma língua expressiva e rica. Shakespeare não poderia escrever o que escreveu se não contasse com um vocabulário que era germânico, francês e latino. Palavras se incorporam a uma língua não para destruí-la, mas para permitir novas oportunidades de expressão. Se cada palavra que entra no português apagasse uma palavra anterior, isso seria de fato um fenômeno estranho e indesejável. Mas não é assim que funciona. A nova palavra não substitui palavras preexistentes, ela passa a vigorar ao lado delas. A língua evolui desse modo e alcança uma gama expressiva mais ampla.

6. Como lidar com a questão do vocabulário importado ao educar as crianças?
David Crystal: Os jovens gostam de usar palavras estrangeiras, pois em geral elas soam inovadoras. Gostam também de empregar gírias que eles próprios criam. Não se pode proibir jamais crianças e adolescentes de utilizar suas formas particulares de linguagem. É como dizer a eles: "Valorizem a linguagem – mas não a sua própria". É muito importante que, nas escolas, os estudantes aprendam toda a gama de possibilidades da língua. Eles precisam descobrir que há palavras tradicionais e palavras novas para as mesmas coisas. E devem saber também a diferença estilística entre essas opções.

7. Por que o inglês é a língua mais visada pelos puristas?
David Crystal: Pela razão simples de que é a língua mais globalizada. É sobretudo uma questão política, que varia de região para região. Quem fala quíchua, no Peru, não está preocupado com o inglês, mas com vocábulos que remetem à história do domínio espanhol sobre os povos indígenas. A política está sempre por perto nessas questões.


terça-feira, 13 de março de 2012

Which Pronunciation Should We Teach Our Students? [Part one]

By Jennifer

This question was posed by a woman training for her teaching certificate in an EFL program. Her background information is very relevant, and it prompts me to identify the most salient factor to be the context in which we are teaching: EFL or ESL. In the context of ESL, it is logical to teach the form of English as spoken in that country: British English in the U.K, Australian English in Australia, etc. In the context of EFL, I would argue the logic of teaching the form of English that dominates in most spheres of that society. Factors go beyond geographical proximity and include economic, political, historical, and social ties to a particular English-speaking country.

Of course, the matter cannot be settled so easily. We should also consider which pronunciation a certain student wants to follow. In this day and age, thanks to increased international travel and the development of e-learning and blended classrooms, students have access to virtually any speech model they want. Two ELLs living in the same non-English speaking country may favor two different accents. Why should they be denied what is readily available?

There are other factors, of course. We must acknowledge the teacher’s own speech. This ultimately decides what pronunciation a given set of learners will be exposed to during the time period they are under that teacher’s instruction. What model is the teacher able to provide? There are native and non-native speakers. In which accent was the non-native speaker trained? Among the native speakers, regional and cultural variations may be used. I would argue that above all consistency is needed. Students need a consistent model to follow in order to create a solid pronunciation base. Ideally, within the context of a course or a program, one form of English pronunciation should be taught.

Notice how I specified one form of English pronunciation. I did not say simply one form of English. I want to argue the need for consistency when it comes to production, but in the matter of comprehension, exposure to different varieties of English is necessary. A good course or program will not limit students’ exposure to different accents. A learner will avoid confusion and achieve greater clarity if one set of speech sounds and patterns is used in production, but the learner must be trained to comprehend variations of speech sounds and patterns. How this is achieved is decided by the curriculum. For example, a school might have separate courses for pronunciation and listening skills. However, if listening and speaking are combined, it is necessary for the teacher to provide a consistent set of models (his/her own speech and recorded materials) for students to follow when production is the focus. Then when listening skills become the focus, variations in accent should be welcomed.

I will continue discussing this topic in my next posting. Until then, let me pose two questions:

What is an EFL teacher to do when his or her native language is a form of English other than the one given preference in that country?

Should ESL teachers who speak a regional or cultural dialect attempt to conform to the standard form of English in the pronunciation classroom?


domingo, 11 de março de 2012

Let it Flow

Alfredo is a great learner. Como qualquer aluno, ele possui suas inseguranças e dificuldades, however, there is algo no olhar do Alfredo que é muito difícil de ensinar: savouring!

Ele ama aprender, quase never falta as aulas and if he misses it, sempre tenta recuperar a matéria que perdeu or envia um e-mail dizendo:

"I am very sad,master. I hate missing my classes!"

Ele called me "master", mas quem está mastering cada vez mais o seu estudo é himself. Faz quase dois meses que ele me escreve um e-mail per day. Of course, there are mistakes, e ele sabe disso, however, o aim da atividade dele é "let it flow".

Let it flow é deixar sair a comunicação escrita sem o Judge apontando o dedo para o errado nem um Teacher corrigindo toda hora. Nesse processo de livre escrita, os alunos começam a usar seu vocabulário sem as barreiras da fala que impede o flow constantemente.

Ao se habituar a escrever uma vez por dia, Alfredo consegue:

1. Resgatar o conhecimento prévio das aulas anteriores;

2. Impedir a curva de esquecimento que varre todo o conhecimento aprendido a cada 24 horas;

3. Praticar o que aprendeu ao reorganizar em forma de escrita o seu conhecimento prévio;

4. He has got a different English class every day;

All in all, Alfredo tem conseguido expressar cada vez melhor as suas ideias. Criativo, ele brinca com as palavras e forma "Alfredo's new expressions" que faria qualquer professor babaca and tradicional se remoer on the table; however, this freedom tem dado a ele muito mais do que eu poderia ensinar: confidence!

Alfredo é a great model for all of you, my dear learners. Façam como ele: usem todos os recursos do seu curso de inglês. Ter aula é muito pouco: learn more by yourself!!!!

Professor Frank

sexta-feira, 9 de março de 2012

How To Build Up your Speech


by Jillian Zavitz
Learning to speak English with confidence is not as easy as one might think. Most if not ALL of the students who sign up with have just that problem… lack of or no confidence when communicating and speaking in English. As a teacher — no progress is really complete without building that confidence — so it is my main goal when teaching to boost up a student’s confidence as much as possible. Students can also speed up the process by taking into account these tips (however it is understandable that they are easier said than done):

– the only way to learn is by making mistakes — your English tutor is there to correct those mistakes and to help you understand WHY they are mistakes and what the proper form is. If you don’t feel comfortable making mistakes with your teacher — your confidence level will take that much longer to increase.

– sure its easy to stick with vocabulary that is simple — but do you really learn anything that way? Try new words, grammar and sentence structures — increasing your vocabulary and comfort zone will give you a larger range of words to work with in a variety of situations.

– your tutor is there to help YOU learn to speak English. Ask them questions — ask for their help if you don’t understand something. Don’t be shy — remember that these are YOUR classes.


quarta-feira, 7 de março de 2012

Inglês Neozelandês

Breve História

O inglês é usado na Nova Zelândia há mais de 200 anos, desde a primeira visita do Capitão James Cook e sua tripulação anglo-falante em 1769. Em seu diário, ele registrou algumas palavras da língua Maori, tais como pah (uma vila fortificada) e, numa visita posterior, pounamu (nefrita), que, mais tarde, tornou-se parte do vocabulário de todos os neozelandeses. Entretanto, um ponto de partida com mais bases em dados reais é 1840, quando os Maoris, habitantes da ilha desde o século IX, cederam kawanatanga (exercício governamental, interpretado pelos britâncos como poder supremo) à coroa britânica no Tratado de Waitangi. A partir desta época, colonizadores das Ilhas Britânicas começaram a chegar em números cada vez maiores, trazendo com eles seus modos de falar regionais.

A imigração de australianos e pessoas de diferentes regiões da Grã-Bretanha para a Nova Zelândia tem influenciado de maneira significativa o modo como a língua inglesa neozelandesa se desenvolve. Consequentemente, esta variedade evidencia a influência linguística tanto do inglês britânico como do australiano. Alguns linguistas fazem referência à teoria do "melting pot". Basicamente, "um novo dialeto surge quando os falantes de vários dialetos de inglês são colocados juntos, como o que ocorre nestas situações coloniais". Acredita-se que a Nova Zelândia emergiu como sua presente estrutura na década de 1940. No entanto, o processo de mudança linguística começou mais cedo, tendo o inglês falado na Nova Zelândia passado por grande mudança no século XIX.

Vocabulário e Ortografia

Embora a Nova Zelândia se localize a mais de 1.200 milhas de distância (o equivalente a mais ou menos 2000 km), muito do inglês lá falado é semelhante ao falado na Austrália. Entre algumas poucas diferenças entre o inglês australiano e o neozelandês, está a influência das falas Maori e escocesa no sotaque deste último, particularmente das regiões ao sul de Ilha Sul - uma influência do grande número de antigos colonizadores escoceses, que chegaram no século XIX.

Exemplos da influência da língua Maori são as palavras alcheringa e haka, ou mesmo o nome Maori para a própria Nova Zelândia (Aotearoa). Esta tem sido cada vez mais usada em contextos internacionais. A tradução é "a terra da grande nuvem branca".

Apesar de o Maori compartilhar um status igual ao das línguas oficiais da Nova Zelândia, no dia a dia tudo que você precisará será do inglês, ou sua colorida variante Kiwi. Todas as pessoas de origem Maori falam inglês fluentemente, alternando fraquentemente com inúmeros termos maoris que, com o passar do tempo, se tornaram parte da linguagem Kiwi diária.

De qualquer forma, os Kiwis (como os neozeladeses chamam uns aos outros) têm suas próprias gírias, também. Palavras oficiais como benzine em vez de petrol, gas (gasolina), no entanto, são relativamente poucas. Assim como nas línguas dos Aussies e dos Yankees (modos informais para denominar os australianos e os americanos, respectivamente) é mais comum ocorrer gírias do que na Inglaterra.

*Curiosity - Kiwi Bird, New Zealand's National Symbol

The Kiwi is the most ancient bird found in New Zealand. It is a nocturnal bird with weak eyesight, is flightless, rather small and sturdy, with a long beak. It nests in holes on the forest floor. Despite its awkward appearance, a kiwi can actually outrun a human and have managed to survive because of their alertness and their sharp, three-toed feet, which enable them to kick and slash an enemy. Kiwis have been known to live up to twenty years.

As an emblem it first appeared late 19th century in New Zealand regimental badges. Badges of the South Canterbury Battalion in 1886 and the Hastings Rifle Volunteers in 1887 both featured kiwis. Later, kiwis appeared in a great number of military badges. By 1908, kiwis were appearing in numerous sporting, political, and other newspaper cartoons.

The Kiwi bird has become a national symbol for New Zealand. Today, New Zealanders overseas (and at home) are still invariably called "Kiwis". The Kiwi is still closely associated with the Armed Forces. The New Zealand dollar is often referred to as the "The Kiwi" and the kiwi fruit is known as a "Kiwi" in some countries. Kiwis feature in the coat of arms, crests and badges of many New Zealand cities, clubs and organisations.



terça-feira, 6 de março de 2012

Take Control of Learning Grammar

By Aaron

I am a firm believer that the more a learner takes control of his or her learning, the more effective learning will be. I also think that we learn best when we are focusing on the very next things we are ready to learn, not necessarily the next thing that shows up in the textbook.

The problem of course is that we are not experts in the field of second language acquisition. How in the world are we supposed to know what we are “ready” to learn next? How are we to decide what language structure we should focus on next to optimize our language learning experience?

Because I don’t pretend to write as an expert or for experts, I want to offer a simple idea for figuring out what to learn next. It’s an idea for everyday language learners and one I hope we can all use to maximize the language learning journey. I have used it some and have shared it with others and while it is in no way a failsafe method for moving forward, it does offer a modicum of control for the independent language learner. It in many ways reflects what Terry Marshall shares in The Whole World Guide to Language Learning:

You can become fluent without formal classes or teachers by concentrating on your own needs rather than on performing for a language instructor. To do that, you need a framework which

provides direction for your language learning
focuses your learning on areas of personal interest, and
systematically prepares you to deal with more complex language usage
My desire in sharing with you today is to help provide direction for you learning while giving you a system that will allow you to deal with increasingly complex grammar structures. I have written about my ideas here but have also included a video at the bottom of this post to help explain it better.

In order to use this idea, you will need to be able to read basic texts in the language you are learning. If you are just beginning, I’d encourage you to start with some basic instruction from a book like the Teach Yourself Series, with a program like Livemocha, or with another introduction to the language. I would also encourage you to begin reading in the language as soon as you begin the language learning journey.

Step 1: Find an Appropriate Sample of Text
If you have been regularly reading as part of your language learning then you will want to use what ever you are currently reading. (If you haven’t yet begun to read, I’d suggest starting now. You can read

here, here or here to help you get started.) The text you will use should be something you are familiar with but which is not so easy that you know and understand every grammar structure used.
A good story book or a newspaper article could both be great texts to chose from and you need to find a long enough text to give you a good sample of the language. You may want to make a photocopy of the text as we will be highlighting and writing on it.

Step 2: Identify Known Grammar Structures
The first step is to read through the text with a highlighter and mark all of the grammar structures that you know and understand and with which you are comfortable. Knowing what these are called or even how they work isn’t really necessary just as long as you know what they are saying when you see or hear them.

Step 3: Identify Unknown Grammar Structures
Next, chose a different color to mark with and go back through the text highlighting all the grammar structures you do not yet feel comfortable with. Some will be completely unknown. Some will be so unknown you might not even know if it is a grammar structure or not. Others will be sstructures that you are starting to have a hunch about. You may not know exactly what is going in with them, but you are starting to recognize the patterns in which they are used and to have a feeling about what they might mean.

Step 4: Identify Next Step Grammar
Now that all of the unknown grammar structures have been identified, find the next step grammar. Of the structures that were marked, which seems the one that you are most ready to learn. That is the grammar structure is the next step and the one that you should begin to work on mastering.

Step 5: Make a Plan to Master the Structure
Now that you have identified what grammar you would like to work toward mastering, it is time to make a plan to make that happen.

Begin by reading a bit more and identifying every instance of the grammar structure. This will help give you a feel for how it is being used.
Write down five or six sample sentences from the text so that you can have a good look at how the grammar shows up and the context in which it is used. This will also give you a sampling of sentence to work from later.
Quite often, if you are already have a hunch about the structure and if you are getting lots of comprehensible input, this focused attention will unlock the meaning behind it without ever having to consult a native speaker or a grammar resource. This kind of intuitive, discovery based learning of the grammar will help you make a deeper connection to it than if you had just looked it up in a grammar resource and read about it.
If you still have a hunch, but still aren’t completely certain how to use the grammar or what it means, I’d encourage you first to experiment with it a bit. Write ten sentences using it and submit them to Lang-8 for correction or have a native speaker take a look at them. This feedback will either confirm the hunch or reveal your continued lack of understanding.
Whether you feel like you have the new grammar down pat or are still lacking in understanding, it would be a good idea now to take a look at an explanation in a grammar resource. By moving the academic explanations to the end, you allow your brain the time to make natural connections to the grammar. The explanation then can fill in the gaps and complete the learning journey. But I would encourage you to wait. You’ll get it and it will be due to your own discovery rather than some book simply telling you the answer.
Finally, make sure that you find ways to incorporate the new grammar into each day so that it gets the repetition necessary to stick. Journaling, hand crafted audio and reading extensively are all ways to make sure you see it again and again.
Take Control
In this manner language learners can take control of their language learning in ways that they may not have imagined possible. So whether you are bored with the status quo, falling behind or just looking for a way to change up your personal program for learning, this is a simple way to put you in control of the journey and allow you to answer the question, “What should I be learning next?”

Take a moment now to watch the video in which I walk through a specific example of how to use this idea.

Hopefully this will make what I am talking about here even more clear.


segunda-feira, 5 de março de 2012

A Good English Foundation

"If you're interested, you'll do what's convenient; if you're committed,
you'll do whatever it takes."
John Assaraf

Do you know what the word "Intool" means?

If you look up, you might find it or not. However - don't worry- on this
newsletter, I will give the meaning of this word.

During a class this week, I realized that most people receive our
newsletters, however, they don't read it. It supposed to surprise me, but I have never expected that those newsletters would be read by all; quite the opposite, I have always known that these newsletters are written and read by learners and learners only. The students would probably save it on a file that will never be opened or delete it straight way.

Perhaps I have forgotten to explain to those who don't read it that these
"articles" are part of their course, part of the process of turning them
from students to learners. Perhaps, they can blame on me. Perhaps...

However, the reason why I keep sending it and I won't stop is that I really
believe that someday they will find their learning grit and with it they
will comprehend that learning English is not just the classes and the
content of a grammar or vocabulary book, moreover, learning English is to
build a good foundation.

A foundation is a part of a structure of a building that is below the ground
and supports the rest of it. It is the most basic part of the English
learning process from which the rest of it develops. When you have a good,
solid foundation, it is easier to master your study for good.

Building a good foundation is the first step taken to learn something. Those
newsletter are the foundation of our course from which the rest of your
learning develops.

Nobody is born committed, but commitment is essential when you are studying
anything, not just a second language. The newsletters empower you to get it,
intool you to have a good kick off and continue on. Intool ??? What does it
mean? Stay put and calm down, we are getting there.

The aim of our school is not teaching you English only, but helping you to
learn how to learn anything. It is an invitation for a journey and your
destination is the autonomy. You can learn on your own and we can help you
with that, you only need to take the first step: build your foundation and
believe the intool is the best way to learn and master your English. Intool
again??? Hey there, please keep reading...

If you are a learner - no matter your level - you have read until here. If
you are a learner, you have tried to understand the text by looking up the
complicated words in the dictionary or have tried to guess the meaning by
the context, however, if you have got this far, it means that no matter how
difficult it was, you have just kept going on and on and further:

For you and for you only, I will reveal the secret of all learning
processes: intool!

Do you know what intool means?

It is Never TOO  Late learning to learn!!!

This is the new concept being taught in all universities in Europe. This is
the new concept being taught even in China to help the Chinese to master
English in a very fast way. INTOOL is the new concept in education and it is
the core of your Frank Experience.