The steps that people forget to take when they practice their English skills:
1. They forget that what they learn and how they learn is inseparable from who they are. How you manage your time during the day has everything to do with how you learn English. How you speak with your friends and family has everything to do with how you speak in English during business meetings. If you change the way you manage your attention in general, It will immediately change how you learn English. If you change one core belief relative to learning English, it will change how you learn everything. People forget that they need to work on themselves, not on the English language. English doesn’t care if you learn it or speak it. It exists regardless of your opinions or complaints about it. You have no power to change it. However, you have all the power in the world to change how you learn. You can choose to stop being a student and become a learner.
2. People forget to complete their exercises. Always ask yourself, “What would it mean to compete this exercise?” If you do creative writing exercises, always read your final text out loud and ask for feedback. So many people forget about this step. Many also forget to edit their texts, do another iteration, self-reflect, or find the answer to the question “How many iterations would be enough?”
📌My TIP: start with an end goal in mind and learn to figure out your way back to the beginning. For example, you decide to do a reading exercise. Let's take this one - Exercise #78. FOCUS: Rhythm: vowels (intermediate). Limericks
What would the end result look like?
For me, the end result must be tangible. I read a passage out loud, aiming to do my best (for me, that means trying to sound like an audiobook narrator), and I record my final iteration. This recording is the end result.
It’s tangible (I can save it on my computer, I can send it to my mentor) and it’s measurable (I can measure the time it took, the duration, the number of mistakes, iterations, etc).
This is how my brain receives the signal that the exercise has been completed. It’s done! Now I can self-reflect and self-evaluate my effort (after receiving feedback) to decide what exercise I need to do next.
📌My TIP: if you’re not sure what a completed exercise looks like, make sure you say things out loud at the end. If you do a listening exercise, say the new phrases out loud. If you work with words, read the dictionary entries out loud. If you write, read your text out loud. If you watch a movie, repeat the lines that you like out loud. If you read something, always read it out loud. When you do creative exercises in the community of practice, pay attention to instructions. I always remind you of what result you need to submit in the comments.
3. People forget their big AHA-moments. Let’s say, you complete an exercise and it gives you a powerful insight into how you can learn better from now on. Maybe the feedback opened your eyes to how your attention works. You revel in the joy of this realization for a few minutes or maybe hours. And the next day… you forget. You might remember the emotion: you remember that it was powerful, insightful, life-changing, intense…but what was it specifically about? 🤨
You forget about it because the idea was new. Every new neural connection in our brain is extremely fragile and needs to be nurtured. If you don’t attend to it, it dies. Make it a habit to self-evaluate your effort after each exercise and write those great ideas down. They might sound and look simple, yet they’re powerful if they interrupt your autopilot mode. We all live and think on autopilot most of the time because it’s an important part of our survival mechanism. However, you can consciously program your autopilot if you choose to practice new behaviors consistently. Practice writing down your insights. It will help you remember them. When you see your new thoughts written down, you can focus on them, contemplate, and create strategies to implement these new ideas in daily routines.
To build a deliberate practice routine to get to Native-Like Fluency in English, join the community of practice. You’ll find everything you need there: exercises, workshops, grammar lessons for advanced learners, books, people, and most importantly - caring human feedback.
Start your free trial today