Rachel’s English partners with zAmericanEnglish to bring you answers to 5 questions about learning English: how to stay motivated, how to keep grammar tenses straight, how to speak English with confidence, how to learn quickly, and how to think in English.
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Hello and welcome to this special video on Rachel’s English.
In this video, I have a special guest, Ibrahim from zAmericanEnglish, the youtube channel.
Ibrahim is a brilliant English teacher from Egypt with more than 12 years of experience in teaching English in many different countries. He’s interested in languages. Ibrahim speaks English, Arabic, Chinese and Cantonese. On his channel, zAmericanEnglish, he’s making learning English fun for the first time in the middle east. Hundreds of thousands of people are enjoying his youtube videos which leads his channel to be the fastest growing channel in the middle east.
Today, Ibrahim and I are going to answer five very important questions every English learner needs to know the answer to.
We’re going to tell you how to be more confident, how to get more motivated, how to speed up your learning progress, how to have a strong grammar understanding and how to start thinking in English today.
Let’s start with the first question.
Ibrahim, a lot of students want to learn English fast. Do you get this question from your students as well? What’s your advice to them in order to really speed up their learning process?
A lot of people might have some recipes that promise fast learning. But the recipe you get from this video is not found anywhere else. In order to do something faster than others, you must avoid other’s mistakes. If you know the mistakes that slow down other learners and you manage to avoid them, your progress will be a lot faster than you ever thought was possible. I will briefly give you 4 solutions that Rachel and I could explain more in future videos.
Number 1- Be organized
Have your own word bank notebook, grammar bank notebook, Forget about all the PDFs and write with your own hands. Set a specific time for your daily study and stick to it. More details on how to be organized with your study will come later.
Number 2- Set realistic goals
It will be wonderful if you can learn English in a month but unless you’re a superhuman, you probably will not be able to learn English in a month. If your goal is unrealistic, you will give up before reaching it, period.
Number 3- Eyes on the goal, feet on the ground.
What do I mean by that? You should always keep your eyes on your goal. No matter what life brings on to you. Never lose sight of your goal but please, take your goal step by step and realize in order to reach your next step, you must first enjoy the current one.
Number 4- Believe in yourself
Here’s what you need to tell yourself if you ever get discouraged or feel less confident in your own abilities, one sentence with great powers, repeat this sentence to yourself. Say to yourself: If others can do it, I can too. Which leads to a very important question that I usually see students ask.
Rachel, What do you tell your students who feel less motivated to continue with the same excitement they had when they first started?
The biggest problem that faces anyone I know with reaching any goal is motivation, and it’s important not to neglect this. If you feel that your fluency goals are out of reach, or you feel discouraged about where you are, it can be really hard to motivate yourself. My most successful students are the ones who make small steps everyday. Try this for one week: record yourself speaking English. It can be short, just 15 seconds. Talk about what you did that day or you ate for dinner, it doesn’t matter. Don’t print it ahead. Then go back and listen to it. What’s one thing that you know you could have done better? Was there was a word that you needed to know? If so, look it up! Learn it. If there was a word you didn’t pronounce well that was tricky for you, go to the internet. Go to Forvo or Youglish, listen to native speakers saying the word over and over and imitate it, say it out loud 10 or 20 times. It will get more comfortable. This doesn’t take much time, and each day, you’re learning something concrete. That can really help with motivation.
Another question I often get asked is:
I sometimes get confused as which grammar tense to use. Ibrahim, what’s the solution for this problem?
This is a very important question that drive many students crazy. There is nothing I need you to know before I tell you the answer.
RELAX. You are not stupid. They call it a foreign language for a reason. It is foreign to you and you’re trying to make sense of it. There is nothing in the world that people figure out without having a problem or two so you shouldn’t let that get in the way. Here is what you should do to overcome this problem.
1- Put all the major grammar points in a simple chart. You can categorize them under 3 categories either past, present, or future. This can work as your starting point. After that, you can focus your effort on understanding the difference between the tenses under the same category. Let’s take an example. You have made a chart and you put past, present, future. Number 1 you should do is understanding the difference between past, present and future. After that, come to the present for example you will see something as simple present or progressive present. They’re both under the present category. Now, what you’ll have to do is try to really understand the difference between the simple and the progressive present. What makes a sentence in simple present, what makes the sentence in progressive present. Once you understood that, then it will be time for you to just play with it and make sentences. Don’t be afraid to try it out. Only through trial and error will you get better and form a more solid understanding of the grammar point.
Step 2- After doing that, you will have a good grasp on your weakness points. Congratulations. Now you know what exactly you need to focus your energy on. Study those points hard, use them in sentences, write stories using them. Work on them with all your might tell they become solid in your brain.
Only then will you gain more confidence in your own ability. Speaking of confidence, here’s a question that I think all of you would love to get an answer for.
Rachel, how do you help your students gain more confidence in speaking English?
Many of my students struggle with feeling confident in speaking English. And I have this trick: Develop an American version of yourself. I noticed that actors are very skilled at developing different accents. Why? They’re developing a character at the same time. They’re not just working with speech alone, they’re working with their whole body, the physicality of the character. I noticed that when my students developed an American character of themselves, an American persona, that they started to have more fun with it, look more relaxed and natural, and confident when speaking. Because part of learning a language is allowing yourself to be playful. You’re dealing with sounds and positions of the mouth that are totally foreign to you. Some people want to back away from anything that feels strange. With your American persona, you can invite yourself out of your comfort zone, allowing yourself to be a more accurate imitator of Americans. And when you can do this, when you can really imitate Americans well, nothing is going to stop you from sounding natural and confident when speaking.
Which leads to the next and final question
Ibrahim, How do you help your students think in English?
This is by far the most important question in any language learning.
Books have been written for the sole purpose of answering this question. You are probably tired of all the big scientific words on how your brain works and how you can program it to form thoughts in a different language. You are absolutely right, It shouldn’t be that hard to explain.
Here is what I believe the fastest way to do it speaking from experience. I think in four different languages and trust me when I say it is not as hard as you think it is.
Here’s what you should do starting today and you will see results in no time:
Number 1- Make a brand new English notebook and make it English only. Nothing from your native language should ever go there.
Number 2- Make this your word bank meaning every single word that you know, keep it there.
Number 3- Under each word in your notebook, you will make a sentence using this word. And if the word has multiple meanings, so make multiple sentences.
Number 4- Review a page or two of this notebook daily.
Number 5- Read English books, watch movies without subtitles and most importantly: talk, talk and talk. And if you have nobody to talk to, no worries, you will always have yourself. Talk to yourself a lot. And if those around you call you crazy, so be it. Be crazy. When you have reached your goal, those around you who once called you crazy, will suddenly have a new name for you. They’ll call you a genius.
Thanks Ibrahim, and thank you for watching.
Don’t forget to like and share this video with others.
If you’d like to see more videos like this one, let me know in the comments below and tell me what question you need us to discuss in future videos.
Be sure to check out Ibrahim’s channel, you’ll find the link in the description below.
That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.
Video: *coming soon*