Help! I'm not improving my English!
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Hi, there. My name is Emma, and in today's video, I am going to discuss something that
is a problem for a lot of advanced students. That problem is: "Help: I'm not improving
my English anymore." Okay? A lot of advanced students believe that they are no longer improving.
They've learned the present perfect, they've learned the past tense, they know a lot of
vocabulary, and they just feel like they're no longer getting better in English; they
feel like they are at the same level.
So, in this video, I am going to tell you three ways to stop you from feeling this way,
because it's not true. Okay? You probably are improving; you just don't realize it.
So, the first thing I want to do is explain why these feelings are normal. I have here
a graph. This means beginner, this is advanced, and intermediate would be here. For a lot
of students, they remember when they were a beginner. They learned a lot. You learn
past tense, you learn all sorts of new vocabulary, you learn: "Hello", "Good-bye", "How are you?"
There's a lot you learn as a beginner, and you actually learn quite quickly. Okay? The
first day you learn English, maybe you learn five words; the next day maybe you learn 10.
You're learning very, very quickly.
As you get more and more advanced, the learning actually starts to kind of trickle off; it
starts to almost plateau. You're still learning, but you're not learning as much as you did
when you were a beginner. You don't feel the same way as you did when you were... When
you were a beginner. So, this is a very normal feeling.
How do you deal with this? Okay? How do you deal with this frustration? Well, first of
all, a lot of students, they don't realize how much they're actually learning, because
they don't think about what they're learning. They go to school and then they come home,
or they go to work and come home, and they just, you know, they don't think about it.
Well, so this is why I recommend making a self-reflection journal. Okay? If every day
you write what you have learned that day about your English vocabulary, maybe grammar, this
will help you recognize that yes, you are learning. Okay? Yesterday, maybe, you know,
you learned five new words. When you write these words down, then you have proof, you
have evidence of how much you actually are learning. And you can think about, and this
will help you with that frustration.
So, what I would recommend doing is buy maybe a diary or a journal, and in that journal
just write: "What did I learn today?" Did you learn some new idioms? Did you learn a
new expression? A new word? A new grammar point? Okay? So write down everything you've
learned, and then it's good to think about: what do you want to learn tomorrow? If you
think about what you want to learn, you're more likely to actually learn it, and this
will really help you get over this plateau. Okay?
A second thing you can do, which will help you with this frustration, is in terms of
goals. Okay? A lot of students, when they make a goal, their goal is too big; their
goal is: "I want to learn English. This is my goal. This is what I want to do." The problem
is this doesn't tell you how you're going to do it, and it's just too big; you can't
measure it. It's very difficult to measure this goal, so I've put an "x" here.
Instead, you should pick a smaller goal. Okay? So, for example: "Today I will learn five
verbs." You could be even more specific. "Today I will learn five verbs about swimming."
Maybe you want to practice pronunciation. "Today I will use 'I'll' instead of 'I will' three
times.", "Today I will use the present perfect two times." So when you actually make a goal
and you have very specific numbers, and times, and detail, this will really help you to get
over this hump because you know that you are actually improving, you have evidence, you
have this journal, you have these goals, and it's a lot easier to meet these goals.
Finally, a third thing you can do if you're feeling frustrated because of this is you
can tape record yourself speaking. You can either buy a tape recorder, or use your phone
or computer. Talk about something for one minute, and then listen to your mistakes.
Okay? Keep doing this every day. Measure it. Listen for specific mistakes, and see: are you improving?
When you speak, do you say a lot of: "Uh, umm, ah" or is it very clear? Do you use organizers?
"First of all, secondly, finally"? Or is your speech very confused and without organization?
So by tape recording yourself, you have evidence. You can listen to yourself in... You know,
in the past. "Okay, this is how I sounded five months ago. This is how I sound now.
I have improved." Okay?
So, the main reason why students feel frustrated is because they have no evidence of how much
they are learning and how much they are improving. By following these three things: creating
a journal, setting small goals, and taping yourself speak, this is a way to really deal
with your frustration and to have evidence of your improvement. Okay.
So, I invite you to visit our website: www.engvid.com. There you can find a lot of different resources
on vocabulary, grammar, speaking, pronunciation, and you can practice those words and write
about them in your self-reflection journal. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel,
which has a lot of similar resources. So, I invite you to come visit us. Thank you for
watching this video. I hope you are not feeling like this, feeling frustrated, and I hope
you realize you are improving. Until next time, take care.