If you are new here please read this first.
Hello everyone! Finally I’m back from holidays and I’m ready to start working on new videos, blog posts and also keep on editing new English Harmony lessons. Yes, yes, you heard me right, the English Harmony System 2.0 is going to be updated with new lessons and I’m planning to launch the new miniModules later on this year.
Have you taken this year’s holidays yet? Are you having them later on during the summer? Anyway, no matter when you have them, one thing is for sure – we all need to unwind and get away from it all for a while.
And would you believe, it’s not only beneficial for you personally, it’s got a tremendous impact on your performance whatever it is that you do.
Whether you’re a student, carpenter, warehouse operative or a call centre operator, your work performance is definitely going to improve after a break. Personally I was away from my work for nearly three weeks due to the fact that the knitting factory where I work shut down for a week, and shortly after I went to sunny Algarve in Portugal with my family.
After coming back to work I feel so much more energized and I would gladly do tasks that normally would annoy me. And to be totally honest with you, I was even glad to go back to work, because there’s only so much of idleness one can enjoy. After a while even the most exciting pastimes have a potential of becoming boring and I guess we all have to agree that it’s the very fact of scarcity of holidays that make them so appealing.
But please don’t think I’m claiming to have discovered something unique. We all know how much we value weekends, for instance, and normally we feel our energy is replenished when coming in on a Monday morning.
Anyway, going back to English fluency, I have to highlight the effect that a prolonged period of absence from speaking English has on a foreign English speaker. Personally I didn’t get to speak much English during those three weeks I was off, and even while in Portugal most I had to speak was a few sentences when checking into the hotel, booking taxis and ordering food in restaurants.
So one would assume that after three weeks of very little spoken English practice my spoken English would have slightly deteriorated. I would have thought so as well, however, it was not the case!
The very moment I met my friend Will, I could speak just as easily and effortlessly as on the day we parted! It was a bit of a surprise for me as I actually expected to have a short warming up period, but contrary to my expectations it didn’t happen.
So where does it leave us with spoken English improvement?
The first piece of advice – don’t stress out if you’re taking a break from spoken English practice. Don’t strive for a constant 24/7/365 English immersion. I’ve already discussed merits of taking a short break from speaking English; now I’m pointing out that it’s OK to take your mind off English for a longer period of time.
If you’re constantly worried about the level of your spoken English and you’re trying to do your best ALL THE TIME, it may be too overwhelming for your psyche to deal with. Then you may start experiencing all sorts of English fluency issues like mind chatter, racing thoughts and a sensation of a complete uselessness as an English speaker on occasions you get stuck in a middle of conversation.
Don’t take me wrong though – you DO have to practice spoken English as much as you can in order to improve your English fluency, there’s no doubt about that.
All I’m saying is that you needn’t worry TOO MUCH if you’re missing out on spoken English practice for a while. Just like in any other activity, taking some time off facilitates the acquisition of new vocabulary, phrases, expressions and collocations. Your mind keeps processing things even if you’re not consciously aware of it and your actual spoken English level is a bit higher than you think!
The second conclusion is the following.
You don’t need to be constantly engaged into English speaking to keep the improving curve going upwards. There is such thing as critical frequency in language acquisition and it basically means you’re much better off exposing yourself to the language for short, frequent bursts rather than for longer periods of time yet not so regularly.
The aforementioned principle is actually closely related to what I was saying about taking breaks from practicing English.
At the heart of it all lies the principle of spacing your exposure to English and engagement in speaking the language; indeed it’s no different from spaced repetition I looked at in the previous blog post.
So don’t get too anxious if you’ve achieved quite a good level of spoken English fluency but now you have to take some time off work or go back to your home country for a while. Taking a break never hurt anyone – be it an athlete or a student; it’s even necessary to take some time off to recover both your body and mind no matter what activity you’re involved into.
But don’t forget this also – if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!
P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!