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Want to start thinking in English? Tired of translating in your head? Looking for a method to make it easier to think in English? GREAT! This video is a power-packed lesson, with training methods included. Let’s get to work…right now!
When I was living in Germany, I had such a hard time thinking of what to say, figuring out how to say it German, what words would I had to change because my vocabulary was limited, and then finally saying it. Needless to say, I struggled with conversation. And I know this is true of my students who are learning English too. Even my intermediate and advanced students. So let’s work on that. What if you could start thinking more in English and less in your native language when you wanted to? That’s possible. There are real techniques to make that happen, and today we’ll practice just that.
This is part of a series of videos where I outline different techniques, training your mind to think in English and today we’re using a more advanced technique, and if you’re not ready for that, I’ll put a link to a more basic training video in the description.
Today we’re hitting you with conversational questions. You’re going to see a timer, and it might make you nervous. If you can’t think of a sentence in English, just think of words that you would use in your answer.
For example, if the question is “how did you celebrate New Year’s?” you could come up with: Nothing. Covid-19. Home. No champagne. Video call.
Or, if you can put together a full sentence, you might think:
Because of covid-19, we all stayed in this year. It was just a regular evening at home. We didn’t drink champagne, we didn’t stay up until midnight, but we did do a video call with some friends.
Now, often, I’m trying to get my students to practice speaking. Out loud, everything, but this is a little different. We want to work on the habit of the brain thinking in English. So just think it in your head. You are not coming up with your sentence in your native language and then translating; we don’t want to practice that. We want to avoid that. So think in English only, and if you have to simplify what you’re doing to do that, then stay away from full sentences. If a word in your native language, no big deal, let it go. Guide your mind back to English.
English, English, English.
Let’s do one question, then we’ll talk a bit more about strategies. So I’m going to ask you a question, and you’ll have 10 seconds to think of your answer. My question is: Tell me something about your hometown I might not know.
How did you do? Did you feel nervous? On the spot? Since you’re watching this video in English, I know you know enough about English, you have enough English skills to think of at least think of a few words associated with the question in English. And if you were able to answer that question in a conversational sentence and maybe you were still going when the timer was over, awesome! You’re pretty advanced in your skill. But no matter where you’re starting, if you’re not yet at your goal, intentional practice thinking in English, like we’ll do today, we’ll move you towards your goal.
If you have no idea what to say, then think that in your head, in English.
Hmm, I don’t know how to answer that question. I don’t know what to say
Just think it in English.
Ok, here’s another question: What’s one thing you hope to achieve this year?”
You may have started your answer with “I hope to”, “I want to”, “I plan to”, or “I will”. Or maybe, “One of my goals is.” Here’s my answer:
One of my goals this year is to get to know some of my YouTube audience a little more personally through my YouTube membership – Hmmm, they might not know about it, I should tell them to click the join video below this video.
Remember: some of you can put together endless sentences in English, and some can’t. Wherever you are, build on that. If you can only come up with a few words, that’s okay. At the end of this video, I’ll tell you how to build on that.
Now I’m going to give you three minutes of questions in a row. This is a good place to figure out your stamina for this kind of exercise. The questions will just keep coming at you. Can you stick with it? If you get frustrated, just wait for the next question. Each question is a chance to start new, bringing up a few words in English in your mind that relate to that question.
Ok, ready? Take a deep breath, let’s do this.
What were you doing this time last year?
Describe one of your best friends.
Name five things you’ve done today.
Why do you want to work on your English skills?
Tell me about one thing that you love about your job.
Tell me one thing you hate about your job.
What do you think is the greatest TV show of all time, and why?
Who are some of your favorite YouTubers, and why do you watch them?
Are you satisfied with your financial situation, and, yes or no, why?
You’re going to be trapped on a desert island for 1 year and you can take one person with you. Who, and why did you choose that person?
What’s your favorite season of the year, and why?
Tell me about one of your most frustrating experiences.
If you could be any animal, which would you be and why?
Ok, that part is over, it’s done, and you did it. Let’s talk about a couple of strategies to improve your English based on this exercise. Actually, really quickly, first, I want to let you know that just two months ago, we launched a Think in English course as part of my online school, Rachel’s English Academy. My school focuses heavily on accent training, listening comprehension and spoken English skills. But we recognize that being able to think in English is an important part of that so we’ve added a course to help you train your mind with exercises like this one here to think in English on a regular basis. If you might be interested in this, please check out rachelsenglishacademy.com and sign up, I would love to have you as a student.
Okay, let’s talk about some strategies. First, let’s start with people who found it very hard to think in full sentences in English. You should probably spend some time going back a step, to a more simple exercise of naming objects. You can move on to verbs too. For example, if you see someone:
You can think arm and scratch. Then you’ll have the building blocks for “She’s scratching her arm.” And as you look around you, and you’re naming nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, if you don’t know the English word for something, look it up in the dictionary, learn it, add it to your vocabulary list. In this video I do that kind of exercise with you.
If you can think in sentences, but you want to get more sophisticated, then you’ll want to do some exercises where you are speaking out loud, recording your answers. Then you can go back and listen or watch your videos and find words that you use over and over again, look up synonyms, a different way to say something, now that you’re taking the time to figure it out. You can use an online random question generator to give you prompts as you record yourself. Take the challenge a little bit further. Record a 10-second answer in a video, post it to your Instagram stories, and tag me in it so I can share it. Let’s all do the work, and watch and support each other doing the work.
Make this a daily practice and I guarantee you’ll get more comfortable thinking in English and in English conversation. It’s all about practicing spontaneously. When you don’t know what question is coming, you have to think on your feet. You can only use what you know, there’s no time to look something up. So you’ll get better at using what you know, and finding the gaps in what you know. And I can’t wait to have you build your confidence in English conversation.
Right now, keep your learning going with this video, and don’t forget to subscribe with notifications on so you never miss a lesson. Huge thanks to all my YouTube membership supporters, I hope you’re enjoying your perks. To learn more about Rachel’s Circle and Rachel’s superstars, which includes exclusive audio lessons, click the join button to know more. Come back tomorrow and watch another lesson, I have over 800 videos here on YouTube. I love being your English teacher. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.