6 Strategies for ESL Students Editing Their Own Papers
20 most common ‘Words often confused’ in English
How You Can Write Your Research Paper in Under 24 Hours!
Using Native Language in the English Class? Non-sense!
Video Transcript Below: Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! I'm Robby and I'm bringing you another video episode in the English Harmony video blog. And today's topic is teaching English via native language which is something that totally blows my mind at this stage in my life because now I know for a fact that English can be taught successfully only using English as the medium. Well, obviously in the very early stages of learning the language you would have to use your native language to understand the basic concepts of English, right? But as you progress through your learning curve and you get to know a whole lot more English words and phraseology and all that, there is no reason why you couldn't do away with the native language altogether, right? And here's a funny thing. Here in this country – I live in Ireland – and in this country when they teach foreign languages at school, at least to the best of my knowledge, they still use English during the lessons which doesn't make any sense at all. Because in other countries, such as Germany for example, when they learn English they only use English in the classroom which is something that makes a whole lot of sense! (more…)
Just Because You Have English Textbooks Doesn’t Mean You Possess That Knowledge!
Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog or if you're listening to this as an audio file, welcome back to English Harmony podcast. Now, today's subject is English books: textbooks, grammar books, reference books, collocation compilations, phrasal verb compilations, all sorts of English books, right? And you may possess dozens of them, but just because you have all those books doesn't mean that you possess the knowledge. And moreover, it doesn't mean that you can actually use all that knowledge when speaking with other people in real life. Nothing could be actually further from the truth! If you believe that just by buying a new fancy book will somehow magically make you better English speaker, it's just not working like that in real life. And here’s why. You see, language learning is a quite unique discipline and it's definitely something that I've been touching upon in my previous videos and articles on my blog. And why it's unique? Here’s why. When you learn any other abstract humanitarian subject at school, for example history or geography or psychology - you name it - it's all based on you acquiring information, processing the information, understanding what's – what it is that you actually are being told, right? And being able to produce those facts in a written format, more often than not, right? Basically you have to do tests to show your teacher or whoever could be assessing your test that you actually know the stuff, right? And it's all passive. It's you memorizing things, knowing what it's all about and being able to reproduce all that knowledge in written format, sometimes orally. (more…)
Don’t Try to Figure Out What Something Means in English Grammar Terms – It Serves NO Purpose!
Why It’s So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I’m Robby and in this particular video, which is a follow up on one of my latest YouTube video called “You are what you do”. I’m going to discuss one specific aspect of the whole problem of you being what you’re doing and it was pointed out to me by Juhapekka. He is a very prolific commentator on my blog and I really, really thank you for that Juhapekka :!: Your ideas that you have put into your comments have served as inspiration for so many videos for me and as I said, I’m really very grateful to you for that! So, in this particular comment Juhapekka points that… But before that, before we are actually looking into his comment, I want to remind you what the whole “You are what you do” thing is about. (more…)
I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!
Traditional English Teaching Industry Instils Anxiety and Lack of Self-Confidence!
A few days ago I was surfing the Net for English pronunciation improvement related info, and I came across an article that is an embodiment of everything that I don’t like about the traditional English teaching industry and the way non-native English speakers are perceived. I’m not going to provide a link to the actual article because I don’t want to potentially start a war with its author; suffice it to say that the headline of the article implies you have to hide your foreign accent and then they compare the size of English vocabulary of an 8 year of native English speaking child with that of a typical non-native English speaker. The conclusion was that you’d better make sure to build your English vocabulary by learning 4 new English words a day if you even want to stand a chance of coming close to a 15 year old native English speaker (it’s supposedly the age when a person has acquired pretty much a full working vocabulary in their native language.) Here’s a number of problems I want to point out in relation to all the aforementioned English learning principles: (more…)
Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!
Why So Many Foreigners CAN’T Speak Fluent English?
4 Reasons Why You Can’t Compare the Average Foreign English Speaker With a Small Child in a Native Speaking Family
The English language teaching industry is awash with children vs adult comparisons. Statements such as: “Learn the English language just like babies do – simply listen, and let all the language sink in…” or “Small children are best at learning the English language, their brain is like a sponge! We adults don’t stand a chance…” are so commonplace that we tend to take them for face value and we don’t question them at all. Here at English Harmony I question all mainstream standards and practices, and more often than not I’ve found them to be totally wrong. I figured out a long time ago that you don’t need anywhere near as much focus on grammar as they’ll make you believe in any academic English teaching institution. I learned it the hard way that learning new English words via my native language – which is a typical industry standard – is actually bad for my English fluency because it creates a lot of unnatural vocabulary associations in my brain. And it took me a long, long time to define my personal problem – inability to SPEAK in English FLUENTLY – for the simple reason that no-one had ever said it to me during my English language studies at primary, secondary and college level which were 99% focused on developing my ability to read and write! Today I’m taking on another myth: “In order to learn the English language, we need to look at small kids in native English speaking families and copy what they do.” I say: “DON’T copy what little children do because you’re not comparing like with like!” (more…)
Improve Your Spoken English Upon Success!
Any improvement process can be accelerated ten-fold if one focuses on the positive instead of the negative. Speaking in terms of spoken English improvement, I can paraphrase the above statement as follows: You can accelerate your spoken English improvement big time if you focus on your success (things you can say correctly) instead of focusing on your mistakes and imperfections. If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been writing about similar matters in the past. The following article, for example - Focus on What You CAN Say in English Instead of What You CAN’T! - highlights the fact that many foreigners feel overwhelmed by the feeling of NOT KNOWING certain things in terms of English vocabulary and grammar. I’ve also been pointing out that we, foreigners, should ignore our mistakes in the sense that we don’t have to freak out every time it happens; we merely need to take action upon it, simple as that! Well, this advice doesn’t always go down well with my audience because people often think I’m encouraging my fellow foreigners to ignore their mistakes and not improve their English (I’ve tried to explain it in this video and that’s the last time I’ve touched upon that subject), but nothing could be further from the truth! In today’s article, however, I’m going to put a different twist on the whole concept of making mistakes, spoken English improvement and success. I’m going to look at the EMOTIONAL connection between spoken English improvement and success, and how it affects your chances of succeeding as an English student. (more…)
Why Desire to Translate is Irresistible & How to Deal With It
English Teacher Destroys Student Confidence by Scolding Them? It’s Unacceptable!
This video is a response to one of my blog readers’ e-mails, and he’s painting a pretty dire picture of his English class! Their English teacher makes them read a paragraph out of their textbooks and then the students are required to retell the story using their own words. It’s all nice and well up to the point where she starts scolding those students who are struggling with verbalizing their thoughts :!: IT IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE! What she’s doing is the following: she’s taking a brilliant English fluency improving tool – retelling stories (read more about it in this blog post) – and then she turns it into a confidence destroying machine! It’s mad. As a teaching professional, she’s actually supposed to do the VERY OPPOSITE: (more…)
Don’t Put Up With ESL Industry’s Childish Treatment & Throw Unwanted Gifts Away!
Why Being a Foreign English Speaker Gives Me an Edge Over ANY Native English School Teacher
You can call me a foreign English speaker or a non-native English speaker (although I think that by labelling someone a ‘non-native English speaker’ you set them apart from other English speakers!) , but all that really matters to me is that I’M AN ENGILSH SPEAKER. I don’t care if anybody sees my foreign background as a natural disadvantage when it comes to communicating with others in English because I know it very well that my spoken English is sufficient for the things I do on a daily basis. Well, I do have my ups and downs, but then which foreign English speaker doesn’t experience some fluency fluctuations? Anyway, I am prepared to step it up a notch and make a really daring statement. Not only I think my foreign background isn’t a disadvantage; I also believe that by being a foreign English speaker I have an edge over ANY native English school teacher when it comes to understanding issues experienced by those who learn and improve their English :!: And if you take into account I don’t hold any TEFL qualifications, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw my claim on the border of outrageous. I mean – how can a chap who’s been struggling with spoken English up until a few years ago, say that he’s better than any professional native English teacher? Keep reading this article and I’ll provide hard proof to back my claim! (more…)
Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!
Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language.Â I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)
4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker
Many of us, foreign English speakers, began our English studies at school, so it would be only logical if the vast majority of use spoke impeccable English. Seven years long English studies will supposedly make you into a near-native English speaker, and we shouldn’t expect anything less from our educational system, isn’t it right? When an average student is required to speak English in an informal situation, however, the cold reality hits home – most of foreigners having gone through the standard educational system are very poor English speakers :!: I went through the whole spectrum of emotions starting from shock and ending with despair when I realized that my real-life English was useless back in the days when I just moved to an English speaking country. Throughout the following years up to present days I’ve improved greatly and at the same time I’ve also figured out why my school English studies didn’t contribute into my English fluency at all! What you’ll read below might shock you and you’ll realize that you’ve probably never looked at this subject from this perspective before. Sometimes a cold shower is necessary, though, so that you can start thinking outside the box and draw the right conclusions about your previous and existing English studying efforts. Whether you’re in Malaysia, Argentina or Canada and thousand miles separate you from other English students of different race, nationality and language, you’re most likely sitting in a classroom with 10 – 30 other students and staring at your English teacher… (more…)