If you take English classes or any type of class for that matter, it’s important to make the most of the time you have. Classes are not usually cheap and if you have a private teacher, the cost can mount up quickly. So, what can you do in class in order to take full advantage of the time you have face-to-face with the expert?
WHERE’S THE PERFECT PLACE TO PRACTICE ENGLISH? CLASS!
This sounds like a silly thing to mention. In fact, it’s the reason why everyone has signed up for class in the first place; practice. But, many students get to class and are so embarrassed to make a mistake that they don’t speak. Well, guess what? Your teacher knows that you are going to make mistakes. In fact, it’s her job to help you correct them. But, if you don’t try to speak in class, she can’t do that. From my experience, the biggest obstacle to any language learner is overcoming the embarrassment to speak. Once this is no longer an issue, performance increases dramatically. I’m not asking you to go from 0 to 60 in 1 second. But, if you go little by little it’s better than remaining silent. So, embrace the fear of looking foolish and have fun with it. And yes, I know it’s easier said than done.
SWITCH YOUR BABEL FISH* TO “ENGLISH” FOR CLASS
Another habit you need to develop is using as little L1 (your mother tongue) in class as possible. I see a lot of fearless students speaking in English to the teacher but then if they have a doubt and the teacher is occupied with another student, they turn to their neighbour and ask their question in L1. Bad habit. Once you go into the classroom, you need to think that the only language to speak is English. It doesn’t matter if you are an advanced student or just beginning. English is the language of the class and you should not change that. If you get into this habit, you will be less likely to mix your language with English when you are in a real situation using English.
BE PROACTIVE IN ENGLISH CLASS
The greatest habit you can have in English class is most likely one of the most important in life. Be proactive. Don’t wait for someone else to ask the question. Be the first to volunteer for a role-play. Take notes although no one else in class is. Ask your teacher all of the questions you can think of. This is the time to take advantage of your teacher and clarify everything you need. Later, at home, when you are doing your homework or reading a magazine or watching a film in English, you won’t be able to ask your teacher to help you. In class is the opportunity. You can write down your doubts when out in the world and then take them with you to class. These real world questions are where the rubber meets the road** and learning English really becomes useful. I’m sure your classmates would love to also learn what to say in the situations you bring up. Students can learn just as much from each other in class as they can from the teacher.
So don’t be afraid to make mistakes, always communicate in English in class, and ask be proactive in class. If you can make these habits a reality, your learning will speed up and you will learn a lot more than just what the teacher has set out for you. Have fun with it. It’s always great learning something new.
*read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy // **where the rubber meets the road = where the crucial or practical test is