第60話:How to begin learning English? 英語の勉強の始め方

How to begin learning English? 英語の勉強の始め方

Teacher Mina’s 5 baby steps to beginning learning English
Cherry Blossoms

               The beginning is always the hardest. You might have had this goal of learning English as a part of your New Year’s Resolutions list but here you are, still not knowing how and where to begin. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog I will be giving you a step by step procedure to kickstart your English learning journey once and for all!


Step 1. Know your purpose and set your goal

               Think about the reason why you want to learn English.

Because I want to travel outside Japan!
Because I want to communicate to foreigners come 2020 Olympics!
Because I want to make foreign friends and possibly a boyfriend!
Because I want to sound like my favorite actor Tom Cruise!
Whatever your purpose is, be sure to make it motivating enough for you to keep on learning. It isn’t going to be motivating to learn every day, but when you remind yourself of your purpose you will always pick up that motivation. Go ahead! Ask yourself now: why do I want to learn English?

Tip: Make your goal doable

               I want to be able to greet a foreigner in English.
               I want to be able to talk about my favorite hobby in English.
               I want to be able to talk about the best travel destinations in Japan in English.
               I want to achieve a 600 in TOEIC.


Step 2. Choose an area you want to focus on

               Is it English for traveling? Is it English for daily life? Is it English for business? For making friends? For TOEIC or EIKEN?
               The reason I am asking this question is that I want to make it easier for you to learn the vocabulary words you need in order for you to start learning English.

English for Travel vocabulary – bathroom/washroom; subway; bus stop; crossing; entrance; concierge
English for Daily Life vocabulary – breakfast; toothbrush; street; cloudy; hospital; 20 minutes
English for Business vocabulary – appraisal; contract; presentation; annual; efficient
English for Making Friends vocabulary – hang out; cinema; exhibit; beverage; go out
TOEIC vocabulary – product; postpone; legible; optional; registration
EIKEN vocabulary – environment; economical; submit; conflict; campus; hierarchy

               Once you have decided this, you can now narrow down your choices for learning especially the vocabulary words. At this point, you need not to worry about grammar yet.




Step 3. Create quantitative vocabulary goals

               Numbers won’t lie to you. Set a goal for the number of vocabulary words or phrases you want to learn in a day and be consistent about it. Start small. Start with only a few words or phrases. Track your consistency. I recommend using an app called DotHabit (App Store / Google Play Store). It is an app which lets you see a visual representation of your progress. It also shows your consistency and the lack thereof. I use it every day to make sure that I am on top of my goal in learning Japanese, in my case.
               Using productivity apps such as this one will somehow trick your brain into thinking that, “Oh! I have to tick this box today or else, my 1-week streak will be broken.”
               Instead of being in this headspace, “I want to learn English because I want to travel abroad,” it might be better to be like, “I will memorize 10 travel English sentences within one week.”
               You’re no longer pressuring yourself to study English. You now have created a habit without you knowing it. You might even see or feel the difference quite early in your learning journey.

数字はうそをつかないよね。一日に覚えたい英単語やフレーズの数を決めて、それをちゃんとやり続ける。少しの量、ほんと数個の英単語 / フレーズ数でいいから。そしてやり抜く。「DotHabitAppleStore / Google Playでダウンロード可)」を使うのをオススメするわ。これは進捗状況をユーザーに見やすく提供するアプリ。ちゃんと続けているかがわかるの。私の場合はこれを、私の掲げた目標設定にあわせて計画的に日本語を覚えていくのに使ってるわ。

Step 4. Seek for a teacher or a conversation partner

               A teacher or a conversation partner will act as your training wheels in learning English. Now that you are beginning to learn English, they will be your guide in gaining confidence to speak your target language. They should be experienced and patient enough to understand and student’s learning process. They should build you up and give you encouragement. They should be able to motivate you when you feel like you are backsliding.
               If you are looking for one, be sure to check our homepage exl-english.com to get a free trial lesson from me, Teacher Mina or Teacher Marilou.

ステップ4:先生 / 英会話パートナーを見つけよう
「先生 / 会話の相手」がいると英会話の進捗がはやまるよね。今まさに英会話を学び始めるところなら、それこそ先生たちが会話に自信をもたせてくれるはず。生徒となる人の学びのプロセスを辛抱強く経験させてくれるでしょう。やる気が続かなそうなときにもモチベーションなるしね。

Step 5. Step up your game

               Whether striking a small chat with a stranger in an elevator or even taking an EIKEN 5 test with elementary school kids is a big challenge for you, those are still valid. By this time, you are now taking your English learning challenge a notch higher because you are taking on difficult tasks.
               Step up your game. Take challenges. Be scared of the challenge but take it anyway!



               After step 5, I am pretty sure that you will be learning and speaking English more independently or with minimal guidance from your teacher or conversation partner. You are also probably building up your grammar and pronunciation. Wherever you are in the language learning journey, stay hungry for bigger goals.
               You can do it!

これら5つのステップをこなせば、あなたの「先生 / 英会話の相手」からちょっとしたガイドを受けるだけで、個人でどんどん学び、話しができるようになる。さらには文法や発音まで気遣うようになっていくでしょう。あなたの勉強の旅路がいまどこであれ、大きな目標に向けて貪欲であれ!

               -Teacher Mina

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