How to Learn English the Right Way | Cloud English | Skillshare

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How to Learn English the Right Way

teacher avatar Cloud English, Innovative English Courses

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Course Introduction


    • 2.

      Course Structure and Style


    • 3.

      Things to Keep in Mind


    • 4.

      The Wrong Way to Learn


    • 5.

      How to Learn by Listening


    • 6.

      Learn with Movies and TV Shows


    • 7.

      Immersion for Listeners


    • 8.

      The Golf Story


    • 9.

      How to Develop Awareness


    • 10.

      Self-awareness in Practice


    • 11.

      Habits | Out with the Bad, in with the Good


    • 12.

      The Bandwidth Problem


    • 13.

      Caring and Not Caring


    • 14.

      Can I learn by translation?


    • 15.

      Connotation and Context


    • 16.

      What about synonyms?


    • 17.

      The Dao of English


    • 18.

      I'm Not Ready!


    • 19.

      A Fearless Attitude


    • 20.

      Lifestyle and Windows


    • 21.

      References are Key


    • 22.

      Learning Idioms


    • 23.

      Don't understand? Ask!


    • 24.

      Read and Discover


    • 25.

      Connect Online


    • 26.

      Watch and Browse


    • 27.

      How to Use What You Learn


    • 28.

      How to Evaluate Your Learning Style


    • 29.

      Solo vs. Group Practice


    • 30.

      Structure or Freestyle


    • 31.

      Building Structures


    • 32.

      Listening and Remembering


    • 33.



    • 34.

      Learning Grammar Through Context


    • 35.

      Grammar Patterns in Practice


    • 36.

      Master Awareness


    • 37.

      Steps for Learning in Context


    • 38.

      Using Voice Assistants to Learn


    • 39.

      From Movies and TV


    • 40.

      Community Immersion


    • 41.

      Joining a Group


    • 42.

      Immersion with News


    • 43.

      Don't Force It


    • 44.

      Avoiding the Plateau


    • 45.

      Watch, Read, Listen


    • 46.

      Become a Creator


    • 47.

      Create New Mountains


    • 48.

      How to Define Goals


    • 49.

      Dos and Don'ts for Setting Goals


    • 50.

      General Goals


    • 51.

      Measurable Goals


    • 52.

      How to Find Learning Partners


    • 53.

      Pressure and Attention to Detail


    • 54.

      Strategies for Remembering Things


    • 55.

      Mind Palace in Practice


    • 56.

      You made it!


    • 57.

      Course Recap


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About This Class

Do you ever feel you are not making as much progress in English as you think you should? Do you ever feel stuck, but you don’t know how to move forward? It's not too late!

Most English learners are learning the wrong way. Don’t be one of them. Stop wasting your time with English learning methods that do not work. It’s like running in place—working hard but not getting anywhere.

If you learn the wrong way, you’ll never reach your English learning goals. You’ll never master English grammar. You’ll never improve your English pronunciation. You’ll never have better English writing. You’ll never get that better IELTS score. You’ll never be able to hold a natural English conversation.

But, if you take this course and master THE RIGHT WAY TO LEARN, you will achieve all those things. This course is all about the HOW of mastering English. It includes all of the English learning strategies that the most successful English learners use.

I’ve helped hundreds of thousands of English learners improve their English skills. I’ve been able to see what works, and what doesn’t. These techniques are packed into this course, including ways to practice your English and build an English learning lifestyle in order to build better speaking habits and master the language.

Whether you need to improve your English grammar, writing skills, pronunciation, or English fluency, this course will help get you to the goal!

Some of the things you will learn in this course include:

  • How to learn English grammar so that you can actually use it
  • How to get rid of bad habits and develop good ones
  • How to create an English language lifestyle, so that learning is fun
  • How to finally master English pronunciation through self-awareness
  • How to understand and learn from English moves and TV shows
  • How to get English language immersion and make it part of your daily life
  • How to find English learning partners, and benefit from them
  • How to learn English vocabulary and idioms so that you can use them
  • How to start thinking in English so that you don’t feel tired when speaking

If you are serious about getting good at English, your next step is simple: Sign up for the course!

Meet Your Teacher

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Cloud English

Innovative English Courses


My name is Luke. Hi.

I'm the founder of Cloud English and the co-founder of yoli. I've been teaching English for years, and over that time I've discovered powerful language learning methods that make learning English much easier and more effective. My courses have helped thousands of people become more fluent in English.

My courses will help you: 

- Become more confident in English conversations

- Master English vocabulary, phrases, and expressions

- Take your English pronunciation and fluency to the next level

- Improve your English listening skills

- Think in English when you're speaking English

- Sound natural saying exactly what you mean

Here, you can find courses on business English, American... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Course Introduction: Do you ever feel this way? I've been working on my English for a long time, but I'm just not making progress. Even though I practice and I learn a lot of words and phrases. When I have a conversation, I feel stuck. I can't find the words that I want to use. I don't understand everything that I hear in movies. Even though I study vocabulary, I learned vocabulary. I'm still not improving. I don't feel confident. I don't feel like I'm getting better. Well, if this sounds like you, then this course is for you. In this course, we're going to focus on the methods, the strategies, the exercises, the things that you need to do to learn effectively so that you don't waste your time when you're studying. So that what you learn is something that you can actually use so that you're able to build very good English speaking habits. Which means making fewer mistakes. Which means being able to use the words and phrases that you learn, means being able to understand movies when you watch them, or conversations between native English speakers, which means feeling relaxed and confident in conversations, being able to say exactly what you want to say. When you want to say it. Being able to find the right words in the moment, in the conversation. So if you feel like you've been learning the wrong way and you want to start learning the right way, sign up for the course. And I hope to see you in the first lesson. 2. Course Structure and Style: Hi there, welcome to the course. I hope you're excited to get started to improve your English. I'm very excited to have you and I hope I will be able to help you improve your English. Again, my name is Luke. I am an American English teacher and I've been teaching English for quite a few years, and I've been very lucky to have helped many thousands of students improve their English students from all around the world. Now, because I've had the chance to work with so many students, I've been able to see what things work really well and what things don't work so well. I've been able to see which methods help English learners improve most quickly, most effectively. And I've been able to see which things may be a waste of time. That's what this course is mostly about. I'm going to teach you how learn English. And that might sound a little bit funny, but really that's what this course is about. We're going to talk about the learning approaches that are most effective, the most effective, powerful ways to work on your English, to actually make progress, to become a more natural English speaker, to build the right habits, to become more confident, to make fewer mistakes, all of these things and much more. So we'll talk about the ways and then we'll focus on practice methods. Practice methods. And these are powerful exercises that you can do to improve your grammar, to improve your writing, to improve your pronunciation, to improve your overall speaking ability, to improve your English speaking habits, to improve your listening and more. And that part of the course will be more detailed. But at the end of each lesson, you'll have a clear specific thing that you can do right now to get started. And that is really, really important, not just general ideas that you can't really use, but practical, specific activities step-by-step. And we're also going to talk in this course about building an English learning lifestyle. A lifestyle around learning English. Because it's easy to get excited about learning and say, Yes, Okay, I'm going to learn, I'm going to do it this time. My English is going to be great. And then a week later, you kind of just lose focus, is stopped doing it. And slowly, slowly, slowly, you lose your sense of excitement. Well, excitement is not the most important thing. We have to build a lifestyle of learning English. And in this course, I'm going to teach you how to do that. If you can build a lifestyle of learning English, then you don't have to be excited. It's just part of what you do. It's just part of your daily routine. You brush your teeth, you go for a walk, the walk your dog. We go to school, whatever, you go to work, you learn English. I'm going to teach you how to include it in your lifestyle so that you really enjoy English. You enjoy learning English. Maybe you don't think it's possible. It's possible. I know it's possible because I've seen many English learners do it successfully. Some do it, some don't do it. But if you use these methods, if you use these exercises, if you really know how to build an English learning lifestyle, you will improve a lot and you're going to start to feel more confident with your English. You're going to start to speak more naturally, more easily. You won't feel so nervous when you speak English and you will learn a lot faster. Now, just a quick note on the style of the course. Just like this, you will see me throughout the course just like this. Almost like this. Maybe I have slightly different hair sometimes, but pretty much like this. And you'll see the blackboard here. And I'll be drawing on the blackboard. I'll try to rights pretty neatly so that you can read what I'm writing down. But we're going to be going through things step-by-step. Just like this. It's going to sound and look just like this with the blackboard. 3. Things to Keep in Mind: Now, just a few simple things to keep in mind before we actually get started with the first lesson of the course. And that is to remember that mistakes. Our, okay. I don't want you to be afraid of making mistakes. I want you to become aware of mistakes, but I want you to just be okay that you might make mistakes and that you shouldn't be afraid to make them because mistakes can be a great learning tool. It's also very important to keep an open mind. Some of the things that we talk about in this course might seem a little surprising. But again, I've been working with students for a long time. And what you might think works may not work. And what you might think may not work may work very well. Again, we'll go through it step-by-step, but just keep an open mind and be aware that maybe, maybe some of the things that you've been doing to improve your English in the past may not be very useful. I'm not saying they are not useful because I don't know. But maybe and you have to be open to the possibility that maybe you've been doing it in a way that's not very useful to you, not helping you improve. Maybe there's a better way to do it so that the work you put in actually has results. We always want to be making progress. We always want to work effectively and efficiently. Very important. A lot of what we're going to talk about in this course is how to work effectively and efficiently. Another thing I'd like you to keep in mind is that now this is very obvious, but I feel like I need to say it. Language is for language is for communication. We learn language, not so that we just know it. We don't want to just know English. We want to learn English so that we can use it. So that we can have conversations. So that we can have discussions, so that we can get a better job, so that we can make new friends. This is why we learn English. So everything we talk about in this course will be not just about how to learn English, but how to learn English so that you can use English to sound more natural. And that's a very important difference because language is for communication. I know that's very obvious, but it's something that we have to really keep in mind if we're going to make sure we start this course off on the right foot. So with that, let's get started with the course. And I will see you in the first lesson. 4. The Wrong Way to Learn: You've probably heard the expression, work smart, not hard. Which of course means that if you're very careful about how you do things, then you may not need to put in as much effort because you're doing it in the best possible way. Well, I would say work smart and work hard. Both are very important. But in this section of the course, we're going to be focused on the work smart part. It's very important that you're going in the right direction when you're learning English. If you want to really improve, you can't just practice every day. Randomly. You have to make a plan. You have to know what you're doing. If you're trying to get somewhere, but you don't go in the right direction. You're not going to get anywhere. Maybe you go one step this way, one step this way, three steps this way, five steps this way. You're not going to arrive anywhere. You have to have a plan and you have to know how to learn. So that's what this section of the course is all about. We're talking about the approach, the methods, the strategies. And then in the next section we're going to talk about how to take those methods and apply them to the practice, the work that you do when you're actually studying. How can you practice? We're going to apply what we talk about in this section to real exercises, real things that you can do every day to improve your English. So let's get started with our learning approaches. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the way that most English learners learn English and why that is not the best way to learn English. If your goal is to speak English naturally. If that's your goal and you learn the wrong way, then it wouldn't be very surprising if it's hard to make progress, right? Right. So what is first the problem? What is this basic problem? And then, what is the right way to do it? Well, when most English learners learn English in middle school, high school, even after high school, university or after. Most English learners focus on the written word. Focuses on text. Remember this word on the page. Read this, fill in this blank. A, B, C, or D. Which one is it? Read this out loud, pass this exam, write this essay, whatever it may have been. So what's wrong with this? If most people do it, if most English learners do it, then how could it be a problem? How could it be a problem? How did you learn your first language? Did you learn it by taking exams? Did you learn it by filling in the blank? Did you learn it by answering a, B, C, or D? Know. You learned it by being a baby and absorbing sounds. Sounds all around you. Connected to meaning people picking things up, showing them to you. You picking things up as a baby, repeating People, TV on in the background, conversations happening all around you. And as you grow up, more conversations, more sounds, noises, word's meanings around you constantly. So in school, you're learning it through your eyeballs and you're surprised that you're not sure about the pronunciation of words. You're surprised when you can't understand a native English speaker speaking, but you can understand text on a page. Why would you be surprised by that? That's not surprising to me. Language spoken language is meant to be heard. Communication is meant to be spoken and heard. Spoken and heard. Now there's nothing wrong with texting and reading books. All great, of course, I wouldn't say those things are bad. But in order to get to a fluent level, you have to focus on the sounds. You have to focus on listening, you have to focus on speaking. So let's talk about listening a little bit. If I say, You know what I mean, You know what I mean? And maybe you understand, and that's great. But just imagine I said something that's very blended together that you don't understand. Maybe it's very fast and it's mushed together. And you think what is what I don't understand what you said, right? Just imagine that you didn't understand me even if you did because I'm trying to make a point because I know that there are things you may not understand out there. Now, why don't you understand that? If I write it down, You know what I mean? If I write it down and you see the words, you look at it and you say, okay, well, I don't see a do here, but that's fine. I can understand. I can understand that there should be I understand what this means. Okay. I get it. So why don't you get it when you hear it? There's actually no excuse. There isn't. You might think, oh yeah, but they said it so fast. Well then why can I understand it all? Because you're a native English speaker? Why am I a native English speaker? Oh, because you grew up around the language and you hear it all the time. Exactly. That's right. You don't have to be a native English speaker to get really good at taking in sounds. You do not need to be a native English speaker to bring your level of comprehension through your ears up to the same level as your eyes. Maybe, okay, maybe you don't know some words, even if you read them. Maybe you don't understand a sentence, even if you read it, okay, well that's something to learn. Very good. But if you understand it written, but not when you hear it, then you know, then you know, it's not about what you know, you know, you know it, you know this sentence. It's about not enough practice listening to things. Not enough. Exposure. And also a negative, I'll call it a negative, a negative habit. And the habit for many English learners is because you started learning English and maybe other languages this way in school with exams, writing, reading, all of that. You think that's how languages should be learned. And you think that the time when you were a baby is somehow this magical special period that could never be repeated. Know, that is scientifically incorrect. You can repeat that process. Now, it's true that babies are better at absorbing sounds and absorbing new language. It's true, but that doesn't mean that that process is only for babies. I've worked with many, many English learners who have reached a very high level of fluency. And one common characteristic among all of those very high level English speakers, one very common characteristic Is their comprehension here is just as high as their comprehension here. And if yours is not, then you don't have any excuses because there's no reason for it to be that way. And because languages are for speaking and languages are for hearing, you have to start working on that. But how, alright, let's talk about how 5. How to Learn by Listening: If this is u, if up to now, you've been focusing more on learning this way and not much on learning this way. It's time to make a change. If you're ready to make a change and catch up to make progress a lot more quickly. I'm going to give you some ways to do that. Some ways to learn English and improve your listening at the same time. Now, later in the course, we'll go over some specific exercises. But for now, let's talk about some general things that you can do to start learning more through your ears if you like reading, That's great. Read audio books. Audio books are recorded in studios with good microphones, so the speaker should be clear. I listened to a lot of audio books, but I wasn't always good at it. When I first started listening to audio books, I would often not remember what I heard. And I would think, I'm just better, I'm just better at reading. I just prefer that. But I kept practicing it and I got much better at it. I just listened to each book maybe twice, sometimes, sometimes three times. And now I prefer reading audio books over regular books. Now, I listen to audio books on T2x speed usually. And I remember more than if I were sitting there reading a book. So if you try audio books and it's hard at first, don't just throw it down and say I give up, I can't do it, keep trying, keep working at it. Maybe slow it down to half speed. Maybe you chose the wrong book. So how do you choose the right book? Well, for most learners, I recommend nonfiction because non-fiction is written to be understood. Whereas novels, fiction are often more colorful, they might have some outdated words or some strange words. Often non-fiction books, like self-help books, for example, are a lot easier to understand. But I would also recommend that you follow your interests. Follow your interests. If you're bored, you're going to start thinking of other things. It should be something that you're interested in. If there are no non-fiction books that you like, none that you're interested in, then, okay? Choose fiction, but make sure that you choose one at the right level. So how do you know if a book is too difficult or too easy? But actually there's a nice test you can do. You listen to a small section. By the way, you can do this, reading the physical book as well to see if your book that you're looking at is at the right level. You listen to a small section. And then after a couple of minutes, you ask yourself what it was about. If after listening for a couple minutes, you can say a few things about it. You can give a basic summary without too many details. It's probably at the right level. If you remember everything. And it was so easy that you can easily hear every single word. It's probably too easy. If it's so difficult that after listening for a few minutes, you have no idea. You can't give a summary, then it's too hard. So use that method. I would recommend somewhere between 50 to 70 or 75 percent. Comprehension or understanding. Somewhere around there is okay. Because if you understand it a 100 percent, what are you improving? Exactly, right? You're not challenging yourself. If you understand 10% and you don't know what's going on, well then of course, you're going to give up and you're not going to learn very much. But very importantly for this general range. When you find a new word, when you discover something, when you hear something you don't know which you will. You can place it in a proper context. You can place it in a proper context. And that is really, really important for whatever you learn. You have to be able to fit it into a context, the surrounding sentence or situation that it's in. You should know where it fits so that you really understand it. Just knowing a word, that's great. But if you don't know how to use the word, if you don't know where that word fits, how it was used in the book that you read or listened to, hopefully listened to, then it's not really worth learning that word, right? Always learn things in context. And 10 percent is not enough comprehension to have any kind of context. A 100 percent means there's nothing to learn. So this is a pretty good, a pretty good range. It doesn't have to be exact. 6. Learn with Movies and TV Shows: Now, what about movies and TV shows? Yes, of course, but it really is the same thing. If the movie is so simple and easy that you understand every single word, it's time to find something a little bit more challenging. And if you understand nothing, if you can't understand a single thing, it's too hard. It's too complicated, maybe. So should you use subtitles? Should you use subtitles? Well, it depends if when you watch the movie or TV show without subtitles, you're in this general range. Why do you need subtitles? Go back, repeat that last part that you didn't quite understand. See if you can hear it. Okay. Now, if you absolutely need subtitles, I'm not saying never do it, don't do it, but certainly use English subtitles. And then once you've watched this episode of the TV series or you've watched this movie with subtitles and you understand the context, you understand the story, you understand what happens because you watched it with subtitles. Watch it again without subtitles. Now, it has to be here because you watched the movie, you know what it's about. And so at least you're training your ear to hear what you already know is there. But I would encourage you to try to watch the episode without subtitles first, see if you're in this area and see if you can make it all the way through and understand what's going on and pick out some new words, phrases, maybe a few grammar points, maybe some cultural things in the movie. That's great. And you're doing it all through here. You're getting used to it. This is what native English speakers do when they grow up in a native English-speaking country. This is what we call immersion. You don't have to live in a native English-speaking country to have immersion. You can surround yourself with the sounds of English, whether it's audio books, great choice, or movies and TV shows if you want that more relaxed style of speaking, dialogue. Now, what about podcasts? What about podcasts? Podcasts, there are many ways to listen to podcasts. Your phone probably has an app for listening to podcasts. They're everywhere. And there are all sorts of different topics. There are podcasts about movies, about science, about just general conversations about anything. Now a lot of podcasts are real conversations, not like movies, where it's a script, real conversations. So there are half sentences. Maybe things are not quite said completely, or people are cutting each other off. If you find podcasts really, really difficult. If you really struggle with podcasts, It's okay to maybe do something else, like watch movies, TV shows, and listen to audio books. But it can't hurt to have podcasts on in the background. Remember I said, babies when they're growing up, they're surrounded by advertisements, by conversations happening in the background, right? By things across the street, neighbors talking to each other. It's everywhere, even if it's not focused listening. So just turning on a podcast and putting it on in the background as you do something else is still good. Now, are you going to actually pick up words and phrases and new, new English in this way? Well, maybe sometimes, but probably not that much. But there is quite a bit of evidence that supports this idea that even passive, passive listening can help, can give you a sense for the sounds of the language to start hearing the distinct sounds to distinguish them a little bit better, even though you're not in focused listening mode. 7. Immersion for Listeners: Now, listening is tied to speaking, tied to pronunciation. If you're listening improves, then your awareness improves. Your awareness of specific sounds improves. Then you'll be able to hear the difference between what you've said and what they've said. And then you can start to match what you said to what they said and make your pronunciation sound more natural. So listening is not only for understanding, listening is also very, very important part of improving your pronunciation. So never learn a new word unless you know how it sounds. Make sure you always learn the pronunciation. But do it through listening. You've been working on your listening and then you see a new word. So what do you do? I have to check the phonetic symbol, phonetic spelling. How do I write the pronunciation of the word so that I can remember it? No, No. Now, I'm not saying you cannot do it, but it is not the way that you should learn pronunciation. Listening is the key. Awareness is the key to improving your English overall. And it is also the key when it comes to pronunciation. So what do you do? You listen and then you copy. So find a place where you can hear the word. Most dictionaries on the Internet have a little sound icon you can click on, Click on that, listened to it a few times. Try to copy the sound. Listen to it a few more times, trying to get really close to that natural sound. Okay, Got it. Now remember it. And try to remember the pronunciation of the word along with the meaning. And very importantly, as I mentioned, the context. The context is where you heard it. Wasn't in a conversation, in a movie, was in a podcast. Was it in an audio book? Did you hear it in a conversation around you in your daily life or at work? Remember the situation it was used in. Remember the sound, remember the meaning. These things are very important. If you can remember these three things, then when you have to use it in a conversation, it won't only sound nice and be pronounced correctly. It will also be used correctly because you remember the context and nobody will notice anything odd or strange. All because you developed your listening skills. So start working on this. Make a serious commitment to yourself. I'm going to get my listening up to the same level as my ability to read text on a page. That's not so hard, right? Work on it. And as you're listening gets sharper, better overall, you're going to find that your comprehension improves. The world around you will become more clear, not just words on a page. The world around you will start to make more sense. And you'll also find at the same time, your pronunciation is getting better and y sound more natural as well then because your pronunciation is starting to improve, because you're able to understand more of the things around you, you're going to start feeling more confident. And as you gain confidence, you're going to feel more at ease when you speak, which is going to make you sound even more natural. Actually, confidence is a really important part of speaking. Well. So it all starts with listening, start working on it. And I will see you in the next lesson. 8. The Golf Story: Now we know that in order to speak English well, to really communicate well in English, we have to get away from learning English academically like this, like we did in school and start to more surround ourselves with it. But I like to really focus on the idea of self-awareness and how self-awareness is closely related to any area of English that you want to improve. We could say that it is the foundation of progress. So I want to focus on this idea of self-awareness a bit more. Now, let's start with a simple story. A simple story. This is a true story. This is my story. This is going to be my golf story. Now, I have been playing golf for a long time. I played golf in high school. I was on the high-school golf team, but there's a very long period of time in which I stopped and didn't play almost eight or nine years that I didn't play golf. And then I picked it up again. And I thought, Oh, I'm going to be okay at golf again. I'm going to be good at golf again. Do you think I was? No, I wasn't. I was not good at all. I had forgotten many of the things that I had learned over time when I was in school. So of course I felt frustrated, right? How could I have lost it? I lost my skill. I should be good. I'm not good. So I decided to improve. I decided I'm going to get good at golf again. I want to be great. So I started playing again and I was making progress slowly. I was improving. But there was one issue which would not go away called a slice. I promise I'm telling this story for a reason. A slice, this is when you want to hit the ball straight, of course. But instead it goes over to the right. Every time. I couldn't stop, I couldn't get rid of this slice. And I thought, What am I doing? Is it the way that I'm standing? What is it? What is it? Maybe if I just play more, it will go away. More, more practice. It'll stop eventually by itself. By guess what? It didn't. It didn't. So then I thought maybe the same thing that I see working for English learners that I've seen work very well to help English learners improve their English. Maybe that will work for me too. So let's try that. Let's try self-awareness. Now. Does that mean just generally paying attention to yourself? No. That means very carefully paying attention to the small details and noticing, being able to notice when something is just a bit off or not, quite, right? So this is what I did. I looked at videos of a professional golfer, pro golfer swinging a golf club very slowly. It was in slow motion and I watched it very carefully. And then I thought, well, I can't really notice how I'm doing it compared to this person unless I see myself doing it. So I decided to start recording myself. So I set my phone up behind me. I use slow-mo and I hit record and I started to hit a few golf balls. Of course. I sliced. But then I looked at my video, and I looked at the video of the professional golfer. I studied them side-by-side carefully, slowly. And you know what? I started to see things that I hadn't been able to feel before. The way that I was holding the golf club, the way that I would swing the golf club back, my stance, my my feet positions called stance. These are things I was able to notice only because I had taken a video of myself and I could see it, say up there that That's different. But then this is the really important thing. Then once I knew what those things were, I forced myself to notice them. The next time I went out golfing, I said, Okay, I do these things. This thing with my stance, with my hands, I do these things. So now I'm going to force myself to feel them. And you know what? When I went out, I did. And slowly over time, I began to correct these things. But only because every time I would swing the golf club. I would pay careful attention to these areas that I had noticed or identified every time I was paying attention to them very, very carefully. And because I knew exactly what I was paying attention to, because I knew what issues I was looking for. I was able to notice those things and make the correction. If I hadn't been paying attention to specific things, my attention would have been very broad. I probably wouldn't have noticed anything. And I may have continued to slice for years and years to come maybe for the rest of my life. So I tell this story because I think it highlights the importance of self-awareness. And that it's not just for pronunciation. It's not just to copy the sounds that you hear to do shadowing. It's not just for that. It's also the thing that you need to start with if your issue is grammar. For example, maybe you always mix up ED in I-N-G, bored and boring. Maybe you always get those confused. For example. Well, if you're able to notice that you have that issue, if you're self-aware enough to be able to hear yourself say, I was so boring. I was so boring. And then catch it and go, oh, did I say boring there? And then make a correction. Then you're going to be on the right path on the path to progress. But if you just speak and speak and speak and speak and speak, and never figure out what those things are. In my case, my stance, my grip, holding the club, then practice doesn't help. So we're talking about this at the start of the course because I want to make sure you get it. You just practice. That does not mean that you're going to improve. I've seen people practice and work on their English for years and still not be able to speak. I've met English majors who have been studying English for at least four years in university, who can still barely put a sentence together. What is going on here? Well, it all starts with self-awareness. Developing this in yourself is like a superpower. And if you do it, you're going to make huge progress. You're going to improve much more quickly. And if you don't, you may keep practicing, but progress is going to come much more slowly. And you risk a risk digging deeper habits. You risked your habits becoming worse because you never notice what things you need to improve. You're not noticing what things you're doing well. And you're not noticing what you need to improve because you're not self-aware. So make a commitment to yourself to become more self-aware. And that's the first step. But now you might be thinking, okay, I'm making a commitment. What's next? What do I do? So let's now talk about how to become more self-aware, how we actually do this. Practically. 9. How to Develop Awareness: If you've really developed your ear and you can distinguish between one word and another which sound very similar. Or you can understand more of what is being said all around you, then you really have no excuse when it comes to self-awareness. And as that skill improves, other things start to become possible. One of those things is self-awareness. So if you can hear the difference, for example, between S and k. And th INK, write S-I-N, K and th i and k. Sink, think, sink, think, and you hear the difference. Or maybe you say this word when you actually mean this word, right? Maybe you say, you say sync and you mean to say think, okay, maybe that's an issue you have, maybe not. Okay, this is just a simple, very simple example. But then when you're speaking, you say, and I really sink, We should, I really sink, We should I really sink, we should. Now if you hear me say that, I think you can hear that I'm saying sink. Right. So what's the issue? What's the core of the issue? What's the real problem? Is it that these are very difficult? Is it that I can't hear the difference between them? No, I'm not very difficult. You can do this. And you can do this. You can do both. Okay? Is it that you can't hear them? Know you can hear them. You can hear me say these two and you know that there are different. You can hear the difference. So it's not that. So what is it? If this, It's this, you're not paying careful enough attention to that thing. When you're talking about something, you're explaining something, you're thinking about other things. You're not focused on. Did I say th or did it sound like S? You're not focused on that and it slips right by you. But that's also the reason that you did it because you're in the habit of saying it this way. So it's very important to change something. So what should you do about this? You now have to identify your issues. Identify them. Now you might be thinking, okay, well, I need a native English speaking teacher to identify them. Yeah, sure. Maybe some of them, but not all of them. Certainly. If you know this, then there's no reason to not notice it yourself. Now, apart from identifying it, you need to care. You need to really care that you get it right. I'm not saying that you should be afraid to speak. I'm not saying that you should avoid making any mistakes because mistakes are good, but mistakes are useful goods, that means mistakes are good because you can use them to improve. You've probably heard people say mistakes are good, right? I would agree mistakes are good, but they're not good just because they're good. They're good because they're tools which allow you to make progress. So I don't want you to be so afraid of making a mistake that you say nothing and you're afraid to speak, be confident, speak, communicate. That's great. You have to do that. But also care. Care about whether or not you said something correctly. Care about the details. Care about small things. Small things matter. Small things really matter. And you might say sank, think it's a small issue, that's fine. Alright? Okay. If your goal is not to sound more natural, if your goal is not to improve, be more clear when you're speaking. Fine, you don't care. But if you care and if you want to make progress, then you can't say it's just a small thing. It's not just a small thing. This is a thing that you're not aware enough of and you need to be you need to care that you made this mistake because it's not clear and you have to focus on it even though it is small. Now this is not me telling you what your goals should be. Everyone should have their own goals. That's great. But I'm assuming that you want to make real progress. And the point that I'm trying to make is that if you want to make real progress, these are the things you have to do. You have to identify what the issues are and you have to care about the issues. You have to want to improve this or whatever the issue is. Could be grammar, could be how you use vocabulary, anything, whatever it is. And you have to admit to yourself that small things do matter. That you can't just say, Am, I know this, but it doesn't matter. It's a tiny thing. Because small things add up. The difference between you speaking very clearly in fluently and you not, is not one thing. If I fix this one thing, then I'll be fluent. It's a 1000 tiny things. And you have to start the process of identifying these things, being aware when these things happened and carrying about that small thing that happened enough to make a change. Remember my golf example. I have to care about the way that I place my hands on the golf club or my stance. If I just say I yeah, But that's a small thing and I'll let you work on something else. No. Now, it is about the way I place my feet on the ground or hold the club. That's a small thing, but it really, really matters. And this is the main reason that so many English learners never make progress. This is the reason. 10. Self-awareness in Practice: Now a few things that you should keep in mind as you really start to work on your self-awareness, we're going to focus on some specific exercises later in the course. But these are some general things that you should keep in mind and really start to do. Number 1, slow down, slow down, get this idea out of your head. That fluent means faster. That's wrong. That's not true. If you ever watch a great public speaker, they're not speaking faster than everyone else. That's not what makes them great. Speaking slowly is fine. A lot of native English speakers speak slowly. Some of the best speak slowly and use pauses. And the benefit of speaking slowly or more slowly is that you can notice much more. This helps you to become more self-aware. If you're speaking very quickly, it's hard to notice because you've already passed by the issue. Whatever the problem was, grammar or word usage or pronunciation, or whatever, you've already passed it, it's gone. Now you've done something else and you already past that one. So it's too late. How can you improve if you're flying by? If you were learning piano, you wouldn't say, that's alright. I'm going just go to the next one next o another issue ads. Okay. Let's keep going. No, that's not how you learn piano. Remember the golf story. I watched myself in slow motion and only then was I able to notice it's my feet, It's my hands. That's the issue. So don't be afraid to speak slowly. In fact, get in the habit of doing it. Force yourself to do it. If you can't say a word slowly, than at least pause every few words so that you can reflect on what you said. And this one is very important. You have to correct. You have to self correct. If you meant I think and you said I sink, don't just keep going. If you noticed it, can you noticed it because you were speaking slowly. You're committed to focusing on your pronunciation, being self-aware about that. And you notice that you said I sink. Don't just save next time. I'll get it right next time. No. That's not how to build good habits, which is what we're going to talk about next. What you should do is corrected right now. Get in the habit of doing it now, right? Everybody knows if you leave some trash out in your house, some garbage. And you say I'll pick it up later. You might not pick it up later. You might leave some more out and then say about that one. I'll pick it up later. And you might keep doing that until your house is filled with garbage and trash, right? So pick it up now, Just do it. So the next time you say I sync, I think make the correction self-correct. It's okay to go back and say something correctly and it's going to help you build the right habits. Now of course, I only use this. I sink in, I think, because it's so simple, right? It's an easy example for us to talk about. But whatever it is, whatever it is, what is it? What are my issues? I don't even know. How can I start if I don't even know what my issues are? I mean, generally I know that it's how I use vocabulary. Sometimes I use the wrong form of the word, the adjective instead of the noun. Or sometimes they use a strange word. I know I have issues. I'm just not sure exactly which ones. All right. So it's time to identify we need to identify the things that we need to work on. So we record, we record, use your phone, use your computer, whatever. I don't care. Record yourself. Now a lot of people say yes, but I can't stand to hear my voice. Everybody says that about themselves. You'll get used to it. It's a very powerful tool. Just like the golf example. I watched myself over there in that little video in slow motion. There, my hands there, my feet, identifying the issues requires you to see those issues outside of yourself to be able to notice them objectively. So ask yourself a question, write down a question, and record yourself speaking about that question for two minutes and then write down the issues that you hear. Did you mix up the forms of the word and use an adjective instead of a noun. Did you make some obvious pronunciation issues that you heard? You might not catch everything, but you will catch a lot. It's a very, very powerful way to start to develop self-awareness. And just like the golf example, then you can take what you noticed and bring it back to your practical real life experience and start to pay attention to when it comes out and when it does you say there it is and you correct. So these things all work together, slowing down, correcting, recording, and finally focusing. Now what does this mean exactly? Well, if you're just self-aware, maybe you're trying to focus on everything, which means you're not focusing. So you might not notice anything because you're trying to hear everything. So maybe today you're answering a question, you're recording, or maybe you're in a conversation with a friend, or maybe you're having a phone call or whatever it is, whatever it is, practice or real-world conversation, you're going to pick one or two of the things that you're really struggling with and you're going to pay attention to those today. I'm just going to focus on my hands and my hand position on the golf club today or in this conversation or in this recording exercise. I'm just going to pay attention to tenses and I'm just going to stop and correct. 11. Habits | Out with the Bad, in with the Good: Self-awareness is our first step toward noticing the issues that we need to improve toward getting passed those things which make you sound much less natural when you're speaking English, or in fact, even when you're writing English. But that's just the first step. First comes self-awareness, then comes habit. But there are good habits and there are bad habits. What would good habits be? Well, that would be saying what you want to say correctly, automatically without thinking about it. What about bad habits? That would be when you say something that's not quite correct. There's an issue. And very importantly, if you were to read what you said, written down on a piece of paper, you would say, Oh, that's an issue, right? We're not talking about things that you don't know. That's about learning, that's about getting new knowledge. We're not talking about that. This is where you say something, but it's not correct. Even though actually, you know that. But you just said it. That's a bad habit. And you don't want to repeat that. Now if a bad habit gets stronger and stronger, it gets harder and harder to change. For good habit gets stronger and stronger. That's great. You're making progress. Now I know that this is obvious, but it's very important to point out because so many learners think that knowing is enough. Oh, it's okay. I know how to say this word. Oh, it's okay. I know this grammar point. It's okay. I know that I should use happiness instead of happy or happy instead of happiness. I know. But then when you're speaking and you're thinking about many things at the same time, you don't do it. That's the difference between knowledge and habits. Having knowledge as great, of course, you need to have the knowledge, but that's not what we're talking about in this course. We're focusing on your real-world skills, your ability to do it right naturally in a conversation. So habits for communication may be the most important thing. Well, maybe self-awareness, they're both very important. Knowing is something that can happen in five minutes. You learn it. Great. But do you use it? Do you do it correctly? That's what really matters, right? Knowing is easy. Habits. Take time and repetition based on what we talked about last time, based on self-awareness. So first, let's talk about undoing the bad habits. And you can see I have a little drawing here. This is a little tree and it doesn't look like a very healthy tree. And this is also a kind of unhealthy tree, let's call these bad habits. Now you know that so many money is wrong, you know that, because many, that is a quantifier used for countable nouns. Many cups, many ideas, many days, fine. But money is uncountable. Money is uncountable. And because it's uncountable, we cannot use many. We can say much. You probably know this, you already know this. We can say much. And we couldn't say sum if so, wasn't there some money? So much money. Okay. Now we know that, but maybe that's an issue. You have your speaking and maybe you get a little mixed up about quantifiers. So you use many in places where you should not. Now, this is just an example. This is a common issue, but maybe you don't have this issue. Use what we're talking about for the issues you do have. The ones that you've learned about through self-awareness practice, right? Just for example, this is your issue. So many money. Now you know it, but when you speak, it doesn't come out that way. It doesn't come out much. It comes out many, often. All right, that's what tells us that it's a habit problem. It's a habit problem because we know actually the correct way to do it, but we don't do it correctly when we speak. Because we've started developing our self-awareness. We've noticed, we've noticed that it's there. Hey, I do this. I do this when I speak. That's not so good. I could definitely improve that. Okay. So you've noticed it and now you go out there and you have a conversation. But what happens? You do it again. I noticed it, but I'm still doing it. What's going on here? Ah, it's because this is a habit. Habits are formed by repeating actions or repeating behaviors. If you want to get good at something, you repeat it many times and then you get good at it. For anything that you've done that you're good at. You did it many times and now you're good at it because you did it many times or anything you don't like about yourself, bad habits, how did it get that way? You did that thing that you don't like about yourself many times. And now it's hard to stop doing that. It's hard to quit. So why should speaking be any different? Having a sudden realization is great, but it's not enough. We have to put in the hard work. So we've noticed this issue. Now we need to start building the habits. But unfortunately, these roots of our little ugly tree are deep. And if we try to plant a new seed here, it quickly guys, because all of the water and the nutrients are being taken up by this ugly little tree. We want to plan a little tree that turns out to be a beautiful green apple tree or cherry tree, right? I will going home. This is another one we have. You noticed it when you were recording yourself, you heard it, you wrote it down. Did I say I will going home? I know that it should be I will I will go home. I know that's correct. And if I use going down, I should say something else. I should say I am going. And I can't mix those two up. I can't just throw will in there with going. I will going unless I say I will be going, which is sometimes okay. I will be going home is sometimes correct. Depending on the situation. That's an m. Yes, it's an m. So we noticed the issue. We noticed that's a problem. We have the knowledge we know that this is correct. This is correct. This is correct. We've got the knowledge. Now, what should we do? Well, we've started speaking more slowly. That's the first habit we decided to change. We're slowing down our speech and that's allowing to notice more things as we speak. We've identified this one and we've decided it's time to work on this issue, or I'm going to work on my tenses, future and past, or maybe just future. Okay? So I'm talking with someone about this, and because I'm speaking slowly, consciously, carefully, I notice when I do this, it's a habit. And I heard myself saying as I was speaking, I will going. So I stop. I don't continue. I force myself to pause and say either I will go or I am going. And then the next time I do the same thing and I notice it, I do the same thing. Pause, I make a small correction, and then I continue. And I do this every time. After 4567 times, correcting myself, it starts to get easier to notice it. I'm able to catch it a little more easily and I'm able to correct it more easily after a few times, I'm able to catch myself in the middle of saying it. So I say I and then I pause and then I correct myself before I even finished saying it. So at the beginning, I would say it and hear it, catch it. Stop, pause. Correct. Then catch it in the middle. I start to get a little better at this. I will correct that one. Then over time, I start to catch it. Before I say it. I noticed myself in my head about to say I will going. But before it comes out of my mouth, I stop. I pause. The person who's listening to me doesn't know why I'm pausing, but that's okay. That's fine. I pause and then I say it correctly. Now I've said it correctly the first time. That means I didn't make a mistake at all. Now you're getting very close to progress. As you continue going. That gets easier until there's no more pausing at all, until you don't have to think about it anymore. All you have to do is mean to say something. You'll want to say something. And this correct thing pops out of your mouth. All by itself. This is a huge step. You've made progress. Now. Maybe there you were focusing on your future tenses or future actions. And that's what you're going to do for this week or maybe two weeks. Fine. Fine. And then you work on something else. Maybe you work on this issue. Countable, uncountable. Maybe you work on pronunciation, you focus on something and you actively listen to yourself. And you go through this process of pausing, correcting, pausing, correcting until it's automatic. This tree then starts to die. It starts to fade because the only thing that can make it stronger is doing the same mistake again and again. It loves when you make mistakes, when you make more mistakes, the same mistake again and again, the roots grow deeper. Imagine this is your brain. The roots grow deeper and deeper and deeper in it and it digs farther and farther into your brain. It's very happy you making mistakes is like water to this little tree. But when you stop doing that, when you pause, when you self correct, it starts to say to itself, hey, what's going on? Where's the, where's the water from the sky? This used to happen all the time. 0, 0, and then it starts to shrivel up and eventually the roots die. It falls over. And I know that's a little sad, but it's good news because now there's room for this little seed you planted to start growing. And this little seed grows into a little tree, and then it grows and grows until it becomes a huge apple tree. It's automatic. You don't have to think about it anymore. And you can just sit back and reap the benefits of having a big, beautiful apple tree, which is speaking more clearly, speaking more accurately, being a better communicator. So I want you to start working on your habits. And I want to mention one thing which is also really important. And this is the problem of bandwidth. How much attention or focus do you have? 12. The Bandwidth Problem: Even if your self-awareness is amazing and you're speaking slowly, can you at the same time, pay attention to tense issues or grammar issues like countable and uncountable, or pronunciation issues, or word choice issues, or intonation issues, whatever issues you've identified. Can you pay attention to those things all at the same time? Likely. No. Definitely. No. It's not possible. We have limited attention, limited focus, limited concentration. So don't get angry at yourself for that. We all have limited bandwidth, we all have limited focus. That's why you should choose one area to work on at a time. Focus on one thing, work on habits in that area, and then move on to something else. Otherwise, it's going to be very hard to make real progress. In the great thing is, once those things have become habits, you really don't need to think about them anymore. You can really go onto things that are more important, things that allow you to communicate better. Focusing on what you want to say. Think about speaking your native language. When you're speaking your native language, do you think about pronunciation? Are you thinking about grammar? Know, you're thinking about what you want to say. Look at me, I'm speaking English to you right now. I'm not thinking about grammar. I'm not thinking about tenses. I'm not even thinking about word choice or pronunciation. All I'm thinking about is exactly what I want to say. And then it kind of comes out of my mouth naturally. Why? Because I'm a native English speaker. I grew up in an English environment. I've spoken English my entire life. And so I have the habits needed to speak English well. And you can too. But you have to start from the right place. You can't just randomly practice. You have to practice in the right way, starting with developing your ear, moving to self-awareness, becoming more aware of the issues that you have. Focusing on those building habits step-by-step until one day, you're just speaking and everything you say sounds natural and you're not thinking about it anymore. And that is where you want to be. But not all ways are the same. Not all practices the same. You have to practice smart so that you can really improve. 13. Caring and Not Caring: One more thing quickly before we go to the next lesson. It's also very important when you're noticing these things, when you self-correct not to get angry at yourself, to say, I did it again and beat yourself up about it. Don't do that. Just correct it. If you get frustrated with yourself or you get emotional, that can harm your progress. So just pause, make the correction, and continue. Remember, mistakes are not a bad thing. Everyone makes mistakes. But for you as a learner, mistakes or a tool, a thing that you can use to make real progress. So try to find that balance where you care about mistakes and you want to improve and make progress and make corrections. But not so much that you're afraid to speak because you're worried you might make a mistake, that's not good. You don't want to be afraid to speak. Speak. If the balance these things as you move towards your goals and you'll notice, as your self-awareness improves, as your habits improve, you're going to start feeling more confident to speak. You're going to feel good about speaking. You're going to not be afraid of speaking if you already are, you feel nervous about it. It'll get easier because speaking by itself can be a habit. Getting used to the feeling of saying, what do you think, turning your thoughts into words is by itself a good habit. So that's why you have to practice. You have to do the work. Okay, good luck, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 14. Can I learn by translation?: Now that we've talked about how to build self-awareness and self-correct issues in your spoken English and then build strong, good speaking habits. Now that we've talked about those things, we can go on and talk about how to learn. Because part of improving your English is learning new things. You have to learn idioms, you have to learn words, you have to learn sentence structures. I want to focus on specifically, specifically learning words. And I get a really common question. And that question is, can I use my translator to learn English? Can I look up an English word, then see it in my language and be done. Just remember that, and I'm done. Is that okay? Is it a good way to learn, or perhaps a two language dictionary? I look up the word in English and there it is in my language, or I look up the word in my language and there it is in English, am done. Great. Is this okay? Is this a good way to learn? And I think you already know what I'm going to say, because otherwise we wouldn't have a lesson about it. So I'm going to say no, but it's very, very important Y naught. And also we have to talk about what to do instead. But then why do translators exist? Why do dictionaries exist? Well, they exist for a reason. Sometimes you need to know what something means very quickly, you're trying to accomplish something. This is very difficult and I just need to know basically what it means. Alright, use a translator. There. Your purpose is not learning. They're, your purpose is, this is way too complicated. It would take me nine hours to figure out I have something to do. I need to know kind of what it means. Great. Use a translator, okay? Or I need to know the meaning of this word right now for something else. I just have to know because I'm having a conversation or someone asked me or whatever, or I'm a brand new learner. I don't know any English words. If so, you probably can't understand what I'm saying. So that's, that's not you write brand new learners. You have to build up your vocabulary. You don't know any English. And so you take this paragraph and you translate it into your language because you want to understand it. Fine. These things exist for a reason, of course. But what we're talking about here is not accomplishing some task for work or because we're in a hurry. What we're talking about here is learning. The purpose is learning. That is our goal. If our goal is learning and speaking English well, using the language, which is what I assume you're here, to learn how to speak the English language better. If this is what we want, then we shouldn't be using a translator. Then we shouldn't be using a two language dictionary, for example. Then we have to do it a different way. 15. Connotation and Context: So let's first talk about the problem. What is the problem with doing this? Why is it not a good way to learn? Let's take a simple word. Let's take the word light, light. Now, you might say, All right, let's translate that over to my language. Which meaning of light are you translating over? Which one? Are you talking about? The object that makes things illuminate? Are you talking about the illumination itself, the stuff that's all around us, the electromagnetic radiation, it talking about that. Are you talking about things that are not heavy or you're talking about things that are not intense, you could mean so many different things. And that's just a simple example because light happens to have a lot of different meanings. So the first problem is which one? And then there's the problem of connotation. So the connotation of a word means not only what it means in the dictionary, but also how people feel when you use that word. Or perhaps the cultural meaning of a word. If someone says this is light work, this is light work that has a certain feeling. And people, when they hear someone say this is light work might feel a bit different than if you were to say, this is easy. There's slightly different, although they kind of have the same meaning. They feel different. This is the connotation. So how do you translate that feeling when that feeling is cultural? The feeling of a word, the way that it's used among people in every day language. How do you translate that? So here's an English word. And these are all the things in the culture that this word is connected to when they hear it, they think of these things, right? Like if I hear the name Bertha, I think of a certain type of person. I have a picture in my mind about what a Bertha might look like. This is a person's name, maybe references to movies or books or discussions that I've had are things I've heard on the radio. I have this kind of association or connection to that name. There's a very clear image in my mind right now. And I would bet that a lot of other people in the United States have a similar image because these things are shaped by our shared culture. Right? Now, if that's true for a name, why wouldn't it be true for a common word? It is true for a common word. So these are all those connections or associations. Now, I translate that word into the same word in another language over here. So here's the word translated. What is the likelihood that this word that we've translated also comes with these connections, these associations that are connected to this word in the English language. Is it likely? It's not likely. It's very unlikely. It's extremely unlikely. This word will have different associations, a different connotation, different connotations related to the culture of that language. This is how language works. And so that's the reason why when you translate a word from English into your language or from your language into English, you can't say that you really know the meaning, not really. You might know the basic meaning. It's called the denotative, meaning the denotation. But is that really the most important thing? Can you use it naturally in a conversation? Do you really understand how the word is used? Do you really understand how it feels when you say it to others, how others feel about what you said when you use that word. Not if you're using a translator. Not if you're using a dictionary to your language or from your language. No. And there's another really big problem with this. Now, whenever you want to use this English word, whatever it is, now every time you want to use it, you have to bring up all of this stuff with it. That means you're trying to speak English and you're carrying around all of the things in your language. With English, It's very heavy. It's weighing you down. If you want to start speaking naturally and fluently in English. But every time you use words, especially newer words, you have to pull out this huge bag of meaning that is connected to that through your language, you're going to be exhausted. We're going to be very tired. And it's going to be very hard to develop the skill to think in English. So just imagine your English-speaking self carrying around this huge heavy bag and it's weighing you down and it's hard and you feel exhausted every time you have a conversation. This is not the way it should be. You shouldn't have to take all of this with you when you learn this. Why not just learn this directly? And then you can start getting a feeling for all of this stuff too. Because when you learn a word, you learn it in context. You learn the context of the word. That means who's using it? What's the situation? How is it being used here? How do other people respond to this usage? This is what gives you that feeling, that connotation. That's so important. Because just looking up a word and what it means, the definition in the dictionary, that's not going to tell you exactly how to use it, when to use it or when not to use it, or even if you should use it at all. There are a lot of words I know that I don't say. 16. What about synonyms?: Now there's a final problem, and this is a problem of synonyms. Now, you probably know synonym. This is a word that has the same meaning as another word. Let's take easy and simple. Now this is something just to be aware of and be careful about when you're learning words and when you're learning idioms and phrases as well. Easy and simple are synonyms, but they have the same meaning all the time. It's really like a Venn diagram. It's called a Venn diagram. Now a Venn diagram is when you've got two or more circles. And the circles overlap, and they overlap here. And this is the shared meaning. This is where they are synonyms. So if I say this, this is so easy, this is so simple. This is so easy. This is so simple. All right, fair enough. They're the same there. But if someone says, I really like how you've decorated your house, your interior design. It's so simple. Should I say it's so easy? No, no, simple. There means not complicated or not too messy. Not a lot of clutter, which is not the same meaning as easy. And easy has its own meanings to when someone is very angry and we want to calm them down. Or maybe a horse is angry and we went to calm the horse down or something like that. We say, easy, easy, easy. We don't say simples, impulse, impulse and bow, calm down, right? We say easy and there are other, other meanings that easy has as well. My point is that when you're learning words, if you're trying to learn this way, you have to be very, very careful about is it This, is it this, or is it this, or is it any of the other meanings? But if you're learning this way, if you're learning by context, if you're learning by surrounding yourself with the language, learning it in the way that it is used and paying attention to who's using it. All of those things that give you this connotation, these cultural feelings about the usage of the word or phrase, you're going to have a much better understanding, which is going to allow you use it yourself. And that's the whole purpose of language. You want to finally, when you learn a word, use it. You don't want to just learn it. And that's what it comes down to. Your learning words this way. Maybe hard to start using them if you learn English by translation, there are just so many things that can go wrong. Maybe you've got the wrong meaning. There are several different meanings. Maybe you've got the shared meaning. Maybe you've got two totally different meanings. Maybe you've got this meaning. Maybe you've got this meaning, maybe you've got some other meaning. And when you finally did get the right meaning, did you get all of this stuff which is very important for usage? Probably not. So now, great, you know what it means, but you don't know how to use it. And perhaps when you do use it, you feel exhausted because you're always thinking of your language. Get rid of all of that. Stopped doing that. Start instead. Learning by context, learning connotation, seeing how words are used, looking at words in sentences, seeing who is saying words, and it's not a clean process always, That's true. Step a, step B, step C. But it's the process which allows you to start thinking in English. To use words in your real life more naturally, to feel more confident using words naturally rather than worrying. I know this word, but maybe it's awkward here, you know, because you've seen it used and very importantly, to start to get a sense for the culture. You can't separate language and culture. Language is culture. Culture is language. They're very closely tied together. They're linked, they overlap with each other. And so learning one without the other, learning this, without this, learning this and only this, that's only going to make your life harder. So commit yourself to learning through context. Next time you encounter a strange word, instead of looking up the translation of that word, tried to explore it in English and get away from this idea that I have to know the meaning in my language. Why? Why do you have to know the meaning in your language? My wife is Chinese and English is not her first language. She's chinese. And she did not speak English very well at all when I met her. Now, her english is very good. Now, why is that? That's because she did this. She started doing this when she learns a new word for work or when she's talking with me, she doesn't go and look up what it means immediately in Chinese, what she might do is look up the meaning in an English dictionary, read a few sentences, make sure to pay attention to where she saw it or where she heard it and maybe even start using it a little bit to test it out and see if she's using it correctly and ask questions. Does that sound right? Is this correct? That's good. This is a process and you can do the same thing and there's no reason why you shouldn't. 17. The Dao of English: One of our main themes in this course is not that practice makes perfect, but that perfect practice makes perfect. That means that first you have to make sure you're doing things the right way. And then when you practice, you can make sure that you're actually progressing, improving. If you're not doing it the right way and you're just practicing, practicing, practicing. And you're going in a 1000 different directions. You're not going to get anywhere. Now part of this is what we've talked about so far, how you learn words, self-awareness, building habits. But another part of very, very important part is attitude. That means the way that you think is really important. And we often don't talk about this when it comes to learning English. But really we have to, because it does matter, we're not robots. The way that we think about things has a big impact on how well we do those things. How much progress we make. Those who are very good at anything don't only have the skills. They also have, for example, the confidence, attitudes that helped them to be good at whatever they're good at. So attitude is extremely important. Now I want to share four key attitudes that will help you improve your spoken English. These are the four things that I see among the most successful English learners. Again, I've been teaching English for almost 10 years. So I've seen thousands and thousands of students trying things out, doing things in different ways with different attitudes, different techniques. And so I have a pretty good idea about what works well and what doesn't work well. Well, what we've been talking about so far, these are things that I've seen students use which work really well, but that also includes attitude. So let's go over these four key things. The first, let's call the Tao of English, or being a sponge. What does a sponge do? A sponge absorbs things. Now, why absorb and why am I saying the Tao of English that Dow is this idea of going along with nature, of kind of going with the flow of things, which is the opposite of being very, very rigid. And saying that everything has to fit in a perfect little box. If everything has to fit in a perfect little box, you're going to make your English learning life very complicated and very difficult. Because as I've said, languages are messy things and they often don't fit in boxes. And they very often don't make sense, especially in relation to your language. Language being one way doesn't mean English will be the same way. And if you say, but why isn't it that way, you might not be helping yourself. I knew a student who was always doing this, I would introduce a new phrase or expression. And rather than saying interesting, alright, how do you use it? In what kind of situations do you use it? This student would say, but why is it that way? In my language, It's this way and we say it this way and it's different. Why is it different? I need to understand. Why do you need to understand? Why do you need to understand why two languages are different? I don't see why you need to understand that. That's not going to help you use the language. Why does this new thing that I like to share with you and teach you need to fit into a box that you already have. I don't think that that's important. Why do you think that's important? It's not important. So you have to let go of that. Go with the flow 0, you use it this way. I see, Okay, it doesn't really make sense to me, but okay, that's what people say. That's what people say. It's not always important to understand why is it this way? Especially when we're talking about things like idioms and expressions. Yes, of course, there is a reason, but not everyone who uses this expression. Nose, the reason. They just know what it means and how it's used. So you can do the same. So be a sponge. What does a sponge do? It just absorbs things. You experienced the language through conversation, through reading, through movies. Whenever you experience it and like a sponge, you soak it in and you don't stress out about it being different from your language. Or maybe it not fitting into a perfect box, or maybe it not making perfect sense to you. We're not being logical in some way. Sometimes we have to just say it is what it is and I don't need to understand exactly why that's the idea of the DAO. Now I'm not saying that you should never try to understand things. It's good to understand how grammar rules work and structures of sentences and things like that. Yeah, that's great. But when insisting on fitting something new into a box you already have, prevents you from learning it well, prevents you from absorbing it, prevents you from using it naturally, then there's a problem. And for the student that I mentioned, progress never happened. That student never improved. I was amazed that this student had been working for so many years and had never really made progress. And I was finally able to help the student realize that this was the reason, the real reason, not about learning, it's not about studying. It's an attitude thing. You're trying to make everything fit into a box. And you're preventing yourself from learning. You're not learning anything because you demand that it makes sense to you. It's not working. So be a sponge. Follow the dao of English. 18. I'm Not Ready!: One of the most common things that gets in the way of progress, especially progress in spoken English, is this idea of I need to whatever. And then I can start doing something feeling that you first need to get ready. Now for something's getting ready as good. You want to get ready for a presentation or a job interview. Yeah, getting ready is great. But often we rely way too much on this. And actually this is an excuse for not doing something that actually you should be doing. You should start doing already. Now this is most important for speaking. So whatever your challenges, maybe your challenge is to record a video of yourself twice a week. That's what you want to do. That's what you know you need to do in order to improve your self-awareness and practice speaking. Or maybe you've been thinking about joining a discussion group where you can practice talking about things with people who share your interests, okay? Whatever it is. Now, you've decided you want to do this thing. You know, you need to, to make progress to improve your spoken English. But first, at first, first, I need to learn 1000 more words. First, I need to practice some grammar. First, I need to do a bunch of stuff, whatever it is, I have to do this and then I'll start. This is the wrong attitude. And it's often, often just an excuse because you're afraid to do that thing. The reality is when it comes to practicing, when it comes to communicating, when it comes to speaking, you'll never be totally ready. I'm not ready. Nobody is really ready in this idea that there are clear and clean steps with language learning is just honestly crazy. First you have to do this. You have to do this, and then you have to do this. No, no, it's not like that. You can do many things at the same time and you will benefit much more by doing many things at the same time. Instead of saying first I'm going to learn 2 thousand words and then when I'm done with that, I'm going to start practicing by recording a video twice a week. How about this? Learn 2000 words, great, and at the same time, practice by recording yourself, recording a video twice a week. Why does one have to come before the other? Are you telling me that you need to learn these specific grammar rules before you can join this discussion group and practice having conversations I really don't understand. And the learners who make the most progress in their spoken English that most quickly, they probably wouldn't understand either. They just start doing things. They say, hmm, maybe if I record it, maybe if I joined that, maybe if I do this, I'll improve. And instead of saying, alright, that's my future plan. Let me get ready now first for six months, they just start doing it right away. They just do it. So just do stuff instead of dipping your toe into the pool and then taking it out and then putting on some sunscreen and then dipping your toe in again. Just jump into this swimming pool, starts swimming around. See what happens. And when you do that, you're going to learn a lot more about what you need to do next and what you should do after that based on actual experience, based on really doing it, instead of planning your life 95 years in advance. So the attitude to have is to not be too cautious. The attitude of the most successful English speakers is to not be too cautious, is to not use this excuse. And of course, you need to get ready for exams and you need to get ready for interviews, of course, of course. But you can't use that as an excuse to not start right now. And deep down, you know, you should. 19. A Fearless Attitude: A long, long time ago when I first started teaching English, I knew a student named seven. And I learned a very, very important lesson from seven about what makes a successful learner. And I have since seen other successful learners have the same characteristic. So what did seven teach me? Well, you can guess what seven taught me, but let me explain a little bit. We would do English Corners. English Corners are usually a group of 20 to 25 students and a teacher talking about a topic. And then maybe there's some interaction. The teacher may ask the students some questions and the students then have the chance if they raise their hands to speak and to practice a little bit. Or perhaps there's some group activities. This is an English Corner. Now a lot of the students would just be silent and listen. And when I or any of the other teachers would ask for participation, most of the students would sit quietly. Now, I knew that a lot of these students had pretty good English. And so I was always a little confused on this is the perfect chance. You can say your opinion. You can say, what do you think we can practice? But often they wouldn't. They would sit quietly and just listen. And you know, the reason, the reason is because speaking your second language in front of a bunch of your peers, that's a scary thing. They might judge you. They might say that you're stupid. They might think badly of you. And there's a native English speaking teacher there who might correct you as well or think you're dumb. It's a scary thing to talk in front of others. But there was this student named 77. English was poor. He didn't know very much English compared to the other students in the class. He was probably the lowest level English speaker most of the time. But he was always the first to raise his hand. He was always the first to try to just say a couple words, not even sentences, just a few words. He was fearless and he didn't care about people's judgment. So guess what happened? Seven improved very quickly. I saw seven go from basically nothing, a few words to being able to hold a conversation. He would try to take the words that he learned that day and use them to give an example, use them to give an opinion. And sometimes, sometimes the other students in the class would, they would laugh and sometimes not. But I think deep down, most of them admired him for being brave, for being fearless and their progress was slower and he 7 quickly caught up to the other students. So there's this idea of judgment where we think that people are constantly looking at us and judging us and being critical. And we think that if we say something, someone might laugh at us and we'll feel embarrassed. But the reality is that even if they do that, it might be a quick thought and then it's out of their minds. Most people are thinking about themselves and how they look compared to others. Most people, even if they laugh at someone or think someone says something dumb, they don't really care, they don't go home and say, you know, I saw a real idiot today speaking English. No, people don't really care. So if you think everyone is focused on you and ready to laugh at you and will remember embarrassing things that you do or say forever and ever. That's not true, That's not accurate. What I remember about seven as that he is fearless. And so all I remember is this very positive thing, about seven. And it's something that I would like to share with you because I would like you to develop this in yourself. If you're already courageous and not afraid to speak. Great, you have a huge advantage in every opportunity where you can practice. You will be the one to make progress. If you're the type of person who is afraid to speak, who was very shy. It's okay. But I would encourage you to start opening up a little bit to not worry about judgment. Because getting out there, getting used to the feeling of speaking in front of others, of others looking at you and listening to you and maybe sometimes laughing at you. Getting used to that feeling is going to push you much faster to improve. You're going to make real progress and it's going to get easier and easier over time. It's going to feel more comfortable when you start to get used to this feeling of speaking, of having others listened to you and maybe judge you when you start to get used to that, you gain confidence. When you gain confidence, the things that you know, start coming out of your mouth more easily. Often, people say, when I'm having a conversation with someone, I forget all the English words that I know. I'm so nervous. How can you expect to not be nervous if you never do it? We're nervous about things we don't do very often. We're nervous about things that we lack practice in. But as with anything else, the more you do something, the more comfortable you get, the more comfortable you get, the more confidence you get, the easier things start to flow, the more you're able to use of what you know, of what you've learned. So I challenge you this week or next week. Don't wait six months, Don't wait a year this week or next week. Find one way to practice spoken English with others. Maybe it's a discussion group that you find online. That's fine. There are a lot of those. Maybe it's a language exchange where you have a partner and you can practice speaking, even if it's not a native English speaker, find a way and jump into it and just try and don't be afraid and you're doing that is the difference between seven who made very rapid progress and everyone else who's just quiet, listening because they were afraid of judgment. Nobody cares. It's fine. It's not a big deal. Just do it. 20. Lifestyle and Windows: For many English learners, the starting point was in school, learning English in English class is the Introduction to English. And so you get used to it as a subject in school. And when you finish school, you went to improve your English. And you're still thinking of it as a subject in school. But that's actually not the right way to think of English. If you think of English as a subject in school, then I'm going to spend 30 minutes learning English and then I'll be done with that and I'll do something else. Now it's good to do practice for 30 minutes. But the attitude to take is to consider English as part of your lifestyle. Because if you can make English-learning part of your lifestyle, then you don't have to force yourself to do it and it becomes more sun. 21. References are Key: When it comes to understanding spoken English, especially for example, in movies and TV shows. We've talked about already. Working on your listening. Very important, of course, to be able to hear what people are saying. But that's not the only reason why you can't often understand, for example, characters in a movie or a TV show. So that really is only part of it. And then the question that you might have in your mind is, hey, why is it that I can understand you this course? But when I'm watching a movie, I have trouble. Even if I understand the words that are being said. What's going on here doesn't seem to be a problem with my ear. I can hear the words they're saying, but I still don't quite know what they're talking about. I can't quite catch the meaning. And there are really three main things that fall under this category. Let's call them references, idioms and phrasal verbs. So let's talk a little bit about these. I'll explain why these make it difficult to understand what someone is saying, what a native English speaker is saying. And then I'll tell you why you can understand me and then we'll use that as our starting point to talk about what you can actually do to improve this part so that you can understand more of what you hear around you. Maybe with your friends, you have some inside jokes. Inside jokes. And an inside joke is one that's only your friends know, or maybe one friend knows. And when other people hear you say that they don't understand what you're talking about. They know the words that you're saying. But maybe the funny point is something that only you shared some very special thing that happened that only U2 experienced or U3 group of friends experienced. And so when someone makes a reference to that inside joke, then you all, you all laughed together. But someone from your culture who doesn't know this inside joke will just not understand what you're talking about. This is the same thing that's happening, but it grows in circles. So let me explain what I mean by that. Let's say the smallest circle is groups of friends, family members, people who are very close. And they understand these common things inside jokes, references, this sort of thing that other people don't understand. Then let's say there's a slightly larger group around this. And I'm going to draw it in a kind of squiggly way because this could be your area. I live in New York. So for example, something that's shared by New Yorkers that maybe people in California don't understand something cultural and there are things like that, a shared experience, maybe something related to snow in the winter that someone from Southern California just won't understand. Or maybe this is generational, maybe this is just age. There are a lot of different generations based on general age groups. And an age group between maybe 18 and 25. They are not well understood by people who are 65 to 85, right? They'll know things. They'll have shared words and phrases that are inside that group, or references to memes, especially on the Internet. Memes and popular things and music that their grandparents will just have no idea about probably, right? So in a way, when they're talking about those things to their grandparents, feel like you, when you're watching a movie. Maybe it's a similar feeling. They're talking about some meme or video game or whatever their grandparents were listening, thinking, talking about. I don't understand, but they have things that the younger generation won't understand. It goes both ways. So this could be generation or maybe Area. These are not very strict. Okay, Then let's say we have an don't be too strict about these. I'm just trying to make a point here. Then we have this larger area. And let's just say that this is something like country culture. Now of course, that's a very complicated thing because people in a country are very different, right? There are many groups of people, especially the United States. It's very diverse, right? Of course. But, but let's just say there are some common things that many Americans experience. Maybe things related to public school or the experience of going to university. And going to a sorority or fraternity, maybe something about the drinking age. The fact that in the United States for a long time, the drinking age has been 21 and that's not the same as other countries. So these are some shared things. And of course it's not just laws and rules, I'm just giving an example. But there are some things that I could reference with other Americans because I am one that they will probably understand, probably that perhaps someone from the UK, from Australia will maybe, maybe not know. There will be some things like that. Now it's a little bit different because a lot of movies are popular from the United States in countries around the world. And so those things are actually more likely to be known. But if I go to Australia, I will hear things that I will definitely not understand why I I I understand the word, but I don't get what they mean because there are things shared among most Australians, cultural references that I'm just not getting because I didn't have that experience growing up because haven't watched maybe enough Australian TV shows, I should probably watch more. And it's the same thing for the UK, except I've probably seen a lot more movies from the UK than Australia. So I'm more likely to know more of those cultural references. So the point is that there are these circles and inside of each circle, there are things that those outside of the circle have no reason to know. And how could they know them? And this is the smallest and then it sort of gets bigger. And then the biggest one we could say, and it's quite fuzzy, of course, is just English speakers. Let's just call it native English speakers. And there are things in the culture of the English language that you know because you grew up in a native English-speaking culture. There are quite a few things, some of those things have to do with the history of the English language. Maybe references to Shakespeare or Christianity or something like that. And there are a lot of other things like that as well. Maybe we read a lot of the same literature when we're in school across all native English-speaking countries. So there's thing that's shared. And I say this because this is something that most people don't really think about when they're learning English. They think, I'll learn words from books. I'll study and then I'll know. But that's not it because if that were it, when you watch a movie, you would understand 90 percent. But instead maybe you understand 50 percent. Now why do you understand me? Why do you understand me? Why can you understand me better? Why can you understand me better? Is it because I speak more slowly? Well, I would guess if I spoke more quickly right now, you would understand me at about the same level. Can you understand me better than someone in a movie? Probably. Why? It's because I'm choosing not to do these things. I'm deciding not to say a lot of things that I would say to other Americans because I know that many English learners won't know those things. Some will, some won't, but many won't. And I want to be understood. But I could turn that on and start doing it. And suddenly something would change and you would think, sounds the same, but suddenly I don't understand so much what happened, right? So why are we talking about this? Well, we're talking about it because once you know that this is a very, very important thing, then you can start to take steps to improve it once you realize and accept that, yes, learning a language is not just learning a language, it's actually learning language and a culture at the same time, you're learning about words, you're learning about grammar. Yes, of course. But you also have to get in here. You have to experience some or a lot of this stuff in order to really start to use the language. Well, you have to stop thinking of any language, but especially English, as this thing that you can just sit down and study and learn and start to think of it more as a cultural thing. That includes art, that includes conversations, that includes religion, that includes music, that includes humor, all of these things and much, much more that you have to start getting into. You have to start swimming around in English-speaking culture, like it's a big swimming pool. And the more you do it, the more comfortable you're going to get with it. And you're going to gradually find, I know what they're talking about. That's from that movie. I know what they're talking about. That's from that stand up routine. If you don't know what a stand-up routine is, that's a kind of kind of comedy that's popular in, for example, the United States and the UK. I remember that joke, or I remember that song or whatever it is. There are so many things I can't list them. It's not a checklist that you go through step-by-step. That's why I say it's a big swimming pool. The only way to start this is to jump into it and start swimming around. 22. Learning Idioms: Now the lucky thing is that it's not only references. This is not the only reason why you don't understand. Sometimes when native English speakers are talking about something with each other, It's also idioms and phrasal verbs. These are two very common things. Now, idioms are difficult because the words in the idiom don't tell you what it means, right? You hear the idiom. You might know the words. But then when someone says it to you, you think how could it possibly mean what those words are? So I'll give you a classic example to ride shot gun, to ride shotgun. Now to ride shotgun, ride shotgun, ride shotgun. Shotgun, kind of gun. What went? Well, actually this means to sit in the front seat, in the passenger seat beside the driver. That's what it means. And so if someone says shotgun, that means they want to sit in the front seat. Or if someone says, Hey, do you mind writing shotgun? Because I wanted to put some stuff in the back, the backseat of the car. And you say, yeah, sure. Whatever. It's used in a lot of different places. But you wouldn't know that just from looking at these two words. Now, if you're really interested in this stuff, I have another course on idioms on common American English expressions. And you can check that out if you want to learn these, each one with an explanation about what it means and how it is used. But really, this one is often easier to deal with then the references one, because the reference is one that's very messy. And I'll tell you how to, how to improve with that one as well in a second. For the idioms one, it's pretty straightforward. You hear an idiom, you read an idiom or a common, common expression or phrase. You discover it somehow reading, watching, conversation, whatever. And then you look it up. But where do you look it up? There aren't that many dictionaries that have idioms. Well, I really like one called the Free Dictionary. It's really good. So you can go to the free dictionary. It's a great resource. And the cool thing about it is it won't just tell you what it means. It will give you examples that can show you how it's used. So you heard ride shotgun from a movie. Write that down, go look it up on the free dictionary, or maybe some other one that you've found, but that's the one that I think is really good. Read the examples and you say, Now I see, great, and then you can start using it. Now it's a similar thing with phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs have a specific structure. This is a verb plus a preposition or an ad verb. Verb plus a preposition or an adverb. And for this one It's difficult often because these, for example, I'll give you an example. Break Up. Breakup doesn't have only one meaning and most phrasal verbs don't have only one meaning. And it can be a little confusing to learn these because these often have 1, 2, 3, 4. Meanings. Break-up would be one. Look up. Look up is a classic one that has several meanings. That is lookup. But also lookup could be something like research. There are more meanings of lookup, lookup to sort of like admire. So this is complicated. Which one is being used in this conversation? I don't know. Again, a simple process instead of learning just what this phrasal verb means, what does this mean exactly? What does this mean exactly? Explore the different meanings. And when you're learning the phrasal verb or learning the idiom, make sure that you feel that you really understand what it means. And then try to use it yourself. Try to make your own example, write down sentences, a couple of sentences, two or three sentences for each meaning of a phrasal verb, for the meaning of an idiom. And then you'll feel a little better about using it, or at least feel better about understanding which meaning it is when you hear it. He said, I look up to people who work hard. So that must be meier, meaning otherwise it wouldn't make sense. But unless you know first that it can mean admire, then you wouldn't be able to guess that and you wouldn't be able to understand. So I've given you the simple way to get better at this for idioms and phrases for phrasal verbs, all you have to do is make sure you pay attention to when they show up. Make sure you write them down or at least remember them, and then look them up later. Learn them and make your own sentences. So that's not too bad. What about the references one though this one is really complicated. These are things that people get, native English speakers get, or Americans get over a lifetime of experience. How can I get these things? And it's true there isn't a simple way. But the more that you expose yourself to the culture, the more quickly you will learn these things. This is a great excuse to watch videos on YouTube or watch movies, or watch TV shows. This is a great excuse to listen to music that you like to listen to podcasts, to listen to audio books. This is a great excuse to browse, to browse things that you're interested in, maybe reading articles online, joining a community on the Internet, for example, on Reddit, finding us subreddit that you're interested in. This is yet another reason to surround yourself with the language. You don't have to live in a native English-speaking country to have immersion in the English language? Absolutely not. You can surround yourself with the language if you want to. If you have the right lifestyle, if you watch, if you listen, if you browse, and this includes all kinds of other things as well. Maybe that's playing video games. There are so many things that you could do. I think it is important that you enjoy it. If you like reading the news, then great. Read the news in English. Find a bunch of news stories. Read articles, pick out words and phrases from the articles. That's great. If you'd like to watch movies, if you'd like to watch TV shows. If you'd like to play video games, whatever it is, as much as you can and try to do things you enjoy. And you're going to start getting these references more. You're going to start getting a sense for what people mean beyond just exactly what they said. Not just improving your listening, not just learning the language, but in a way, becoming part, becoming part of the English-speaking culture, becoming part of the American culture sphere. And that's actually easier because there are so many American movies, there are so many Americans on YouTube or who have podcasts. So find your interests, find those windows, and there's no reason not to start. Right now. 23. Don't understand? Ask!: Now there is just one more thing to mention, and maybe this is obvious to you, but it is really important. And I see so many learners not doing it. And that is that the process of learning language, the process of trying to understand these cultural things, references, idioms, phrasal verbs. This is an interactive process. It's not a one way process. So if you have the opportunity to say to someone, what does that mean? Do you think you could explain this to me? I don't really understand why he's using this expression. Could you explain that to me? I'm not quite sure what that really means. What does that mean? Asking questions of those who know? Because it's an interactive process. Not only will that help you then know, now you know the reference, oh, that's actually a reference to Star Wars. You know, the little guy with the green ears named Yoda. He says that in Star Wars. So that's why he said that. It's a reference to Star Wars. Okay, I see, Then you go watch Star Wars, for example. Just an example. But the interaction is you're asking and getting the answer. And apart from the obvious benefit of learning more because of that interaction, you get to have an interaction. You get to connect with someone. Maybe you make a new friend, or maybe you already have a friend and you get to know your friend better. Or at least you get to understand your friends culture better wherever you can, use what you don't know as the start of a conversation. Often people have this problem of not knowing how to start conversations. I never know what to say. I never know how to begin a conversation. No, someone, native English speaker, cool person. And sometimes we hang out and I never know what to say. So many things you don't know. Ask questions. Hey, I was wondering about this. Do you think you could tell me about that? And they'll probably be very happy to tell you more about their culture to explain these things. So it's a win-win. They probably enjoy it and they feel good that you're curious about their culture. You enjoy it because maybe it's interesting. And now you know more about the culture and about the language. And because you've had a conversation now you know each other better, It's a win-win. It's great. So never be afraid to ask and never be worried that, oops, I don't know something and I'm afraid of looking stupid. Never be afraid of that. The less afraid you are of that, the more you will benefit. Remember seven, fearless. I don't know that. Can you explain that? Yeah, sure. No problem. That's great. And you'll probably make more friends that way as well. So that's a very, very important point to keep in mind. If you have any questions for me about any of this stuff, let me know and I will see you in the next one. 24. Read and Discover: So maybe you're ready to have an English learning lifestyle. Maybe you're ready to surround yourself with the language. You want to watch more, you want to listen more. You went to browse more. You want to jump into the swimming pool of English language and English language culture and really get a feeling for it, for those references, for those phrasal verbs, for those idioms. Okay, great. Now what do you do? So let's talk about three things that you can do by yourself, that you should do to have English, cultural immersion. Maybe you live in the United States, but you feel that you still can't get that sense of immersion. That actually happens quite often, by the way. Or maybe you don't, it doesn't matter. All of these things you can do by yourself, as long as you have the Internet, you do need the Internet. You can't do these things by yourself in a forest, at least most of them. Some of them, yes, some of them you can, but most of them you need the internet. You need to be connected in some way. You don't anymore have to live in a native English-speaking country to have immersion. It's just not necessary anymore. It's absolutely possible to have real immersion no matter where you are. So let's start with reading. Every native English speaker who grows up in a native English-speaking country, who goes to school, reads in school, we have to read books. And a lot of these things are classic literature, but these are shared among most, if not all, native English speakers. Shakespeare would be a perfect example. There are thousands of idioms invented by Shakespeare that are really common in the language. Maybe it's not Shakespeare. Maybe it's a poem by Robert Frost. Alright, maybe it's Harry Potter, maybe it's Sherlock Holmes, maybe it's non-fiction books. And they're really powerful thing about Reading and Literature is, yes, you get all of this culture. Yes, You get to share more with native English speakers. You have more in common, more you can talk about, yes, yes, that's great. But perhaps even more. This is a perfect tool for discovery of new things. There it is, on the page written down in a sentence said by a character in a novel, Harry Potter said, and there's a word, I don't know. So I understand the situation, the thing that's going on in this book. And so I have the context. And that context allows me to then know how the word should be used. It's very powerful and there may be several things on a page you don't understand. Maybe it's an idiom, maybe it's a reference to something, maybe it's a new word. Whatever it is, that's what makes reading a powerful, very powerful way to discover new language and to really immerse yourself in the culture. And that gives you more in common with native English speakers. That helps plug you into the culture, the language so that you can have more to talk about, more to discuss so that you understand more. But so often, I meet English learners who worked so hard practice so hard, learn long lists of vocabulary and say to me, I'm not improving, I still don't understand. And I say, All right, well, tell me which books you are reading. Which books are you reading? Maybe you're reading something a little too difficult or too easy. I can give you some recommendations. And do you know what I often hear? Can't believe this. Do you know what I often hear? They say, I don't I don't read English books. You don't read English books. And you expect to actually understand how the language is used and the culture of the language, really, really. So this is essential, you have to do this. You have to start reading. Doesn't mean you have to read something very difficult. You can read fun books. You can read books that are interesting to you. Great. If you want cultural immersion and you want to get the context of every new thing that you learn. What could be more powerful than reading? So just start reading something. Something. If it's too hard, find something easier, that's okay. But you've got to start. 25. Connect Online: Another very important part of immersion is connection, is interaction, is conversations, is sharing your ideas, hearing other people's opinions, maybe arguing, maybe debating, maybe asking questions. All of that stuff is part of immersion on a daily basis. You want to communicate with people. That's what language is for. So how do you do that if you don't live in a native English speaking country? Well, I mentioned communities. So I think something like, something like Reddit is very good. You can join communities based on your interests. That's fantastic. There are a lot of online communities. Great, awesome. But I think what you really want is to have conversations, to share what you think, to have a live interaction. There, you might try something like meet up. Now there are others out there and these change pretty often. So who knows how long this one will be popular, but it's popular right now. Now you can actually meet people, for example, in your city who have the same interests as you. They do book clubs, events, discussions, debates, and while some of them will be in person, certainly you can always find local events and that's great. Many of them will be online to have online discussions, video chat discussions with groups of people to share your opinions. I'm in some of those book clubs, whatever it may be. And it's a really, really good way to have that interaction because you're talking about things that you enjoy. You're practicing, you're learning, you're making connections. It's really great. So I'm not saying, Oh, you must use this one. Find a way to connect with people who share your interests online. And that is a great way to have immersion. And maybe it's a book club about the book you're reading. So you're reading the book. So you have some pressure to read it because you have to talk about it this week. Then you meet some people online. You talk about the book, you share your opinions, you ask some questions, and then you remember what you read in the book even more. Well, that's pretty great. That is definitely immersion. 26. Watch and Browse: Now, what about watching and browsing? I think it's really important to have a range, to really have variety. If you only watch the same kind of thing, then you're going to miss out on a lot. So watch comedy shows, Watch historical movies, watch new movies, watch old black and white movies, or watch documentaries, watched documentary shows, watch all kinds of things. And yes, maybe spend more time watching what you enjoy most. Movies and TV shows that you enjoy most. But make sure that you do have a variety. Because what we watch, whether it's YouTube channels or TV shows or things online, or movies or documentaries is often what we reference. Did you see the latest episode of this show, or as I mentioned before, some reference to Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. And you might say, Okay, but I don't like those, okay? But they're still worth watching so that you know what people are talking about when they reference those things. Find the movies and TV shows that are most classic, iconic, most referenced and watch them. Not because who I really enjoy this, but because you want to have that shared basis of interaction, you want to be plugged in to the culture. Do it as a project. Maybe it's not your favorite thing, but still have variety and try to at least watch the most famous things, the most popular things a little bit, just so that you know what's going on and when you do make sure that you're mindful of subtitles. If when you close your eyes you understand exactly what the characters are saying or exactly what the narrator of this documentary is saying, then you don't need subtitles. So make sure to turn them off. Because when you turn them off, you're going to challenge yourself a little bit. And that's going to also allow you to develop your listening, to hear more, to focus on getting things in here rather than things in here, right? So always make sure you're challenging yourself a little bit. Doesn't have to be very difficult to fit, very difficult. Okay, maybe watch it once with subtitles. Then once you understand what's going on, turn the subtitles off and watch it again. This is a good excuse to consume things to enjoy media, right? But just make sure you're doing it the right way. Make sure you're challenging yourself a little bit here. You're listening, very important. And of course it can be a good idea to take notes, write down new words and expressions that you hear. I'm not saying you absolutely have to, but it certainly can help. What about browsing, news articles, pop culture, entertainment, things you're interested in. But again, I think it's also important to have some variety if you have no interest in the news, okay, but maybe check a few news articles and maybe don't only check one news source, check a few different news sources with slightly different views on something that's going on in the news, some topic of the day, look at different sources, read a few different things that can give you a bigger sense of what's going on. And you might be better able to then have a conversation about that. If it comes up, maybe you're reading things on Reddit or Twitter that you're interested in, which is great, but also check the trending page. What's going on. Generally, look at the main page once in a while, just so that you have a sense of what's popular right now. What are people talking about? It's hard to say exactly what is useful about that. But we're talking about jumping into the swimming pool. So I'm trying to give you a general way to jump into the swimming pool, to swim around in the right way so that you get the most benefit from it. So that you don't only learn the language, so that you're not only learning words and phrasal verbs and idioms in context, but you're also getting plugged into the culture so that you understand those references when you hear them, so that you can participate, so that you can interact. It's a very important thing to start doing, to start thinking in this way, if you're serious about becoming a real fluent English speaker. Okay, that's it for immersion. Later in the course, we'll look at some specific exercises around these things that you can do. We'll get there, but in the next lesson, we're going to be talking about input and output. So I'll see you in the next lesson. 27. How to Use What You Learn: In this lesson, we're going to focus on input and output. Now, what exactly does that mean? Well, when it comes to improving your spoken English, input and output means balancing what you learn with practice, specifically, practicing what you learn. And that may seem pretty obvious, but it's important for us to talk about exactly what that means. Just practice. Any practice. No, we have to be very clear. We have to be smart about how we practice English. So we're going to talk about why this is important. And then I will give you some ways to actually do it to make sure that you're practicing in the right way based on what you're learning. Now I'd like you to just think about this question for a second. Why do teachers assign homework? For example, you're in high school and the teacher gives a 40 minute class about something in math or whatever. And then at the end of class, they give a homework assignment. Why did they do that? Why did they not only give one, for example, one math problem as the homework assignment, why did they give 20 math problems or 30? There's a reason for that. What happens when we have a lot of input? When things are coming in, we listened to something, we watch something, somebody explains something to us. And then maybe we remember what they said. But when we have to actually use this knowledge, suddenly we feel a little bit lost. We're not quite sure how to do it. When we were in math class and we had to do 20 math problems based on what we learned in class. Then we really learned how to do it. We did something with the knowledge so that we could actually use the knowledge that we got. But when we finish school, we stopped doing homework. And most of what we learn is input only. We have a focus on input. On reading something, on watching something, on hearing something, on understanding. Yes, I understand this. Getting new knowledge. We focus on that and when we do it, we say, I have studied today, I have learned today. But we don't often have as much of a focus on creating something with what we learn. Why do teachers ask their students to make things with what they learn? I'm not going to just show you how to make a bird house wood. I'm going to show you how to make a bird house out of wood. And then I'm going to ask you to make a bird house out of wood. And when you're done making it, I want you to show it to me. So there's a little pressure there and you have to immediately apply the knowledge that you gained. We apply knowledge for some things. When we're at work, we do training on the job training. We read something, we watch a video, and then we have to go do it. It's related to our jobs, right? Okay. That's great. But often, very often when it comes to English language learning, there isn't a good balance between input and output. There's a focus on input, on getting stuff in, on reading, but not on creating a new thing, not on using the thing that you just learn, not on the output side, but input doesn't translate to better skills. When it comes to skills, you know, that it takes doing it to actually be good at doing it. If it's sports, then you have to build muscle memory as we've talked about. And we also repeat things because we want to feel more confident when we do that, we want to build confidence. But if we're not doing stuff, then it's going to be very hard to build the muscle memory. It's going to be very hard to build confidence. I don't only mean for speaking English, I really mean all areas of English. For anything that you're learning, make sure that there is a balanced output. I have so many students ask me this question. They say, when I'm around native English speakers or even non native English speakers. And I want to say what I think. I get tongue tied. I can't find my words. What is going on? Can you help me? Why am I not better at this? I learned words every day And I then asked them, do you practice that a lot? Do you practice speaking every day even if it's by yourself? Do you, when you're watching a video or listening to something, practice shadowing once in a while where you repeat exactly what the other person said. Do you keep a diary? Do you write things down in a diary and practice using English every day? The answer to these kinds of questions that I ask is usually no. But I study every day. I learn new grammar rules every day from my grammar book. Okay? Now how can you expect? Be good at any of these things if you've only done the input and not the output. And by the way, by output, I don't just mean in a grammar book, filling in the blank. That's not real output. Output is, you learn a grammar rule. You learn how it's used in a real sentence. And you write down five different sentences using that grammar rule. And then you can say now I'm starting to get it. Now I think I see That's how you learn the output balances the input, and that's difficult. We don't do it because we don't want to. But just like when you were in school, you get used to it. If you do it enough, you have to get into the habit of balancing input with output. So make this commitment to yourself. Whatever you do, input should have an output that makes it stick. So you're reading a novel and you see a sentence that has some really interesting grammar and you notice it. You underline it, you say, well, what's this? What's this? You see the, if I were and then I would this structure, grammatical structure, very common, right? Maybe you know this, but this is just an example. Oh, yes, I wanted to learn this for a long time. Now I see a real sentence in the novel I'm reading great. Now I will remember it, and I will remember it. I got it. I memorized it. Are you going to be able to use that next time you're in a conversation? No, No, probably not. So what should you do now? Balance input with output. Now that you've got it and you've seen it, and there it is in a sentence. Make five sentences. If you want to get crazy, make ten sentences. Repeat it. Imagine you're a student in school, give yourself a bit of a homework assignment. Work hard to create something with it so that it sticks. Sticks means that when you need it, it's there, doesn't disappear when you're in a tough situation and you need to express yourself. So this is just an example to help you see the idea, but I want you to do this for everything you learn when it comes to your English. Learn a new, learn a new phrase. Write down a few sentences, practice it, balance it, that's great. Maybe you learn a writing tip from a video. You'll watch a YouTube video or a video somewhere on the internet and you see a tip, just a tip, not even a rule. It's just a tip for writing. Okay. Use that tip a few times. Actually use it. Keep a diary. Write a summary of what you're reading, give yourself a little writing challenge and tried to use that tip. Don't just try to remember it. Actually use it right away. Soon as you learn it. Use it, try it out. Somebody explain something to you about pronunciation, something that you're not really comfortable with, something you've wanted to learn. Oily, moist, moist, moist. Okay. All right. I've got it, the pronunciation now I'm going to repeat it 40 times in front of the mirror. Moist, moist, moist, moist. I'm going to create something with it. I'm going to record myself saying this word 40 times until it starts to stick muscle memory. And then as I get muscle memory for these things that I'm learning, I gain confidence. And the more comfortable I feel, the more I'm able to use what I know and what I've practiced. This is not just because you're learning English. I do the same thing when I'm reading a book. When I finish a chapter of a book, I will either write a summary of the main ideas of the chapter or I will record myself giving a summary like a little speech that I've made about my main points that I'm taking away from this chapter. And it's very useful. It helps me to later when I need it, have a conversation about that thing that I remember from that book. It's a very, very powerful thing. So if you always balance your input and your output, I guarantee that you're going to make progress more quickly. That's it for this lesson. Pretty simple. If you have any questions, let me know and I will see you in the next one. 28. How to Evaluate Your Learning Style: When it comes to learning, we're all individuals. What works for one person may not work well for another. Your study style may not work well for me in my study style may not work well for you. So we have to be aware of what works best for us. We have to know ourselves, we have to get to know how we best learn so that when we're building out a plan, we can build out a plan that is going to allow us to study smart and study hard, to practice smart and to practice hard, not just practice randomly, right? If you're doing it the wrong way in a way that doesn't fit you are doesn't work for you. You may be wasting your time. And I believe it's very important for you to really get to know yourself. There's this very interesting rule. I really like it. It's called the 80, 20 principle. And it really means that for anything you might be talking about, maybe the economy or maybe the productivity of a company, or the things that you do that have results. For example, with your English language learning studies, the main results that you get come from a very small amount of the input, maybe around 20 percent. And most of what you do is wasted. You put a lot of time and energy into activities that are really not benefiting you that much. But then you have one thought, one new idea, one shift in attitude that has a huge consequence. That really changes things and that only took 1 second to change your mind about something. This is the idea of 820. And it's a way to think and a way to see what you do. To be able to work smarter, to be able to become more efficient and not waste time, not waste energy. And that's really what this course is about. That's the main purpose of the course to help you to 80, 20 your English language learning. So what I'd like to do is go through a series of questions that you can ask yourself to make sure that you're finding the right way to do things based on your answers to the questions. Then you can think about a study, plan, an activity, and output. A way to learn something that you might do, which can be a little bit more efficient than maybe what you have been doing just because you heard someone else doing it that way, you did it that way. I don't want you to waste your time. So let's get to know ourselves a little bit and go through these questions. 29. Solo vs. Group Practice: Are you better able to focus and learn alone or with someone else? And someone else does not have to be a native English speaking teacher. If you have that chance, great. But it could just be a steady partner. Now what's the value of a study partner? A steady partner is someone who can hold you accountable to push you, to push you, give you a little bit of pressure so that you feel yeah, I guess I guess I better do this thing we agreed to do because I know my study partners doing the same thing and I don't want to let them down. And it's like a gym buddy. So that might be a useful reason to have a study partner as well. Study partner can be very useful for giving feedback. Maybe they can notice things that you're not able to notice. And perhaps you can notice things that they're doing that they can't notice and help each other. This is, this is great, but maybe it's not the best way for you. Maybe you're really efficient when you learn by yourself. Maybe you're really self-aware. Maybe you're able to notice a lot of things on your own. Maybe you work best in focus best when you don't have other people around, you. Ask yourself this question and then based on that, think about what to do next. If you do not have a study partner and you feel like you should, because you actually in school have always done better when you had a group, then you need to find one, work on that. But if you're really good at working alone, if you've always done that well, maybe it's not necessary for you. You can try it, but maybe it's not trying to build a plan and give yourself activities to do by yourself because you're a very discipline and focus person. Great. 30. Structure or Freestyle: Do you do better with structure or are you a freestyle person? Now some people feel like they need a schedule and maybe they feel like they need checklists. Anyway, very organized. They have to always organize everything, plan everything ahead of time, write everything down, document everything. Some people, when they do things in that way are very efficient. They do things better when they're very organized and have a lot of structure. But some people, when they have too much structure, they feel bored, overwhelmed. The structure distracts them from actually doing what they want to do. And in that case, maybe having a lot of structure is not the best thing. Maybe doing what I feel like doing right now, I'm going to go watch a movie because that's what I want to do. And I'm going to write down some things when I do that, or I'm going to spend 30 minutes reading because that's what I decided I wanted to do. So it's more freestyle. So think about which one is best for you and then come up with activities or do things generally that fit your style structure or not so much structure. I like to have a little bit of structure, but not too much. I like to have a checklist so that I know what I need to do, but I don't want the checklist to tell me when I should do it exactly. And I don't want the checklist to tell me which thing is most important. I want to figure that out on my own based on my intuition and that works best for me. So it's kind of a mix of these two. And that's okay. But you should at least think about these two because, for example, if you have a very strict schedule because you think you should, but that's preventing you from enjoying the process of learning. And you always give up and stop doing it because you feel schedule and all of this stuff. Then maybe it's time to change. Maybe you need to adjust it a little bit. 31. Building Structures: Do you struggle to put sentences together grammatically? Is that something that's difficult for you? Some people, and maybe they struggle with vocabulary, maybe they struggle with pronunciation, but they're really good at just organizing a sentence. Is this hard for you? Do you struggle with not the rules of grammar, but just how to use grammar. Maybe you forget to use the past tense when you should use it. Or maybe the order of adjectives, or maybe which form of a word to use noun or adjective or a verb. You're not sure about the different forms and it's just tough generally for you to put together the whole sentence. And when you do you feel kind of uncomfortable and not very confident? Well, if that's something you struggle with, then make sure you spend time regularly on that. That doesn't mean go out and buy a grammar book. Maybe that means sitting down with a novel, sitting down with a non-fiction book and writing out three or four sentences that you think are a little bit tough from that novel, from that nonfiction book. And then try to do two or three variations of each sentence to variation, that means a different way to write the same thing. Or if you want to study that specific grammar, you could take that sentence and then put in other verbs, put in other nouns, replace them, and see if it still works as a whole sentence. That's a good way to practice using grammar without learning boring grammar rules. It's not always a good idea to learn grammar from a grammar book and can be quite boring. It can play with it. If you have a sense of play, it might be more fun and it might be a little bit easier to learn that grammar. If you don't struggle with this, then don't say to yourself, I have to learn grammar. Maybe you don't have to learn grammar. There are some people who say to themselves, I need to learn more words. I need to learn more words. But do you need to learn more words? A lot of people have learned enough words. And you just want to learn the words because you're used to learning words and you think if you learn words, you're really getting things done. I learned a 100 words, is it? It's a lot of words to learn in one day. What are you doing that? Because that's the only thing that you know how to do. And you actually should be focusing on your grammar. Or you actually should be focusing on your pronunciation. Or you actually should be focusing on your writing skills or your presentation skills. What this really means is don't focus on things just because you think you should focus on them because they're actually issues. There are actually things you need to work on. And if it's not something you need to work on, make that lower in your list of priorities. If that's grammar and maybe don't work on grammar right now, focus on the things that are really tough for you. And that's where you need a lot of self-awareness to be honest with yourself, to know what your main issues are. 32. Listening and Remembering: Do you understand what you read but struggled to understand what you hear. Now, this is something we've already talked about, so we don't really need to spend time on this, but it is a very important question to ask yourself. What should you do if you understand everything in the book? But you can't understand the same thing. By listening. You need to work on your listening skills. You need to bring that up to the same level because there's no excuse to not. We've talked about that a lot, so we won't focus on this question more, but it's a good question to ask yourself. Do you have trouble remembering words and phrases when you're speaking? Now for this one, you have to decide if it's an issue with memory or if it's an issue with confidence or nerves. If you're by yourself and you're just writing, for example, or just thinking to yourself, or speaking to yourself quietly or standing in front of the mirror. And it's no problem for you to remember words that you've learned. Then you know, it's probably a matter of confidence or it's a matter of getting used to speaking in front of others, which is more about that sense of nervousness, a feeling that there are other people always judging you. We've talked about that a little bit too. Well then don't go the wrong direction and say, oh, I need to have a different way of studying words so that I can remember them better. Well, that's probably not the issue when you're sitting by yourself. You remember them just fine. So it's not about how you're remembering them. So you don't have the muscle memory or the confidence when you're talking with someone. And there's something else that's blocking it, which is the nervousness, the lack of confidence. So you just need to practice speaking out in public more or with others more or having more conversations. And then gradually the words that you know will come more easily to you. But if you have trouble remembering words, no matter what the situation is, whether you're writing or sitting by yourself and it's not a problem with nerves or nervousness. Well then you may need to find another way to remember. We'll talk about other ways to remember things later in the course, some specific ways. There are many different ways. If you're using the flashcard method, which can be good for memorization, maybe try something else. Maybe that way doesn't work for you. Find a way though that allows you to not only know the word and know what it means, but also know how to use it. Because if you're learning words and you remember the word but you don't know how to use it? I would say that, No, you don't actually know the word. Because unless you can use a word, do you really know it? I don't think so. And so that's the next question. If the answer to this one is yes and yes in all cases, then go to this one. Do you struggle to remember words in general? Yes, I do. So now it's time to explore different ways, right down your current process of learning a word. And you know that it doesn't work very well for you. So then cross it out and then find three to four other ways that people use to learn new words. Again, we'll go over some later on. Ask your friends, ask people, you know, do some research online and try them out and see which ones work best ways to do things. It's like technology. It's like buying a new tool. Don't just assume that the way you do something now is the best way to do it. It may be the worst way that's possible. And only when you start to really study each thing and ask yourself, is there a better way? Will you begin to explore this whole new landscape of more efficient learning, which is what you want, better learning, more efficient learning. So the time you spend is very impactful. 33. Pronunciation: Do you struggle to make specific word sounds? Is it difficult for you to make the oil sound? Is it hard for you to make the sound as it difficult for you to say The maybe shush sound or the OL sound? Is it difficult for you to say the Nanyang on sound, the I-N-G or the Ang, Ang or the UNGA sound, which sounds are difficult, right? Those sounds down, write them down, and then build activities around those sounds. Make sure that you know the correct pronunciation, makes you learn the correct pronunciation and then repeat many times those sounds. Maybe you build little sentences that have words that include those tough sounds for you. Then you take those little sentences and you read them many times and you record yourself saying them or you say them in front of the mirror. And you work on them and make sure that you've got it right. Make sure it's correct. Because the dangerous, if you are saying the wrong sound, then you're building a bad habit. So once you've really got it and mastered it, do it many, many times so that you master the sound and can build the good habit. That's very important. And I know this is very obvious, but most learners aren't doing it. You have to write down exactly where the problems are and then you can start to deal with them and work on them one by one. So let me know if you have any questions about these questions. Good luck answering these yourself. I hope they help you get to a more efficient way to study and 820 way of studying and practicing English. And I will see you in the next lesson. 34. Learning Grammar Through Context: Now we're getting very close to the part in this course where we focus on specific exercises, but we still have a couple more things to talk about. First. First, we learn the right ways, the right methods, and then we get into the specific things that we can do, actual, actual practice. Now, in this lesson, I want to talk about grammar. We'll talk about a few issues with how most English learners learn grammar. And then we'll talk about how you should learn grammar. Usually you learn grammar by rule, and you learn grammar by name AND rule and name. And these things are usually learned in some sort of grammar book, which focuses on the rule and the name. Now, what is the rule? What is the name? Well, the simplest rule that I can think of would be if you have a verb and you place it in the past tense, then you add an ED to it. But that's not always true for verbs. So then we would explore some rules. When we would say instead of run, we would say Run and we would change that to rent. We might learn some rules and we might learn the names of those rules. We might learn that, Oh, there are some that are called regular verbs and some that are called irregular verbs. Now, this is not the best way to learn grammar. It's not terrible, it's not the worst thing in the world, but often it doesn't allow you to actually use what you're learning. Grammar is how we stick words together in a sentence and how those words change. What do we add in what we take away? The sort of rules that we use to stick words together in a sentence. That's basically what grammar is. But do we need to focus on the fact that one of these is called an irregular verb. Do we have to focus on that? And then the teacher says, tell me what an irregular verb is. Isn't that just distracting you from the grammar itself and adding something else that you have to learn. Oh, I also need to know what this is called and then you have a bunch of exceptions to think about. Where you learn a rule and you learn what it's called. And then the teacher says, or the book says, oh, and by the way, it doesn't work here and it doesn't work there and it doesn't work there and it doesn't work there, but it works 73% of the time. Okay. And you say, I'm the one that's learning like this, but native English speakers don't learn like this. So why am I learning it in a different way when I want it to become more like a native English speaker in the way that I use English. What is wrong here? At many things are wrong here. And besides all of that, it's kind of boring. Learning English this way is honestly pretty boring. It's not that interesting to memorize rules, memorize names, and then memorize a bunch of exceptions and then wonder, okay, how do I actually use this in my daily life? So of course, there are a lot of issues here. Now. You may not believe me, you may be thinking, Oh, native English speakers, of course, they know about adverbs and prepositions, and prepositional phrases and irregular verbs. They must know about all this stuff, right? Well, I think you'd be surprised to see and find out how many native English speakers don't know the names of these things and couldn't describe the rule. If you ask them to, they know how to do it. They speak correctly, they can write correctly. But if you ask most native English speakers, even a simple one like, what's a preposition? Give me an example of a preposition. Most of them will not know, some of them will, but most of them will not. And I know this for a fact because one time I went out to Time Square, which is in New York City where I live with a camera. And I asked people on the street in Time Square, Do you know what a preposition is? Out of the five or six people that I asked on the street what a preposition was. Only one person actually knew and the others, I said, what's a preposition? They just looked at me in a confused way. But then when I gave them a couple of examples, I said by 4 from then they could give me more oh, that thing, whatever that is. Yeah, I know that thing. So they know the thing, they can use the thing, but they couldn't describe the rule and they can't give you the name. So what should you focus on? Well, I say you should focus on the thing, but how do you focus on the thing? Do that by studying or looking at or finding patterns. Patterns. You look at whole sentences. And if it helps you to know what it's called, great, learn what it's called. I'm not telling you to never learn what something is called. Fine. It can help you when you're asking questions or making notes. Okay, that's fine. But my point is focus not on that, not on the name, not on the rule. Focus on the pattern. How does it work in a sentence? How does it usually go? And maybe there are a couple of different patterns, very similar. And I learn those and I don't obsess over, this is the rule. I just learn it. I get a feeling for it. I make my own examples. And this is a more natural process. I do it by seeing and practicing examples just like a native English speaker. So I could tell you that a relative clause is a dependent clause that usually adds information to a specific thing, usually a noun in an independent clause and uses a relative pronoun to connect the thing in the independent clause to the dependent clause. I could tell you that that's what that is. But does that really help you? And if you didn't understand all of that, That's kind of the point. Who really cares about the explanation? Let's try instead to learn by example, to learn by pattern, to see if we can get it without naming it. To see if we can get it just by seeing the example and making a similar example of our own. Now we're going to do this even if you know it. So let's just imagine you don't know it. Because the point of this is for me to show you how you should be learning grammar. I'm not actually trying to teach you this grammar, especially if you already know it. That's not the main point. This is the way that you should do it. 35. Grammar Patterns in Practice: So let's look at this first sentence here. Sharon recently bought a house in Wisconsin, which gets a lot of snow in the winter. So the first thing I'll do is just see what I can notice. I'll try to notice things. Okay, look, there are two pieces here. This piece seems to be a detail or information about this thing that comes at the end of the other piece. Interesting, Okay, and I'm noticing here that when it's attached to this thing at the end, there's a comma. Alright, That's interesting. Got a comma. There are two pieces. Now which gets a lot of snow in the winter. I'm going to notice that that's a full sentence. Could I just write that by itself, which gets a lot of snow in the winter? No, not by itself, but I could say Wisconsin gets a lot of snow in the winter and that would be full sentence. Okay, So it's not by itself after the comma, a whole sentence. Sharon recently bought a house in Wisconsin. Hm. Is that a sentence by itself? Could I just end the sentence there? Yes, absolutely. Okay. Maybe that's the thing. Before that I called an independent clause, but don't, don't worry about that too much. So we make a sentence. And then the last thing in the sentence is the thing we want to say some more about in this sentence. It's Wisconsin. And then we say more about that thing. We could probably say anything about that thing that we want, in this case, more snow. And we're connecting that thing with one of these things. Now, this is called a relative pronoun, but we notice that this is a thing, not a person. So we're using which here, we're using which, okay? So we have the pieces here. Now if we wanted to do our own, we might say, we might do a very simple example just to make it as simple as possible. I bought this watch in and let's just do another place in Cleveland. And we're going to add some more details. And so it's a thing, it's a place. So we'll say which and then what do we want to say? I don't know anything which is near my home or near my hometown. I bought this watch in Cleveland, comma, which is near my home. Have I got basically the same grammar? Yeah. Yeah. All right. So we've learned and we don't have to worry about what everything is called or what the rule is. We just look at the pattern. We try to notice a few things and we tried to do something similar. Now we have to be careful because this might not be this all the time. So let's look at another example. This is what we do, play with it. Make a few of your own examples. Then when you need to use it in a conversation or an email or whatever, you can do it easily. Mike started screaming at Ian, who had no idea what was going on. Okay, so the first thing we have to ask ourselves is, is this the same kind of thing? Who had no idea what was going on? Is that a sentence by itself? It needs more. It's not about anything. But we could say Ian had no idea what was going on and that would be a full sentence. Okay, interesting thing to notice, Mike started screaming at EON, is that a sentence by itself? Remember, this one is a sentence by itself, is this one. Mike started screaming at Ian. Yes. Who? Okay. Very interesting. Now, are we using the same word to connect these two pieces together? Of course, we do have the comma here. Are we using the same thing? No, we're using who now? Why would we be using who? Wisconsin is a place, it's a thing, it's a witch. So we're using which This E, and that's a person's name. This is a person. So we're using h2, so it's the same kind of thing. And now we're noticing that the difference is when we have a person, then we get h2. Which, who, those are the two we use after the comma. If we use a comma, there's another type that we could look at. We're just learning how to learn grammar so we can't look at every possible example, but we'll just, we'll just learn this basic structure. So now that we've noticed these things, maybe we can make another really, really simple one on our own. I just met Deborah. Okay, I'm gonna do a comma there and I'm going to do who? Now I can say something about Deborah. Now what could I say? That's really, really simple. Who teaches at my daughter's middle school? Dot that simple. Yeah, I can make it more simple. I just meant Deborah, who teaches at my daughter's middle school. All right, fair enough. So now we have a basic idea, basic understanding. Now we can say that we know this grammar and practice it 20 more times, 10 more times. Make examples for each one. And not have to stress about remembering what it's called or stress about the rule we learned by pattern. We learned with example sentences, we make our own sentences and that is really the way to do it. And still another reason why reading is great, because when you're reading, you're always going to be discovering new kinds of sentences, new patterns. This is interesting, That's interesting. Write them down and practice them on your own. Books are a fantastic way to learn grammar, and you don't have to stress out, bore yourself to death. Learning from grammar, books, learned by practice, learn by discovery. Play with language. Be playful and it won't be nearly as boring. And you'll be able to start using these things in your daily life because you have the habit of practicing it. Many times. It's pretty easy. And also another thing which is very important, your syntax. Your syntax will improve. What is your syntax? This is how you use sentences, different types of sentences, different structures of sentences, different patterns, lengths. And usually we say that if your syntax is better, if you use many more different kinds of sentences to express yourself. You're writing tends to be better. And you couldn't say that you're speaking tends to be better and more interesting as well. So get started with this. Start discovering grammar and start playing with grammar. Look at it in a different way than you've seen it before, and maybe throw your English grammar books into the ocean. Well, you can if you want to, because now you have a better way to learn. 36. Master Awareness: In this section of the course, we're going to be focused on practical exercises, things that you can do to improve, to achieve your goals, to become more confident, to become more fluent, to make fewer mistakes, to feel better about your English, to get better at English, especially spoken English. And we're going to start in this lesson with self-awareness. We talked about self-awareness earlier in the course, and I mentioned that you can record yourself. I talked about a few things you can do, but I want to give you a specific exercise, go through it step by step. So you're very clear on what you can do right after this lesson if you like. Now there are plenty of variations to this, plenty of different ways to do it. And I'm going to give you one that's kind of in the middle. Not too much to prepare, but still very useful and a great way to start to give yourself feedback so that you can build your self-awareness. And if you want to, you can bring someone else in. For example, if you have a study partner or a speaking partner to help you practice. So let's go through this step-by-step. This is a speaking exercise. It's an exercise where you have to actually speak and one where you can develop your awareness because you have to listen to yourself. The first thing you do is come up with any topic. Now, some topics are better than others. If you choose an object that might be a little difficult. For example, if you say bottle, bottle, and it might be a little bit difficult to talk about that. Now I think one word is great, but it might be something a little bit broader and a little bit more about life and relationships. Things you do, things you think about rather than an object. You can try and object if you like. But I think it's just easier to choose something like career. That's just the example that I chose. Now, you're going to talk about this word. But you could go in any direction you like. You might think about your own career. You might speak more generally about trends in careers these days. You might talk about how people's careers develop or someone else's career that you know about. There isn't a clear rule about what you have to talk about. So that's going to force you in the same way that a conversation would force you to think of things in the moment. To be able to express yourself right now about something. Now it's very important for this exercise that you don't, don't build an outline. An outline would be for something else. If you're practicing presentations, then outlines are fine. Job interviews. Good outlines, great. But for this exercise, don't plan what you're going to say. I want it to be spontaneous because that's the feeling that you get when you're in a conversation, when you're having a conversation with someone, you don't know what they're going to say. And because you don't know what they're going to say, you can't make an outline. So if you give yourself a very simple topic or word to talk about, in the same way, you don't know what you're going to say exactly until you start. And then you'll find threads. Threads are little ideas that you can grab onto and follow along with. And as you grab them, then you can sort of go along that road and then maybe you find something else that you can talk about. And if it's very hard for you at first, that's okay. Don't give up. You'll get better at it over time. You'll get used to it. You'll get the feeling for it. So choose something simple if you want to start with mine, That's okay. But then do something different every time. Then before you start say this little mantra to yourself. This is a little thought I want you to have because it's very important. And by the way, I do this as well. Before I'm going to record something, before I'm going to film a video for YouTube or do a live stream, which I do. I always do a little mantra for myself. This is how I improve my speaking as well. This exercise that I'm giving you is a version of exactly what I do to improve my ability to talk, For example, in front of a camera about things. So the mantra is the little thing that you tell yourself right before you start to remind yourself what to do. I will speak slowly. I will listen to myself. I will correct mistakes as I go. Say it again. I will speak slowly. I will listen to myself. I will correct mistakes as I go. Now, why you already know why we talked about that earlier in the course. The reasons you need to do these things so that you can build the good habits, develop the awareness, right? And if you're correcting yourself, those habits gets stronger and stronger, then find some way to record. Now, everybody has a different way. Some people like to use the old-school tape recorders, even I've seen those around. I don't know why, but You can use that any sort of recorder. You can use a phone, you can use your computer. There are some pretty cool services out there that can transcribe what you say as you speak. So that you have a recording, a sound recording, and a transcription that you can read. And you can see if it doesn't quite get what you said perfectly. Maybe you didn't say it clearly enough. So that can be another way to work on your awareness and maybe work on your pronunciation. You don't have to have this, but it can be an interesting thing to sort of add on to have the transcription just make sure you have some kind of recording. Now some people like to do it with video so that they can see faces, see their mouths. If you'd like to try that, That's great. I would encourage you to record a video of yourself. Look into the camera like I'm doing right now. Imagine you're talking with someone. Use your imagination to help you not hurt you. If you imagine that there's someone else sitting on the other side of the lens of the camera, then it does feel like talking to someone or I do feel that I'm talking to you, even though I may not know who you are, somehow, I feel like there's a person over there, right? And when I imagine that it helps me to put my thoughts together, it helps me explain things, and it helps me to feel a little bit more, more comfortable, like there's a connection there. So record yourself longer than a minute, shorter than two minutes. So you don't want to speak for 10 seconds and you don't have really much to work with, but you don't want to speak for five minutes because if it's five minutes, then it's this big project that you have to do. This long thing I need to do, I have to go back and check the whole thing. It'll take me an hour. Right. So it has to be the right length. Between a minute and 20 minutes is fine. There's enough to work with between a minute and two minutes and not too long so that you give up eventually, this should be something that you can complete in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes if you take longer than it's easy to say, well, not today. And if it's too short, then it's easy to say. I don't really know what I'm correcting. There isn't much here because I didn't really talk that much. So find the balance, that's the key thing. Then go back and listen to it. Now, remember, we have to bring something outside of ourselves in order to make it objective, right? We talked about that. We want to make it more objective. If you're listening to a recording or watching a video and I know you feel I don't like my voice, I don't like how they look on camera. You'll get used to it. You'll get used to it. Just keep doing it. It's okay. You will get used to it. Everybody says that. So you listen to it, you listen back and you give feedback like you are giving feedback to someone else, not to yourself. And that's the key in doing this because it's outside of yourself, because it's objective. Then you're able to be a little bit more honest. And then you'll notice those things that you can then bring back to yourself. So it's like putting it outside yourself and saying This could be improved, that could be improved. Tense issue their pronunciation issue, their grammar issue there, and then, but that's me. So you bring it back into yourself and when you're speaking the next time, you hear it. Oh, I just did that thing that I remember listening to when I heard my recording. So I make a correction as I go. And this is a constant cycle that repeats and repeats and repeats. That doesn't mean you have to do it again and again on the same day, but you might try the same word the next day. Maybe and see if you can do better or maybe you want to change it up. That's okay. That doesn't matter so much, but listen for those issues that you've given yourself feedback about and write those down, right? The feedback down, the process of writing down something makes it real. If you just say to yourself in your mind, I could have been a little bit better with the ING. I should have used ING and I use the regular simple tense instead. Oops. All right, You say it to yourself. It's not as good as writing it down. Writing it down makes it real. And you can think about it afterward. You have something clear. This is an issue I need to work on on a piece of paper. Now if you haven't speaking partner, you can send it to them. Maybe you have an agreement every Tuesday and Saturday, we do some practice and I choose the word this time and you choose the word next time. And then we both do the same thing. And I send you my video and you send me your video or audio or whatever. And then we both do feedback for each other, noticing someone else's issues and where they need to improve can also help you improve. You can notice things more so it's actually a great exercise. Then if you try it again, if you repeat the exercise right after, you can send it to them and say, Is it better? Did I do the same thing? Did I improve in any area? You can ask for more feedback and you can give more feedback. Now if you're not doing it with a friend, that's okay. If you're doing it by yourself, It's okay. But you can repeat the exercise right after, do the same word and see if you can improve those issues. Always remember as you're speaking to stop, it's okay to pause. You don't have to constantly speak. You can pause. And then you can continue with the correct thing. When you notice something, that is how you're going to build those habits. So do this exercise, do it often, keep up the habit? Make it something that's interesting to you, something that's fun. Share it with someone so that you have some accountability. We'll talk about that a bit more later. But that can be really, really useful. If not, it's okay, but keep yourself accountable. Do this often and you will absolutely improve. You're going to start to build confidence. You're going to start to build good habits. You're going to become more self-aware and you're going to become a better English speaker. 37. Steps for Learning in Context: We've talked already in this course a few times about learning words in context. So you should understand already why that's so important to learn in the situation, to learn in the sentence and see how it's used so that you can actually use it yourself. But I want to give you a clear step-by-step way to do this with an example. So like we did last time, let's go over a specific step-by-step process with a real word so that you can see the whole thing. So that you can take this and start using it. Whenever you need to learn a new word. Whenever you need to learn an idiom, whenever you need to learn a phrasal verb. Alright, so let's first discover our new word we're going to encounter or come across a word we don't know. Now imagine, imagine you don't know this word, even if you know it. This is the process that we're learning here. So this is our, this is our new word. Just imagine it's a strange one, even if you know it. Why would I work on this over the weekend? There is no incentive for me to do that. Okay. So what we should do first, find word. All right, What is the word I'm learning? Here it is, Here it is. Now, look at the word in the context and try to see if you can guess what it means just by looking at it. Hmm, Okay. Why would I do this? That means I'm not planning to write. Why would I why would I means I don't want to, I won't. So there's some emotion there. There is no incentive. Something No, for me to do that. I'm talking about something I won't do. Okay? So this is going to be related to actions, things like that. Now maybe we can just guess it. When you get really good at this, you might be able to, when you're reading or listening to people talk in a movie, just guess what it means and keep going and not have to look it up. And that's great, but it can also help to look it up and really learn it more seriously so that you don't just understand, so that you can actually use it, right? So we're going to try to find incentive. Now, found the word. Now we're going to search the word. We're going to search it in a dictionary. We're going to search it in an all English Dictionary. Which one? Well, it really depends on which one you like. My favorite dictionary right now is the free dictionary. And the reason it's my favorite is that it has the audio of words. You can listen to it. You can also, when you search a word, find lots of synonyms. Or you can search words by beginnings. You can say BRI, how many words start with BRI? So it's a great exploration tool. It also has wonderful examples for the words. One of the problems with a lot of dictionaries is that the definition may make you feel more confused and then there are no examples. So how am I supposed to understand this word? So I like the free dictionary because generally the definitions are clear. And very importantly the example sentences are the examples below tend to be pretty good and it's one of the few places where you can actually find the definitions of idioms. You can search idioms, common phrases. You can search phrasal verbs, which is really amazing. There are so few places where you can find idiom definitions and that is, that is one of them. It's a fantastic tool. So we're on the search word stage. We searched the word incentive and we read the definition. This is not my definition. This is the definition. Something such as the fear of punishment or the expectation of reward that induces action or motivates effort. And if we don't know induces, it doesn't really matter because we might know motivate or motivate. I know motivate, motivates effort. So that's helpful to have an, or if we don't know one of them induces action, we might know the other motivates effort. So that's good. I think I understand the idea and that does fit in with my understanding. Now in this process, always go back to the original so we read the meaning. We've read the definition. Once we've got the basic definition, okay, I think I understand that. Go back, study this. Does it make sense? There is no incentive. There is no motivation that makes me want to do something for me to do that. Yeah. That makes sense. All right. Induces action, pushes me to do something, makes me act. No thing that makes me act for me to do that. Yeah, this is this is good. So I understand it. Now this one looks like it might be some kind of reward. Like you're paying me extra money during the weekend to work, you're paying me triple. So yell work over the weekend, Of course, no problem. To make more money. But now we know from the definition, now we know that it may also be punishment. If I don't work over the weekend, I'll be fired. Oh, okay. Okay. I'll do it. Don't don't fire me, please. So even if we can guess it just from the context, it's still a good idea to look it up just because we might discover something new. We might discover something that this context didn't tell us. Oh, punishment or the expectation of reward. All right, That helps me get a broader understanding of this. But now very important you have to read the examples. So you're always going back to the original, the place where you found it. Now if it's a movie that's a little harder to do, but maybe just remember what they were talking about. And that's okay. Read the example sentences because that gives you an even broader understanding, a larger understanding of the usage. Remember when we were learning words, usage is key. So next step, read examples. They have no incentive to get a job. They have no incentive to get a job. What would that mean exactly? Okay, maybe if they were homeless, they would have an incentive. Maybe if they were hungry and they had no food, they would have an incentive. But why, why did they not have an incentive? Well, maybe this is a kid who's 21 and his dad and mom give him all the money in the world. He has no reason to get a job because he never lacks for anything. Maybe they're bringing up this issue to him. You never get a job. Well, I have no incentive to get a job. Oh, okay. No more money for you. Go get a job. Now he has an incentive. He wants to hang out with his friends. He wants to eat, it, wants to take his girlfriend out. Now he has an incentive, alright, and incentive to work harder, and incentive to work harder. So we can replace that with what word maybe a reason, a reason to work harder, motivation to work harder. All right, That's good. Now, does that have to be money? Well, this doesn't say anything about money here, so I guess not. It could be punishment, of course, but what might a positive incentive B. Maybe if I work harder than people will see that I'm excellent and I can get promotions. Maybe I become a leader or maybe the people in my team just respect me more. So it could be something that's very concrete or clear like money. But it could also be something like respect. I want respect. I want to feel good about my work. I have a sense of integrity and if I don't work hard, then I feel bad about myself and I feel depressed. So my incentive is just that I don't want to feel bad about myself, okay? So that means it doesn't have to come from the outside. Can also come from the insight, something inside me. All right, very good. There's little incentive to adopt such measures. Measures are things that we do, actions that we might take, perhaps rules that we would put in place. There is little incentive. Again, we could replace that probably with reason, little reason. Or perhaps motivation and incentive scheme. Now we're seeing it used slightly differently. There is little incentive. This is a, what? This is a noun. And incentive after end, that also has to be a noun. I have no incentive that must also be a noun. So we're getting a lot of nouns, but now we're seeing it being used as what? Well, this scheme is a sort of like a plan or maybe a system, something like that. If this is the noun, that means this is being used as an adjective. So an incentive scheme and incentive plan and incentive system. Alright, we can use it as an adjective and it doesn't change form. So this is giving us a pretty good picture, a pretty good sense for how we can use the word incentive. We read the definition, we discovered it in the right context. Now I think I'm confident enough to try to use it. Last step, right? Examples. Now, how many examples do you want to write? I don't know, 345. If you want to get crazy 10, I'm not going to tell you exactly how many you have to write. It depends on your time. It depends on how well you understand things, but I think one example is probably not enough. And 50 is pretty crazy. So let's make an example here. I have, I have, I'm just making my own example. I have an incentive to learn English. If I do, I can. That's a comma, not a period. If I do comma, I can get a better job. All right. That's a j. I have an incentive to learn English. If I do, I can get a better job. If I do, what if I learn English? If I do learn English, I can get a better job. That's my incentive. Okay, so that's a sentence and I could do 3456789 more, and that's what you should do. I'm not saying you should do it with the word incentive. Maybe you already know the word incentive, but this is the right way. These are the right steps and always be referring back to the original context. Always bring yourself back to the original place where you found it, because that's going to help you find a grounding to help you route what you've learned in the context. And that's going to help you then when you want to use it, use it naturally. 38. Using Voice Assistants to Learn: Now some of you may want to do this in a more conversational way by speaking. And I understand that sitting down writing things on paper, it can be boring. Now I'm not saying that's bad. I think that's great. But if you really want to do it in a spoken way, in a conversational way by yourself. There is a way to do it and it's always getting better and better. Speaking, assistance, voice assistance. These are becoming much more popular and each year they're getting better and better. Now they're, they're okay. They're fine. You can't really have a natural conversation. But I'm sure in the next five to ten years, it'll be like talking to a real person completely, which will be by the way, a great way to practice your English, of course, but you can do this now for what we just did in writing. If you have a voice assistant, whatever it is, ask it to define the words that you want to know. So you're learning something, you're reading something, and instead of going to a website or the dictionary to look it up, just ask and then listen to the answer. And then very importantly ask something like, could you give me that word? Could you give me the word, for example, incentive in a sentence? Or could you use incentive in a sentence? And sometimes the assistant will even recommend a sentence that you can listen to, hear the context. So it may not be as in-depth, but it is a quick and kind of fun conversational way to get the meaning of words, to understand words better. I actually use that function very often and it's a cool way to practice your pronunciation as well, because if you don't say the word correctly, they might not understand. So how about we give this a try? Hey, Google. What does the word incentive mean? Incentive is used as a noun to mean a thing that motivates or encourages, wanted to do something similarly to inducement and motivation. Do you want to hear incentive used in a sentence? Yeah. Here's an example of incentive being used in a sentence. There is no incentive for customers to conserve water. Do you want to hear how incentive is? Spell. No thanks. So you can see that's it. I mean, that's pretty simple. My assistant asked me if I wanted to hear incentive in a sentence and I just said yeah, So that's great. But if my assistant didn't ask that, I could ask the question. And you can explore language this way. I'm not saying it's better than looking it up in a dictionary, I'm just providing you another way to do it, which might be more fun and maybe more interesting, especially if you're in a hurry or you're not in the mood to write things down and look things up. It can still be a good way to do it. And in fact, it is the way that I usually look upwards. I don't often go to the dictionary and search them. I usually just ask, then I know what it means. And then I'm done. It's pretty simple and it's improving all the time. 39. From Movies and TV: Now in this course, we've talked a lot about movies and TV shows, but we haven't gone through a specific step-by-step process for how to use movies and TV shows and for example, videos online. Ted Talks. Ted Talks are by the way, a great way to work on your English. A fantastic way to learn about a large variety of subjects. We haven't really focused on specific process, have we? So let's just do that. This should all feel pretty familiar to you. I just want to make sure we go through it so that you have a clear path forward so that you know exactly what to do and how to practice. Now, let's first just quickly distinguished between watching casually and watching as a project because they're really different. I'm not telling you that every time you watch a movie or a TV show in English, that you have to be learning very seriously. Now, watching casually in a relaxed way for fun. You'll pick up things, you'll learn culture. You might pick up some pronunciation, a few idioms here and there, but it'll be somewhat passive. And by the way, that's fine. Enjoy yourself. We can't be totally focused and serious all the time. But this is when you want to learn as a project. I am going to sit down and learn. And I'm going to use this thing that I'm watching, this TED talk, this video, this TV episode, this movie, whatever. I'm going to use this as a project right now to improve myself. That's what we're talking about here. And those are two very different things. Casual and project, very different. So the first thing you do is choose one thing that you're going to learn from. Choose a, for example, learning episode or movie or TED talk or video somewhere on the internet. Now, I would recommend choosing an episode over a movie. Just because episodes are shorter and shorter, you can repeat them more times. You have to watch the whole movie many times. That feels like a huge project. It may be a little tiring. Now it's fine to do that, but I think episodes are good. And videos, if you want to do one that's a little quicker. Videos are great too, but you have to choose the right one. If it's very easy, then you're probably not going to get much from it if you understand 95% of it, or 90 percent or 80 percent of it, it may be too easy for you, so you have to choose something that is challenging. Now what is challenging? Well, this kind of depends on your tolerance for pain. If you want to choose one, That's really difficult. You only understand 20%. Go ahead, try it, see what happens. You might like the challenge. Some people like that kind of thing, like reading very, very difficult philosophy. I have to read this page 30 times to understand what's going on. All right. Maybe that's a little too difficult. So when you watch the first ten minutes of it, you should understand some of it. You should know kind of what's happening. It shouldn't be too easy, it shouldn't be too hard. It should be challenging. That's the best word. You should have this uncomfortable feeling of what of uncertainty, of what did he say? I didn't catch that and I didn't quite get that. Having this uncomfortable feeling can be a good thing. It means we're at the edge of our skill, where at the edge of our knowledge, if it's too uncomfortable, then we might feel overwhelmed. That's too difficult. I don't get anything from this. How can I benefit? Yeah, too difficult. That's like trying to walk up a cliff. You can't walk up a cliff. I want something difficult. I went exercise but I can't walk up a cliff. Okay. All right. Well, what if it's here? Well, I don't want to just walk on flat ground. That's not very interesting either. I want, I want some exercise. But it's got to be in between these two. So it should feel like a brisk uphill walk. Yes, this is kinda tough. Well, this is getting a little difficult. That's slightly uncomfortable feeling. That's what we want and it will change over time as you get better. Of course, if you go to the gym, you need to slowly increase the weights that you use over time because you're getting stronger. Same thing for English, same thing for comprehension for learning words and phrases, for learning pronunciation, for developing your ear. It's the same basic things. So try to use your discomfort to judge what is right for you. Now, once you've chosen what you're going to study from, this is your project. This is your learning episode. You're no longer using it for fun. You're using it to improve. Maybe you enjoy it as well. You should use one that you enjoy. That's probably good, then you won't hate doing it. Okay, but were being serious here. Now, if you want to use English subtitles the first time, I think it's okay. It's okay if you want to try to challenge yourself even more. Great. But I think the first time to make sure you understand what's going on in this episode, in this video. Ted, by the way, you can get a full transcript of it if you want to. A movie you can watch with subtitles. It's again okay to get the main ideas and to help you write things down to know exactly how something is spelled. For example, what is this idiom? Oh, there it is. On the screen. I can just write that down. That's great. So it's fine. Just make sure they're English subtitles and not subtitles in your language. Do not use subtitles in your language. That's not going to help you. That might confuse you more. It could, because the quality of subtitles varies. Maybe it's missing some key cultural point. It may be missing something. Maybe the translation just isn't quite right. We're going to try very hard not to have translations. So use English subtitles if you use them. So you're watching it with English subtitles and you stop it as often as you can. Every time you come across or find something that you're not sure about, a phrase, a line of dialogue in the movie. What did he say? Oh, okay, let me write that down. I don't know that a cultural reference, somebody mentioned something. I don't know what they're talking about. I'll go look that up later. I'll look it up online. Great. Write it down. Take notes as you watch, and don't be afraid to pause as often as you need to. That's good, you should. And as you go, just take careful notes, write down words, write down idioms, write down those Culture points. Anything you come across, which can include pronunciation, ooh, that's an interesting way to pronounce that. I didn't know that was pronounced that way. Just write the word down whenever it is. Hamster. I don't know why hamster. And then look it up and listen to the pronunciation and practice it and do the shadowing method. Do the shadowing technique, that's great. Okay, So we're learning, we're using the movie as a book, except we're getting even more because we can hear it, we can see it. We can feel the culture and the situation. Once you've looked up everything that you wrote down in your notes, you should have a much better understanding of the movie. You should have a better understanding of the references that were made. You should have a pretty good understanding of the idioms that were used and you should know how to use them because you learn them the right way through example. By making your own examples, you should feel pretty confident about all of this stuff you wrote down, okay, now I know, now I know now what should you do? Watch it again, but this time, watch it without subtitles. Now you have no reason for subtitles because you've already written everything down. Probably, maybe you write down a few more things the second time. That's fine. That's okay. But you should have written down almost everything you needed to with the subtitles. Now, you're looking at the context. Oh, there it is. Again, I know what that means. You're seeing it inaction and you're forced to understand everything through here, not through here, which is very important. Remember, we want to bring our listening skill, our comprehension, through our ears up to the same level as our reading comprehension, right? So watch the movie The second time. Watched the movie The third time, however many times, to watch it until you feel you are at 100% comprehension. You've watched it four times, five times, six times. I understand this a 100 percent. I know exactly what they're saying. My listening is getting better and I understand culture a little bit better. And I know all these new words and idioms. I feel a lot better about this episode. I got a lot of knowledge out of this episode or this video or this movie. Now, maybe you just want to do videos at first because you want to repeat it many times. And that saves time because the video is only ten minutes. It's okay. Whatever you choose, just make sure that you like it and make sure it's the right level of difficulty. Then once you complete this process and you feel that you have that 100% comprehension, move on to the next thing. Choose another thing as a project, make sure it's the right level of difficulty. Go through these steps again with that one. So you have these learning movies, learning episodes, and that then gives you the freedom to be able to still watch TV and enjoy it. To still watch videos and enjoy it. You don't have to be on all the time. You don't have to be focused to a 100 percent of the time. And you can't expect yourself to learn everything from casually watching a movie or casually watching an episode of a TV show. Enjoy yourself, great. But make sure you have a project to work on as well, and you will improve your listening. You're going to improve your pronunciation. Can learn about culture and if it is something you enjoy, you're going to be entertained. And as you do this more and more, your sphere of knowledge and skill is going to grow until this stuff in the 20 percent becomes pretty easy. It's going to continue until your knowledge of the culture is just good. Your listening comprehension is just good. Your knowledge of words and idioms and phrases, It's just good. Now maybe this doesn't directly translate to you speaking very well. So you have to make sure to work on the other things that we are talking about in this course as well. Because often knowing things and understanding things doesn't mean automatically that you're a good speaker. That's true. But this is a very, very important part of the whole equation of the whole, of being a very fluent English speaker. So pick your first project. I can't tell you which one you should choose because we're all at a different starting point, as long as you enjoy it and as long as you feel this slightly uncomfortable feeling of this is a little difficult. It should be. Okay. Good luck, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 40. Community Immersion: The importance of immersion and having an English learning lifestyle should be clear to you by now we've talked about it a lot, but now we're going through this step-by-step. So let's do that. I'm going to give you a specific process for how you can start swimming in the swimming pool. How you can start surrounding yourself with the English language. How you can get a feel for English in a way that doesn't make you feel tired. That doesn't make you feel like you're a student in school. Have to do this thing. That's just a natural part of your life. This is so important because if you build these habits, this lifestyle of English, then you can continue it forever. And if you do something regularly, if it becomes consistent, if it becomes part of your lifestyle, of course, you're going to make progress over time. What's better to work very hard over a two-week period or to do something regularly that you enjoy over a three-year period? Well, of course, in the long term, you're going to get much more doing something long-term over the three-year period, the five-year period, the ten-year period. So let's talk about specific things you can do to build your English, learning a lifestyle, to swim around in the swimming pool of English. Now, remember we talked about earlier in the course that first you need to identify your interests and then you have windows into the language that if you follow your interests, you're less likely to give up learning. So identify those interests and then sign up for three to five communities. And I want you to actually participate in those communities. Now perhaps the most famous is Reddit. I mentioned this before. And the small communities are called subreddit. All you do is search and interests. Search something you like, whatever it is. I don't care what it is. And then join and then you're part of that community. And I want you to actually try to participate, actually become part of that community. Join the discussions doesn't mean you have to actually practice speaking, but you're just paying attention to what's going on. You're seeing memes, you're seeing those cultural references. You're learning language, you're using language, you're interacting. It's actually a great way to make friends. A lot of people have made real friends on online communities like Reddit. Now, this is just one example because it's probably the most popular, but there are others out there. So if you don't want to use this one, that's fine. My recommendation is three to five Reddit communities inside read it, three to five subreddit. But really doesn't matter if you find another one. That's okay too, as long as it's based around your interest and as long as you are participating, as long as that community is pretty active, that means people can actually discuss things and talk with each other. Some people like to use Quora to read the answers, two interesting questions, and even answer questions. I would say core is a great way to practice your writing skills because then people are reading what you write and that gives you a bit of pressure. I use core as well, but I don't feel as much of a sense of community inside of core. To me doesn't feel like as much of a community as, as, for example, red it does, but whatever you like, just joined a few and start participating. 41. Joining a Group: Then I want you to find a group that meets weekly. Now if they meet twice a week, That's okay, that's fine. That's great. But attend a group of some kind. Now maybe there's a group in your city and you can attend that and you can go and you can practice talking. You can have discussions. Maybe it's a book club, maybe it's just a discussion group. Maybe it's a group to practice speaking. There's one called Toastmasters that you can join. They have different chapters all around the world. So maybe speaking practice public speaking. Whatever I am in some groups on meet up, it's called Meetup. And I join a book club. I'm part of a book club. And in this book club, we read every week and then we get together and we talk about it once a week. Now, as I mentioned earlier in the course, some of these are in-person and some of these are online. These days. It's easier to find online events, people discussing things over video chat. That's great. It's a great opportunity for you to have a feeling of community, to connect with others, to improve your listening and your ability to feel less nervous when you're speaking. If you're brave enough to say your opinion about whatever you're reading, that's great. You start to build confidence. You start to improve your skills. So I want you to join one of these, if you're crazy to, maybe too, that's okay. But I want you to actually participate and I want it to be based on your interests. Very important. If it's around your interests, again, it can be part of your lifestyle. That's what we're talking about here. This swimming thing means not too strict, not studying too hard. We talked about that before. How to study hard, how to really work hard, right? That's important. But we're not talking about that here. We're talking about stuff that we like to do. That's fun. That's interesting that we can include in what we normally do in our normal lifestyle, in our normal routine. So that's what we're talking about here. This should not be something that you hate. It should be something you love. You should say, Oh, I can't wait to check my community today. I can't wait to see what's been posted. I can't wait to have my weekly conversation. I can't wait. You're excited for that. That's very important because otherwise it's so easy to give up. If this is very boring to you, not interesting, then keep looking. Find the right group. 42. Immersion with News: Spend 30 minutes a day reading something. You have to get into the habit of reading. But again, this cannot be something that you don't like to do. So I want you to try to push yourself to do it daily, but I want it to finally become something that you feel kind of excited about because you're reading something you like. So you may say to yourself, Well, I don't like non-fiction books about science or history or whatever, politics, economics, okay, great. Don't read those things then. You're like novels, you like stories, you like romance stories, you'd like science fiction. You like fantasy. Read those things. I'm not telling you what to read. Maybe you don't like books. Maybe you don't like novels, maybe you don't like nonfiction. That's okay too. Maybe you can find some interesting articles. Maybe you like to read about celebrities. Maybe you like to read about pop culture, right? There are so many different things that you can read about. I'm not telling you what you should read. Now. You should be reading something that's a little challenging but not so challenging that you feel overwhelmed. Of course, yes, that's important, but you should be reading something and it should be something you enjoy. I like to read. When I read articles, I like to read articles on Medium because it's a good reading experience. You don't see ads, so it's just a nice place to be, but there are so many different places to find articles, so many different ways to get books. You can get books that are free, you can get PDFs, can buy books, of course, second-hand books. I mean, there's always a way to get good books and find the right book. The key is, do you like it? Is it fun? Do you look forward to it? If before you start reading, you have this feeling of that means you need to find something else to read. If before you start reading, you have the feeling of what can't wait, this is going to be interesting. I want to do that. I can't wait to read this evening during dinner or maybe during breakfast or maybe after dinner when I'm sitting on the sofa or before bed, whatever. Reading casually you're reading for fun. This has to be for fun. Has to be for fun in order to be real immersion. In order to be really swimming, in order to be really a sustainable, long-term lifestyle. So when you're reading for fun, should you circle every tiny thing that you don't understand or don't know. Well, when you're reading just for fun, especially when you're just getting into the habit of reading. Maybe not, maybe don't be so strict with yourself. Maybe just read a little bit to get into it and then perhaps you can start circling things that you don't know. You can start underlining things and looking things up. Maybe you have two different kinds of reading. Maybe every day you do 30 minutes of casual reading where you just read as swimming just for the background, just so that you can get a feel for the language, the grammar, just a feeling for it. And you just enjoy the story. You just enjoy the topic of the article. And then maybe three times a week, twice or three times a week, you seriously read and you circle everything that you don't know and you look up those words. Or maybe you combine it. Maybe you do 30 minutes of reading. And then later in the day you go back and you circle some of the things that you don't know and you look those up as we've talked about earlier in the course, That's okay. Find your own way of doing it. Tried to balance reading for fun and reading for learning. These are two different things. But when you're reading for fun, just don't be too strict with yourself. If you're too strict with yourself, then it will stop being fun. And if it stops being fun than you give up on it. So at all costs, do not give up. First, make sure you continue doing it, and then see if you can bring in some of those more serious things like underlining and circling and looking up grammar and words and so on. And the same thing goes for news. If you'd like to know what's going on in the world, sign-up for news updates in English. There are so many places to do it. I think Apple has a news service and there's a new service on Reddit. You can look up reddit world news. There are so many out there, they're actually called aggregators. And an aggregator takes news from all different sources and puts the stories in sequence usually of when they happen throughout the day. And you can click on the ones that you're interested in. Maybe you don't read the whole article. Maybe you just check the headline and you read a few paragraphs. Okay, That's interesting. Next, this is a very casual thing, very relaxed. Normally you read news maybe in your own language, and that's what you're used to doing here. I'm trying to get you to step out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is what you're used to doing, what you're comfortable doing. And in every way that you can when it comes to building an English learning lifestyle, I'd like you to step outside of your comfort zone. That's actually really important. That's the most important thing. When you're out of your comfort zone, you feel uncomfortable. And then slowly it starts to feel more comfortable and then it starts to just become normal. Yeah. Yeah, I check the news every day. Of course I read it in English. Why wouldn't I maybe you can still read it in your native language. That's fine. But at least try this, sign up for some sort of aggregator, whatever it may be, use it for at least a month and see if it works for you. And again, I'm not saying you have to learn each article very seriously. We're just trying to build out an environment of English and news, something that's always being updated, new things always happening. News is a great way to do that. 43. Don't Force It: Now we talked about how we can watch movies and videos and shows very seriously to learn, like we're reading a book very seriously. We talked about that. But what about when we just want to enjoy ourselves? This one to relax and watch something. Is that okay? We're going to actually learn if we do that. Well, maybe not that much, but it is part of the environment. Just like if you go to a native English-speaking country and you're surrounded by English all the time. People speaking English over there in that coffee shop. It's all around you. Advertisements. And that's great, of course. But you don't have to have that. You can build your own environment. And part of doing that is watching things for fun. Now when you're watching things for fun, just because you enjoy them, it's again, important to know what your interests are. Do you like documentaries? Do you like animated shows? Do you like dramas? Do like comedy? Do you like long movies? Do you like short films? Do you like YouTube videos? What do you like? Okay, so find what you like and search those things. Find those things, watch those things. You don't have to write things down, but I would recommend that you do not you do not use subtitles. So if you're watching casually, you're watching a show. Maybe you're watching Avatar, The Last Airbender. It's a great animated show. I really like it. So you're watching that one, should you have subtitles on or not? Well, if you're using an episode from that show as you're learning episode, remember we talked about that. Then, yes, maybe the first time to make sure that you fully understand it so that you can write notes so that you can look up everything so that you can then go back and watch it and make sure that you understand every little piece. That's your learning episode. But if you're watching casually, you're not focused on learning every little thing and so just relax, but just relax with your ears, not your eyes. You should still be working on your listening skills. You should still be working on your ability to understand what is going on through here rather than here. So when you're watching casually, no subtitles, no subtitles, not even English. And if you want to watch shorter things, then find some online creators that you like and watch. There are videos. That's a great way to also interact with others and have a bit of a community or a feeling of community. I subscribe to some creators on YouTube. I follow some creators on Instagram and I just like to see what they're doing. I like to see what they're up to. It's interesting. I feel somehow part of their lives and sometimes they do. Live streams are put out videos or talk about what they're doing. It's a good way to have that feeling that you are surrounded, surrounded by the language. And then once you start to feel a little more comfortable with your listening, you understand more. Maybe check out some, some podcasts. Podcasts are usually a little more difficult because they're longer often people are speaking very conversationally so they might not finish what they're saying. They might stop halfway. They might speak very quickly or not very clearly. But if you start to feel more confident with this stuff, then yeah, maybe check out some podcasts as well. And for all of these, it's very important that nothing is too forced. Now I am asking you to force yourself to read for 30 minutes a day. But overall, the feelings should not be that you resent anything that before you do it, you think, God, if you feel that way, what it means is that you're probably doing it wrong. Maybe you found the wrong thing to follow. Maybe you didn't find the right community to participate in. Maybe your group is not that interesting to you. Keep looking, keep looking until it's fun. If it isn't fun, then it's going to be very hard to continue. It's going to be very hard to sustain the key to this swimming around idea, to getting all the references to improving your listening and have that real feeling of immersion that surrounded feeling that you want when you are immersed in the language, it's essential that you like it. If you don't like it, if you don't like it, you are doing it wrong. But that doesn't mean that you should quit. It may just mean find a different book, find a different creator, find a different community. Look until you find what's right for you. We are all different. So find what's right for you. Good luck building your English, learning lifestyle and swimming around in the English language. And I'll see you in the next lesson. 44. Avoiding the Plateau: This lesson may not be for everyone, but if you feel that some of the things that we talk about here are a little bit above your level. Don't forget about it. You should still pay attention. And then when you're ready, when you're at a slightly more advanced level, come back, rewatch it, and I think you'll get more out of it if you're not ready to take on some of these challenges, that's totally okay. Everyone has their own pace, we all have our own starting point. So totally okay if some of this stuff is too difficult, but don't forget about it completely. Now, for those of you who feel ready to really challenge yourself, maybe you understand most of what you hear. You're able to watch a movie without subtitles and understand most of it. You read. You can have a conversation, but you still want to take your English to the next level. You want to be more fluent. These are some things that you can do. You can start doing these things right away. These are ways to challenge yourself. One problem for higher level English learners or advanced English learners, is something that we call the last mile problem in this is the gap between very good English or advanced English and total fluency. It may look to someone on the outside as not a very big gap. But you know very well that that gap is quite large, at least it feels quite large to cross that gap is a major challenge. To take on this challenge, you need to start doing things differently. The same old way of doing things will not work for you? Yes, of course, you should keep reading. Yes, of course you need to continue having conversations. All good. Yes, Do all of those things, but continue pushing yourself. Often what happens is English learners will go like this, challenging themselves, challenging themselves, getting better and better. And then it starts to go like this. And it plateaus and starts to go level. And then you say to yourself, I'm doing the same stuff. Why am I not improving? I'm reading every day. I watch a lot of movies. I have conversation with my friends, but I still feel that I'm not quite there in a couple of different areas. What is going on? Well, maybe the same old things, just don't cut the mustard. So let's look at some things that you can start doing right now to get to that next level, to defeat the last mile problem, to reach fluency. 45. Watch, Read, Listen: Now if you just watch things casually, that's fine. But I challenge you to watch something that's slightly more academic. I mentioned Ted because Ted is a good, stable, reliable way to do this. And you go to Ted, you watched a TED Talk every day. If you want to really challenge yourself though, go even further. Watch hour-long lectures by university professors, watched debates, watch things that really challenge you. Ted is a good place to start, I think a daily TED Talk, but when you're ready to take it further, more complicated things, debates and lectures, the more academic stuff is going to push you to really get out of your comfort zone and feel elegies. I really don't know anything do I write that's the feeling that you want you want to once again, get back to that point where things are difficult for you. That feeling is good. You want to struggle, shouldn't feel overwhelmed, but you should feel that it's a struggle. If you watch a regular video And you understand everything. Great, I enjoyed it. Very entertaining. Nice. Watch a movie. Great. Nice. My understood everything. So that's great for entertainment, but you're not really improving our u. So I want you to start challenging yourself more with the content that you watch. It doesn't absolutely have to be academic. But I think that really is a good way to go because it's of course, a good way to challenge yourself. But maybe you're more interested in other topics, as long as you feel that you're struggling against it, It's okay. I just want you to not be passively watching things that you only enjoy. I want you to start pushing yourself a little bit. Now what about your reading? Maybe again, maybe you're reading more for enjoyment now you love reading, like reading novels, you read nonfiction, you enjoy it. Well, maybe it's time to push yourself even further. Have you read the classics? Have you read Moby Dick? Have you read Shakespeare? Get crazy. Have you read philosophy? Philosophy can be very challenging to read even for native English speakers. We gave me a book by Kant right now and open it up. And I feel immediately exhausted, tired, because comprehending these difficult ideas is not easy. That's maybe a good place to go if you're ready for that. If you're not quite ready for that, That's totally okay. Find something in this general category. This is a pretty broad category and some things are easier than others. So you should be able to find something that's the right level of difficulty for you. Now you may be thinking, hold on. A lot of that classic literature. I don't know. It doesn't really sound modern. Nobody speaks like that anymore. And that may be true. But consider that it is the foundation of a lot of the English language that we use today. And knowing it is still important, we have to, as native English speakers, read that stuff in high school and in university, we have two. So it's in some way part of the culture still, even though we might not use a lot of that language, should you only learn what you're going to use? I don't think so. I know a lot more than what I actually say. I'm able to understand more than what I actually speak. That's how it should be. So always work to broaden your horizons, whether it's what you consume in video or audio, or whether it's what you've read. And after you've read something, maybe a chapter of a book or a whole book or a part of a book, however you want to break it down. Do a summary, actually write down what you got from it. If you just read it and understand it, that's one thing and that's good. But if you read it and you understand it, and you can write a summary in your own words. You're really challenging yourself. All of these things should feel like uphill struggles to you. I'm trying to get you back to the place of feeling that English is difficult again, because that's a good feeling. It means you're right up against your Edge, your limitations. And when you're right up against your limitations, you're able to actually improve. And your limitations become no longer limitations. They become things that you feel comfortable with, then you have new limitations. Continue to push yourself no matter what you do. Now, if you really enjoy reading, maybe push yourself a little further and listen to audio books. Instead. Try audio books. You enjoy reading this book. That's great. Pick up the audio version. Listened to that. Is your level of comprehension the same when you listen to that book as when you read it. If not, then maybe you need to increase your level of comprehension for literature, which can be a challenge. So audio books, great tool. I listen to audio books all the time. And one thing I do, which helps me remember what I hear is due spoken summaries. I give spoken summaries based on what I just listen to. And you can do this for TED Talks as well. You can do this for reading the classics. So you've finished listening to something or reading something or watching something. And then you talk about it for five minutes as though you were teaching it to someone else, or as though you were teaching it to yourself. It can be a very good idea to record yourself and listen back to it. Is there anything you can improve? Maybe your intonation sounds a little weird. Maybe your structure or organization could be more clear the way that you presented it. Maybe you left out some key details or the way that you gave the details wasn't quite vivid enough. So you can work on that. You used like and too much those thinking words. All right, That's good feedback. Give yourself feedback. Listen back to it a few times and then try it again with something else. If you can get into the habit of doing summaries, whether written or spoken and spoken or actually, I think better than you're going to improve your speaking skills, your presentation skills, and your ability to organize your thoughts as you speak logically, which is very, very important for things like interviews, for things like presentations, of course, and even for long-form conversation. 46. Become a Creator: Now so far you may be saying, yeah, I can do all those things. So far, all of those things seem challenging but doable. No problem. But this next one, come on now, too difficult. Are you serious? Yes, I am. Start a blog or a channel, for example, a YouTube channel, and I want you to do it in public. Now a lot of people fear speaking in public, being judged by others. We talked about this earlier in the course. A lot of people fear putting themselves out there. But if you put yourself out there, a couple of really interesting things happen. Number 1, a sense of accountability. If you know that people are waiting to read your latest blog posts about whatever, you'd have a few friends who read your blog. It's going to give you some pressure to do it. It's very easy for us just to say, I know I should practice writing, but what, what, uh, whatever, I'll just watch a movie or I'll just sleep or play video games, right? But every Tuesday, new blog, my friends are waiting. I followers are waiting. They want to read what I have to say. So that gives you some pressure and that's a good thing. Having pressure is positive. And because you're putting it out there and you know that it will be judged, people will read it. Going to make sure you don't make any mistakes. If you do it only for yourself, a few mistakes and not a big deal, the structure is not very clear at whatever who cares. It's just for me. But when we know others are looking at it, oh, I can't make any mistakes. It has to be perfect. You're going to work at it more. You're going to work harder at it. You're going to make sure it's right. And that's going to improve a bunch of different skills at the same time. And make sure you don't just give it up after week. Because again, people are waiting. Now if you really want to get crazy, and by the way, I don't think it's crazy. Start a channel somewhere. Maybe it's an Instagram or maybe YouTube. Youtube is a great place to say, what do you think? Just come up with a theme, a general theme. My belief is that everyone has something to say. Everyone has an interesting story to tell or something they're an expert in, something they're good at, something they love that other people love as well. Everybody has something unique to offer and share. And that includes you. And this idea that only a few people should start channels and make videos is, I think, a little outdated and old fashion. I really believe that everyone should have their own channel. And I really believe that everyone should make videos and that might sound crazy. But I really think that everyone, every person, if someone wants to know a little bit more about, you just say, oh yeah, here's my channel, check out some of my videos. Now, you might say, I can't do that. I'm not a camera person. I don't like the sound of my voice. I don't know what to say. Okay. Okay. But what's the difference between someone who does it and someone who doesn't do it. Someone who does it is just braver. They're not too worried about what everyone thinks. And they just do it. They're doers, they're more active. They're not afraid. Those who don't do it. Well, I guess it's okay. But they're not getting the benefits of putting themselves out there. Building a fan base, really thinking through a topic, writing out ideas, building an outline, filming it, editing. All of the skills that you gain by doing that can benefit you in so many ways, in your confidence, and especially in your English skills, your ability to express yourself. And if you can start to feel comfortable sitting in front of a camera, making videos, talking about something. Do you think you're going to feel more comfortable about conversations? Do you think you're going to feel more comfortable about interviews, presentations? Yes, absolutely. Once you get comfortable talking about topics, especially in front of a camera, everything else gets easier. So it is a very powerful way to improve. And I know many of you are thinking right now. No, just no, Absolutely not. No. Okay. Alright. Up to you. This is my recommendation. This is what I think you should do. I think it will benefit you if you decide not to do it. That's up to you. 47. Create New Mountains: Finally, this is something that applies to anybody really learning anything who wants to get better, faster, set very big challenges in the future. If you want to improve your ability to climb rocks, set a big challenge. I'm going to climb that cliff in two months. I can't do it now, but I will in two months. And then you start doing all the things necessary to make that happen. You're motivated because you have a thing that you've planned to do which is coming up. Pressure can be healthy. Have to do this in two months. I've signed up for the islets exam in September. I have to get ready. I have to practice pressure. Good to see what your score is. The aisles is a good one. I've decided to apply for a job, even though I have no intention of changing jobs, I just want to apply in practice my interview skills, credit, That's very cool. You should do that. Have interviews. Sometimes I'm going to, I'm going to have an interview. I'm going to practice interview questions, answering interview questions, building my resume. Great. Maybe you're actually preparing for a real interview and you want to change jobs. Also, great. Anyway, you've got this thing coming up. You're getting ready for this pressure is good. It's forcing you to do a lot of things to get ready for that. If you have no thing that you're working toward in the future, sometimes it's easy to give up that more challenging practice that you may do. That more serious practice where you sit down and work for an hour. The lifestyle thing, of course, that should be long-term, you should always have that should be very consistent. But that more serious dedicated practice is often hard to maintain if you don't have some reason. So I suggest always giving yourself a goal to work toward giving yourself a big project. You're working on, giving yourself some thing that's up there in the future. Maybe you've signed up for a presentation in one of your groups. You're going to give a 25-minute presentation on something you're interested in, in front of 30 people. That's scary. I have to build a really good slide deck and practice my outline and think about how I'm going to interact with the audience. It's going to be a big challenge. I'm very scared. That kind of scared as positive, that kind of pressure is positive. So find some challenges for yourself or a big challenge for the future. Sign up for it, commit yourself to it, and then let the feeling of pressure sink in and then start working on a plan so that you can start taking action on that plan so that whenever you do this or this or this or whatever, you'll do it really well and you'll be able to continue to build confidence. The main idea for all of these things is to remember that difficulty is good. We want to walk up the hill and feel a little out of breath all the time. If the road is flat, then it's too easy and we're not really making progress. If it's a straight cliff, maybe it's overwhelming, maybe it's too much. We have to find this perfect balance where it's a struggle and we feel it so that we know we're really making progress. Find yours, work on these. You have any questions, let me know and I'll see you in the next lesson. 48. How to Define Goals: The most common question I get from English learners is, how can I improve my English? How can I improve my English? If you've seen any of my live streams, my Q and a live streams, for example, you may have seen someone asked this. You may have asked this, I don't know, but think about that question for just a second. How can I improve my English? That means is that your goal is to improve your English. So when I get this question, my first thought is, you want me to explain in a minute or two right here, right now, something that would take me hours to explain the evidence of that is this course, hours to explain how to improve your English. So I often don't know where to start, and I may just give one little piece of advice, but really, it's not possible to give a good answer to that question unless you're going to give the whole picture, unless you're going to take the time to really work with this student or explain things from every different angle, then you would get a good answer. Again, that's what this course is about. But this question that I get, I think, makes a very important point. And the point is, if you're too broad in the way that you think, then it's going to be hard to really focus on anything. Just like when I get this question, I don't know where to start. If your goal is, I want to get better at English. You don't really know where to start and that's a problem. So yes, you can have the big goal of, I want to improve my English, that's fine. But some people might call that instead a dream. Dreams are things that we have that we want in the future, but we don't often know what to do about them right now. So when we think about goals, we should probably choose things that are a little more specific. And things that we can actually work toward, things we can actually walk toward, take steps toward. So that's what we're going to focus on. We're going to talk about goals. Goals are important, and I'm not saying that you shouldn't want to improve your English, of course you do. But if you just say, I want to improve my English, you feel suddenly a bit lost, just like I feel when I'm asked that question. So that means we need to choose some more specific things that we can aim at that we can move toward so that we can actually make real progress. And then yes, then we can get closer to that big goal that dream of getting better at English. 49. Dos and Don'ts for Setting Goals: Now we talked about this a little bit, but why our goals important at all? Well, you need you need a Northstar, you need a direction. If you just say, I'm going to practice every day, I'm going to practice every day. As we talked about, you're going to go a little bit this way, a little bit this way, a little bit this way, a little bit this way, a little bit this way, a little bit this way, a little bit this way. And you're going to kind of end up in the same area where you started. But if you have a North Star or that almost looks like a star. If you have a North Star, that doesn't look like it's a star, okay? Then when you take steps, you're at least moving in the general direction of that goal. And that is progress, that is getting better. So it's great to have goals, but we have to have the right kind of goals. And that's what we're going to talk about in this lesson. Now, because in this section we are talking about specific steps you can take. We're going to go through real goals and how you can actually make one after this lesson, right after this lesson. But a couple of general things besides having a general direction, a Northstar, a way to go, a thing that we're looking at in the future. It's important to write those things down. Writing things down makes them in some way real. If you just think a thought, I want this, then it can easily disappear. In a way, putting it down on a piece of paper makes it real to you. It makes it a real thing in the world. So just get out a piece of paper and write down your goals. Maybe some of them are more general, maybe some of them are more specific. What things do you want to achieve? What things do you want to accomplish? What things do you want to do when it comes to your spoken English, your written English, your confidence, your knowledge, whatever it may be, write it down and if you want to share it. Now this works for some people and not for others to share. Your goal is to tell a friend, Hey, this is what I want to do. Hey, I'm doing this. Now for some people that sense of pressure is a really good thing. For others. It doesn't work for me personally. I tend to just have a written list of goals, things that I'm working toward. And I can generally motivate myself to continue working on those things. But I have friends who are very different. They have to talk about their goals, share their goals. And they like to have that feeling of pressure of knowing that their friends know about the things that they're working on. And if that works for you, then fantastic. Again, no, yourself, you have to know what kind of learner you are. You have to know what kind of goal setter you are as well. Now it's also important for your goals to be actionable. What does it mean to have actionable goals? If your goal is, I want to improve my English. You could say that's very broadly actionable, but what are you going to start doing right now? I want to get this, and in order to get this, I have a plan and I'm able to start my plan right now. So first you have the goal, you make the goal. The goal is something that you can actually do something with. You don't feel lost when you say your goal to yourself. When you look down at your goal written on a piece of paper, you don't think, How do I what do I do first? How do I have no idea? No, you look at it and go, okay. Plan a, B, C, D, What are you going to do next? That isn't actionable goal. And we'll talk about some examples of goals, more general goals as well as very specific goals. Now the other thing before we do that is to understand what kind of goal is reasonable and what kind of goal is not. And that doesn't mean that you have to be very conservative and say, Oh, my goal is to learn five words this week. Okay, five words. That's not very many. I mean, it is a goal, so I'm not going to say that that's bad. But you can do better than that. I think you can set slightly larger goals than that. And that's really just a thing you're going to do. That's not even really a goal in the way that we usually mean a goal that's more like a plan, right? So challenge yourself, but also be realistic. We also want to be realistic. We don't want it to be so crazy that it's never going to happen, that it can't happen. Now you have to know what that is for yourself. You have to know what your limits are. You have to know what's possible, and you have to know what's high enough so that you feel motivated to work toward it. If I, for example, set myself the goal of remembering every single important date in Western European history. That might be a little too high. Every single event. I don't know if I can do that. That's a pretty big challenge. Maybe it's a little too high. Maybe that's shooting for the moon. Maybe I'll just remember the top 100 dates. I want to know the top 100 events and remember the dates, okay? More realistic, right? That's a little bit better. What if it's your pronunciation? I want my accent to sound exactly like an American, okay? Well, maybe that's possible for you, but that's going to be very, very difficult when it comes to pronunciation. Usually some things will remain which will mark your accent as your native language or coming from your native language, which by the way, I think is totally fine personally, I think it's a little strange when someone who didn't grow up in America is trying to imitate an American accent and it just isn't quite right. It's like if I were doing a British accent, it would sound a little off. It would just doesn't quite sound right. It's new, right? I can't do one very well. And you can tell that I can't do one very well. Now this is just an example. Maybe that's your goal, okay? You set your goals, know what might be a little too far. Because if you go too far with your goals, then it might be easy to give up because maybe, maybe it's not possible or maybe it's very, very unlikely you have to be careful with your goals, find the right balance. So now let's look at some example goals so that you can start to get a feeling, a sense for how to build your own. 50. General Goals: We're going to look at two sets of goals, and let's call this first set general. I'd like to just point out a couple of things about these general goals. Number one is that they're not things that we can just finish in 20 minutes. These are things that have a duration, a real duration. And that could be a few days maybe, or it could be weeks or months, some goals or years lung. And that's good. We want to have goals that are a little bit more long-term. We don't want to just say today my goal is to do this and then I did this. Well, that's more like today. My plan is to do this, right? And you accomplished your plan. So let's say that good goals have duration and good goals are containers in a way. That means in order to reach the goal, Here's my goal. I'll just, I'll do a star. Here's my Northstar. Oh God, I want to reach this. Here's where I'm starting and I want to get, I want to get here, right? But this goal is not just this thing, it contains other things. In order to reach this, I have to do a, B, and C. So a great way to start your plan for every goal is to say, in order to, in order to achieve this, in order to reach this goal, I have two, a, B, and C. What are the parts that make up the goal? What things do you need to do that will allow you to reach it. If it's only one kind of thing, maybe that's okay. But if it's a few different things that you have to work on, their different and you have to do all of them. That's probably a pretty good goal. So let's go through these and see if these are good. And I want you to use these just as a starting point or just for inspiration. I'm not here to tell you what your goals are. You have to set your own goals and have to fit you and what you want in your life. I want to be able to explain myself in a conversation without long pauses. Is that a container? Yes, that is a container because in order to do that, I need to work on my confidence. I need to work on my usage of vocabulary. I need to maybe work on my syntax, my organizational skills, organizing my ideas mentally. Now, I have to be able to test it. So I have to have a way to have conversations. Maybe my issue is I have long pauses to think right now. Maybe in my group that I'm in, I can start to test this. Maybe after attending many group discussions and maybe recording videos of myself practicing speaking in front of the mirror, practicing using vocabulary by giving myself speaking challenges, improvisation as we've worked on earlier, maybe practicing even my writing or organizing my thoughts in specific exercises that I've made for myself. All of these things allow me to do this better. Now, the difficulty with this one is to say exactly when we achieved it. That's not a very clear thing to measure. That's why we call this a general goal. We're not really able to measure it. It's more like, oh, well, I did a good job explaining that in my group discussion. I think I achieved my goal. I didn't have to stop. I talked for 2.5 minutes about what I wanted to say. I never paused. Everything was pretty clear. I think I've reached that goal. So for some of these, you have to decide when you've reached your goal and you have to be honest with yourself, what about the next one? My goal is to give a public presentation in English without a script by the end of June. Now, this is a little bit more specific. We did this thing. I want to do this thing. Does it have a duration? Well, I don't feel ready to do it right now. If you asked me to do it right now, I would feel lost. I don't know what to say. So I have to research, I have to choose a topic that's going to force me to practice, maybe reading. And I have to learn some new words, some vocab. And I have to practice public speaking. So maybe I record myself so I'm working on speaking skills. And maybe I have to write my slides, I have to write some words on my slides. So I'm working on my grammar. So I'm working on a lot of different skills at the same time. And I know that I did it because I did it. So maybe you set a goal that you just want to do something and you don't set any other requirements. And that's okay because you're still pushing yourself to do all these things. And when you do it, it's done. You did it. Great job. Now, without a script, that's good. Presentations shouldn't have a script. Maybe you set a goal to just do something, to just complete something that you're afraid of. And that's actually a great thing because it gives you more confidence if you can push yourself and do it. And once it's done, it's done, then you'll feel better. And next time it'll be a little easier. So that's great. That without a script, I think that's. Probably better than you're not memorizing, then you're using your real communication skills, but it doesn't have to be something that you measure where I finished the presentation and I get very good reviews. Maybe you set that goal, but that's also not super clear. Sometimes just saying, I want to do this is enough. My goal is to write a 5000 word English article and posted online. Similar to this one, we're just getting something done, doing something we haven't done before, pushing ourselves outside of the comfort zone, which is good. But to get this done, we may have to work on writing skills, on grammar, on syntax, a bunch of skills that we need. And then we have to put ourselves out there, which is another thing to work on. If you put yourself out there, people give you feedback, leave comments, and then maybe you just have a blog and you write articles regularly. But for a lot of these things, this type of thing, doing it the first time, getting over that wall the first time is really the main point. And once you do it, you realize, oh, okay, that wasn't so hard. That wasn't so bad. Sometimes you have to just push yourself to do it, but don't do it without getting ready. Don't do it without preparing. And preparing is what your goal contains. That's why container. My goal is to read the entire Harry Potter book series by next March. So this has a clear duration. This is a clear duration. It's kind of a container because maybe you're learning a lot of new words and phrases. Maybe you're learning about some culture. Certainly Harry Potter will have a lot of, a lot of new words and a lot of culture, of course, because it takes place in England. And you're going to maybe write summaries. You'll write a summary. And that's going to improve your writing skills. And you've given yourself a limit. So you're kind of forcing yourself to do it. If that's not too stressful, that can also be a very good thing. This, by the way, is the perfect opportunity to bring in a partner. If you have a friend who is also working on their English, if they like Harry Potter or they like reading fiction or fantasy books, say to your friend, Hey, I really want to read Harry Potter. I know it's good for my English. I want to improve my writing skill. I want to improve my knowledge of vocabulary and idioms and culture. And I thought maybe it would be cool if we read a chapter a week. And then at the end we just talk about it. We can get on a call and talk about it in English. And if we write summaries, you can check my summary and L check your summary. That's a really good idea. Then you have some accountability as well. That's a great shared goal and it's not too difficult to do. And it's something that you can do in the long-term, but important to give yourself a deadline. Having a deadline gives you that useful positive pressure that pushes you to do it every week. I want to write three Quora answers every month for the rest of this year. Now I mentioned this one before. Quora is a place for people to ask and answer questions. Everybody knows things that other people don't know. Everyone has a valuable opinion. That's I think that's just true, or maybe that's just my opinion. But I think everyone has something unique to offer, good on Quora or something like it. Some kind of, some kind of forum where people are asking questions about things and find one that you know the answer to. Find one that you think you have a good answer to, and compose a strong answer, give a detailed answer that's clearly written, that has good syntax, good organization. And remember, people are going to read it. They might give you an upvote. They might give you a downvote. You went up votes, right? If your answer rises to the top, that's positive feedback. If it goes way down, that's negative feedback. You know what you need to improve if you ask people what could be more clear? So this is a really good goal to push yourself to do this. It certainly has duration. However many months are left in the year and it's a container. It requires you to work on the same things that you would need to work on for, for example, for this one. Or if you're doing a summary for Harry Potter, similar skills, it contains many things that you have to do in order to do that well, including that lifestyle stuff, researching and reading articles related to that thing so that you have support for your opinions. Now this last one, I want to feel more confident when I'm having small talk with colleagues. This one is the most abstract. And it's not that this is a bad goal, but it might be a little bit difficult to act on unless you say very clearly, in order to do that, I need to. So if you can come up with what this goal contains, then okay. I think it's okay. And if you can come up with a general duration, that would be okay to it is going to take some time if you feel that you're not there now. It's kind of like this one. I want to be able to explain myself in a conversation where you have to decide when you've achieved that goal. For this one, you don't have to decide when you achieved it. You did it for this one. You did it, it's published for this one you did it. It's published for this one. You finished it. You did it for the first one and the last one. It's quite general, it's quite vague. And so you have to be very honest with yourself. Hey, I just had a conversation and I was able to feel really relaxed. I felt confident. I knew what I was saying. I could carry on small talk. We talked for 25 minutes. I've never been able to do that before. I've never had the confidence to ask follow-up questions or explain something really in-depth to someone in a conversation. I've always kind of sat back and been shy and just said a few words. But I tried and failed, tried and failed. I start a conversation. Didn't go very well. I felt very nervous. I didn't know what to say. Fail, just being honest with yourself. But last week, last week when I had that conversation with whoever, I felt good, I felt confident, I felt comfortable. I've never been able to do that before. Be honest with yourself, you did it. What's your next goal? So it's perfectly okay to set these very abstract goals as long as you know what things you need to do to move toward them, what they contain. And as long as you have a sense of when you have actually achieved them, goals should be achievable. Goals should be realistic, but still ambitious, and goals should also be, of course, actionable. Let's look at some more measurable goals. 51. Measurable Goals: We've talked about general goals. So let's look at some goals we can actually measure. Let's call these measurable. And let's say these are goals that we can put a number on. We know whether or not we succeeded based on how close we got to that target number or that target amount. And this is often a good kind of goal to have because it's very clear if you didn't make it, how close you got to making it. And if you went over your goal, you achieve your goal, you know, by how much you achieved it. So it's really a great way. And just like the general goals, because we have some thing to work toward, we often need to do several things in order to get there. So these are also containers. And usually these also have a duration. And often if we can put a duration on it, a number of months or years, a deadline, that's good. Then we know we failed for sure or we know we made it for sure by this date I did what I said I was going to do or by this date I didn't. And then we have to be honest with ourselves, we can't lie to ourselves if it's a number, right? I didn't get it. I didn't do it. Okay. I'll try harder next time or set a slightly different goal, or maybe give up this goal and work on another one. At least we know where we stand. For example, I will pass aisles with a 7 within 18 months. Now 7 is a pretty high score. Often people get a 6.5. There's a thing called, I think it's called a 6.5 trap, where a lot of English learners get an average 6.5 and can't quite get past that. So as seven would be pretty good at 7.5 is very good, at eight is very, very good. And a nine is almost impossible. That might be shooting for the moon to get a nine. But setting a seven or 7.5 goal is a very good one. And if you say 18 months, that's really good because that allows you to maybe try twice. So you take the exam and you get a 6.5. Okay. I didn't do as well. In which area? Well, my score and writing was lower. My listening score was high. My reading score was high, but my speaking score was lower. Okay, so I need to work on that more. I think Islands is a really good exam because it can tell you where you're doing well and maybe what you need to work more on, okay, if I need to work more on my listening skill and maybe I need to do some exercises for listening, like my teacher Luke recommended. I remember that exercise he told me about. I also need to maybe increase my exposure and make English more part of my everyday life work and my English immersion lifestyle. Okay. I remember that from that course I took. Yes. Yes, I remember. So I'll work on that. Whatever it is, it's very clear, it's very specific. And so that's a very good goal in signing up for an eye exam will definitely give you some pressure. Absolutely. Oh, I have to get ready. The exam is in three months. I have three months to prepare. If I'm going to make my goal, I need to and then you make a plan, a very specific plan. My goal is to write a five-page essay with fewer than two mistakes after my final draft, checked by a native English speaker or editor. So you might need to pay for that if you don't have a friend to help you, It's seriously and maybe it's worth it. I think it's probably worth it. Now this is different from the general goal we talked about last time. I just want to write an essay and publish it or a blog post and publish it. Okay, that's done. You did it. But in a way that's not really measurable. How good is it exactly? I want to know how good it is. I want to know how good my writing is. Now you could get that from taking the eyelids test. But if you want to see how good you are at catching mistakes and making sure your writing is very clear. Spend a lot of time working on an essay about a topic that you think is interesting. Five pages, okay, make it five pages for you and see how many corrections they made. Now you have to make some rules for yourself because they might just make some recommendations about style, right? So if they make recommendations about style, maybe we won't count that. And we'll say, Okay, that's just a suggestion. But if they correct things that are absolutely wrong, and if it's more than two, I didn't make my goal. But if it's two or less or fewer than two, I made my goal. Okay. So you did it or you didn't do it. Very, very clear, very, very measurable. And that's also going to give you a lot of pressure. That's definitely container. It contains all the things that you need to work on in order to write a five-page essay, a very good five-page essay, I will learn to 100 idioms by the end of the year and be able to use any of them in a natural sentence. Now the 200 idioms part, maybe that could be just an I did it thing. But to be able to use any of them, any of them in a natural sentence. That is either something you can or you cannot do, That's pretty measurable. And if we did five of them with flashcards and you couldn't give me a natural sentence for all five of them. Then you didn't make the goal. So that's what you should do. You learn them, you study these idioms, how they're used, when they're used, who uses them? Example sentences so that you can really see and really understand. And you've made your own examples. You get all of them deeply, you understand them. Okay? So then you put them on flashcards and you give them to a friend and your friend shows you this one. Oh, yeah, that one. Make a sentence. Perfect. Your friend shows you another one. Oh, yes, that one, Of course, here's a sentence. Perfect. The next one. Oh, that one. What's that one? I can't make a sentence with that one. Fail. It didn't make your goal, you know, very clearly. Or maybe you have a number that you want to reach. Maybe it's a 100 and 80 out of 200. If I can make a sentence with a 100 and 80 out of 200 and the sentence is correct, I have reached my goal. So this is something that you can measure and that is a very powerful thing. It's a great way to give yourself pressure about learning idioms. Now I don't know where you could find any courses to learn to a 100 idioms who? That would be hard to do, hard to find such a course. That's a joke to myself. I want to pass IT job interview in English before the end of the year. Now, what if you're happy with your job? Is that a reasonable goal? Do you know what some people do? They're very happy with their jobs and yet they still do interviews. They apply to jobs. And they interview for those jobs. Just to practice. Just to see if they can do it, just to convince themselves that they can. I actually have no intention of changing my job. I love my job, but I want to see if I can pass an interview. Maybe, maybe you don't have to use that much English in your job. But you like your job. But you want to be able to use professional English. And you've been working on that. You've been practicing, that, you've been reading articles, you've been working in your discussion group, practicing, giving presentations. You've been making videos by yourself practicing your presentation skills. I want to see if I can actually pass an English job interview. So you apply to some jobs, you get an interview. Maybe that one doesn't go so well. You learn a few things, you give yourself some feedback. What could I have done better? You practice more. You make a plan to work on those skills, and then you try another one. Maybe you get another one. You get a second interview with third interview, maybe they give you a job offer. Yes, I can do it. You've proved that to yourself and that's awesome, right? Maybe you take the job. I don't know, but it's a great thing to do to practice. You're giving yourself that pressure. Of course it's a container because it contains many of the skills that you need to speak naturally, express yourself, give examples, tell stories, presentation skills, a sense of confidence, all of those things. So that's actually a great goal to have and it's very measurable because you either got the job offer where you've got the next interview or you didn't. Now some people watching this who work in human resources, I know what you're thinking. Are you recommending that people just waste our time? I'm sorry. Yes. Kind of. But yeah. I mean, not that much time, right? Not that much time. And maybe maybe it's not a waste of your time. Hr person, maybe I'm recommending this and someone who didn't plan to get a job, interviews. And they pass. And then they decide to take the job and they become a star employee. And then you can thank me for sending them your way, so you're welcome. The last one, my goal is to improve my listening and reading, then get higher than a 785 on the TOEIC exam. This is a pretty interesting exam. The focus is more on things like reading skills and listening skills. So it's testing, testing those more passive skills, but they're different, different versions of the test. And it can be a good way to see how good your listening is. And again, that's very measurable. You have a clear score, a goal that you're aiming for, something that you want to get. I want to get this score. I'm not saying it has to be this score. I'm not saying it has to be this exam. That's just an example. Pick an exam, pick a test, give yourself a date, a deadline, and then do all of the things that you need to do to get closer to this measurable goal. And then after you do it, you'll know whether you succeeded or not. If you didn't, that's okay because then you know what your weak areas are. And if you did make it great, it's time to set an even higher goal to push yourself further. So either way, you're challenging yourself and you're getting better, you have a clear Northstar. Still not good. I still don't have the stars. And you're working, working, working toward that north star when you have that, you also have a sense of purpose. But of course, I have to say this again. It's very, very important if you're going to make a goal, to then make a plan. If you have a goal and no plan, then what's the point of having a goal? A goal and a plan? These two things have to go together, right? So you've decided what your goal or goals are. Maybe some of the ones we've talked about, maybe others, these are just examples. Now, make a plan if your goal is to learn to 100 idioms by the end of the year and be able to use any of them in a natural sentence. Then what do you need to do? Specifically, what do you need to do? Three times per week. I need to learn this many idioms and write this many examples, five examples under each one. This many times a week. Okay? That's a specific plan for that goal. And maybe there are several things that you do to reach that goal. If it's a container, it'll probably be several different things. But be as specific as you can with your plan. Maybe if you're doing the aisles thing, then you can say, okay, 44 times a week. I'm going to answer three part two questions from the speaking exam and I'm going to do two sample essays. Essay questions. I know that's messy and that's an, a, a, that's an a essay questions. Okay, so that's how you're going to practice. And maybe you do some exercises for listening. But you write down specifically what your plan is, exactly what you're going to do if you're going to reach your goal, what actions do you need to take? Remember, these goals should be actionable, which means that you should have a plan to take action. Now it doesn't always have to be a specific practice. Maybe you say something like, Okay, this is my goal or this is my goal, or this is my goal. I'm going to take a one to one, one to one class with a native English speaking teacher, private class with a native English speaking teacher twice a week for two months. Okay? Okay. So that's your plan. That's what you're going to do to achieve some goal that you have. Always have a plan. Always write it down. Always write your goals down. Make sure they're actionable. Make sure they're clear, and share them with me. Share your goals with me. I would honestly love to hear them. So think about your goal. Think about what it is. Write it down, make a specific plan and share it. Good luck creating your goal. I'll see you in the next lesson. 52. How to Find Learning Partners: Now we've talked about a lot of practical steps you can take to improve your English, things you can start doing. But there's one area we haven't focused on much in that way. We haven't really talked about how to actually practice with partners in detail. How do we do this step-by-step? So let's do that. We've talked a little bit about partners already and how it can be a great way to have some accountability. Someone to do something with, right? That's what a partner is for someone whose work, you can check, someone who can check your work. And so for many reasons, it's a good idea to have a partner. But what about the step by step? What about the process? How do I know I have the right partner? Should I have a partner that's at my level? Should I have a partner who's a native English speakers at the only way to do it. Once I have a partner, what should I do next? What kind of practice should we do? How should we check each other's work? Exactly? Well, that's what we're going to talk about because that's what we're doing in this section, the practical steps. So let's get started with the right person and finding a good partner. How you know that you have a good partner. What a good partner actually looks like. Now, maybe you have a friend who's working on their English as well, and they're about it the same level as you. This is a great opportunity that you and your friend can take advantage of. This is the ideal situation, especially if you're about at the same level. That's really important. If you're at a much higher level than your friend, then it's going to be difficult for you to give each other useful feedback. It may be a little bit too easy for you to give feedback to them. And that feedback will be useful for them, but their feedback might not be that useful for you. And over time, you'll start to feel more like a teacher. Then being in a real partnership, which is not what you want in this situation. If it's going to be long-term, if it's going to be sustainable, it should be someone who's passionate about their English, someone passionate, someone who really wants to improve, someone at about the same level, let's say generally equal level. And someone who's willing to commit, someone who's willing to commit to working with you long-term. Now maybe you just try it out at first. But generally speaking, you want someone who can commit. And if you want to teach a friend who's at a much lower level, go ahead. But that might not last long term as a partnership, as collaboration, working together on improving. Now, what about native English speakers? Well, if you have the opportunity to work with a native English speaker regularly and there's some sort of language exchange. It's possible, it is possible. I know some people who have language exchange partners, you teach them your language. They teach you their language, English. And you talk in both languages and you work out a situation so that both sides have an advantage. That's really important for a partnership. That both sides have an advantage if it's one-sided. And I'm just doing things for you. And I don't really get anything out of it. It's going to be very hard to continue long-term. But if we're both getting something, then it can be very good. Now that is harder to find just because of the supply and demand situation, but it is possible. And I do know people who have found those relationships with native English speakers. Native English speakers want to learn the other language and there's a very good balance and there are services out there that can help you find language exchange partners. But for the long-term, for now, maybe a good starting point would just be this friend and about the same level who's passionate and willing to commit to a kind of relationship to work together on English. Now that you have that, what do you do? You want to be checking each other's work, which means you're going to give each other assignments or tasks. You're going to give each other tasks to do. And there have to be rules. You have to set rules. Now I'm not going to say exactly what the rules have to be. You make the rules with your partner, but you have to have rules if it's just this casual thing where sometimes I do something and I send it to you and you check it. Sometimes you do something and you send it to me and you check it, it's going to eventually we say fizzle out, it's going to fizzle. That means it'll eventually just fade into nothing. But if you have rules and it's habit and there's some regularity. If it's regular. You get into a habit of doing it on a weekly basis, maybe twice a week, then it can really last. And I've seen those relationships last a very long time. So what are some example tasks and rules? While we might say something like every Tuesday, every Tuesday record a two minute to minute recording, video or audio, or a video or only audio, whatever about the weekly topic. And the weekly topic is modern art versus classical art. Whatever, whatever topic you want to set, you could just make the topic a single word. Today's topic as an improvisation task. And the topic is trade. Okay, That's a pretty broad topic, but what comes to mind first? It's improvisation. So whatever comes to mind first, speak for two minutes about trade and you record it. And the rule is you have to send it by the end of Tuesday, no later than Tuesday. So you send it, the other person gets it, then you have a rule for checking it. It must be checked within 24 hours or 12 hours or whatever. 24 hours is good, but you make the rules. I'm just giving you an example here. So weird you I know. Okay, So 24 hours to check it. And then the advantage there is you're listening to their recording, you're writing down issues. So you're paying careful attention to issues. And you might say, Oh, I have that same problem, but you're noticing it. It's a little easier to notice it because it's not yours. It's coming from someone else. So you're able to be a little more objective, but that's also teaching you at the same time. So it's a really great way to develop that awareness and learn more and start noticing things that maybe you didn't notice before. So then you send the feedback and you could say, for example, and then you have 12 hours to do it again or not, then you just stop there. Thanks for the feedback. Great. Maybe you chat about it a little bit, whatever you set the rules. So then maybe there's another one on Friday or Saturday or whatever. So Fridays rule Friday. Friday is three paragraphs. Three paragraphs. And what do you want it to be about? Maybe summarize. It's a summary, and maybe it's a summary of chapter five. So you're reading the same book, by the way, this is another great thing you can do, your reading the same book at the same pace. And you summarize Chapter 5. I summarize Chapter 5 in my own words. So you're working on your logical thinking, your ability to write clearly, to use good syntax and grammar, to use interesting words, to incorporate your knowledge of what you read, your reading comprehension, you're working on a lot of different skills which may help you writing emails in the future. Generally, becoming a better writer means becoming better at English. Overall, it really is a great way to start thinking in English and start playing with the language a little bit. So maybe you do three paragraphs. Maybe it's just one paragraph, or maybe you don't set a limit, whatever summary of Chapter 5, or maybe you do a topic like this one as well, but this one is writing. Then at the end of Friday, you have to submit it by Friday night. So you submit it. The other person then checks if you have two days to check it. If 48 hours. 48 hours to check it, maybe it takes longer to check writing, right? So you read it carefully. You pay attention to things that could be more clear. You give notes on the structure, on the word choice. Maybe you recommend an idiom or a phrase that could be used. Maybe you make some basic corrections. Oh, you have a space here in front of the period, there's a space and then a period. That's incorrect punctuation, that's not good. Also you're using maybe if incorrectly, things like that, you might point out some things in markets. Maybe you do it online using recommendations. There are different kinds of software for doing that. Maybe you like to do with pen and paper using a red pen, like a high school teacher. That's okay too. I'm just giving some suggestions. I want to make it very clear. I'm not telling you you have to do this and you have to do this. I'm not saying you have to do it twice a week. Could do it once a week. You can do it once a month if you want. It's up to you. But it's very important that you set the rules. And it's very important that you're checking each other's work. If there isn't this feedback checking each other's work, then you're not really getting the mutual advantage. You're just throwing something over the wall. Then why do you need a partner if you're just throwing things over the garden wall. If you're checking things though, it's this loop, the cycle. So you have to do something if pressure to do it. So you do it, you work hard at it. And that forces you to research things, think about things and learn things. Look up words. Then you send it over and you get something, you have to check it. To be careful, pay attention, learn a few more things, check a grammar rule over there. This is a process, it's a cycle, and it goes around and around. And the more you go around and around you find, the better you get, the more careful you get, the more you start to notice things you never noticed before. This is what is so powerful about having a good partner. And I would encourage you to continue to change the activities over time. Don't always do the same thing. Be creative. Do things that are fun, do things that are interesting, but always find specific deadlines, use specific times. Always be very clear about that sort of thing, even if it's a little awkward at first. Because again, if you don't, and I've seen people do this sort of casual, whatever type of partnership. It just doesn't really, it doesn't really work. Having rules really helps. 53. Pressure and Attention to Detail: Now then once in a while, take the opportunity to actually speak together. Maybe you just do small talk or maybe you have some activities you want to do, but do a, do a phone call, do a video call, or whatever. Practice speaking just so that you can practice speaking. Just practicing talking to someone can help you build good habits and can get you used to that feeling of speaking. That's actually a really big thing. A lot of people who are really good at English, no, a lot of English just don't have enough practical real-world practice talking with others. And so when they went to find those words, what was that word? Or when they want to put a sentence together? How do I say this? I know I learned this, I studied it 1000 times, but in the moment I can't quite get it out. This is such a common issue, but it's something that you can work on. Of course, you can work on it by yourself, by recording, of course. But having that feeling of another person listening to you, having to respond to another person in the moment. Maybe for example, you decide to do a debate. That's a big challenge. Every two weeks on Wednesday. Do a debate challenge. A topic for today's debate is going to be money. And then you have some questions related to money or health care or whatever, some issues related to those topics. And you have one question and you both read the question and then you choose a side to debate on. I'm going to be in favor of this. I will be against it. Okay. So then you go back and forth debating. You're practicing putting your words together. You're practicing thinking logically in real time very quickly. You're practicing responding to someone in the moment. That's conversation skill. The more you do that, the more comfortable you'll get, the more comfortable you get, the more confidence you get. It really is a kind of positive feedback loop. The more you do it, the better you get, the more you learn, the more you do it, the better you get the more you learn. And it goes around and around and around, and you get better and better and better. And this part of it is also really important. The gym buddy effect. Now, that's another reason why you have to choose specific times. But why do people have gym buddies? People have gym buddies because they know, oh, my friend is going to go to the gym at 730 and I'm going to be meeting him or her there. I have to go. I need to go. There's a feeling of pressure. Now. Is that good pressure or bad pressure? It's good pressure. We want that kind of pressure. Pressure is not something we should avoid. Pressure is good. Stresses maybe not so good, but giving yourself a little pressure, that's very positive. You need someone to hold you accountable sometimes. Because isn't it so easy for some of us to just say, I won't go to the gym today, whatever. I'll go tomorrow. Right. It's so easy to do that for some of us. I know some of you are very disciplined. And when it comes to practicing English, it's really no different. You need to find ways to have good pressure. We talked about signing up for the islets exam or an interview or something like that. And that's good pressure. Now, what about finding a partner? You know that your partner is working on their writing assignment, I'd better work on mine. I don't want to be the one to not do it, right? That would look silly. Especially if you have three or four people in a group that's also good or who I'd better do my speaking assignment tonight so that if I need to, I can redo it tomorrow if it's not good enough. So I'll do it early. This is really pushing you in a good way to force yourself, to get better, to force yourself to do things that maybe aren't super fun doing exercises. These things may not be super fun. This is not part of the English-learning lifestyle. This is not really part of swimming around in the language because you enjoy it. That's important too. That's great. You have to do that. You need to do that. But for those things that are difficult, that are not so fun, exercises, practice, it's good to have some accountability. It's good to have some positive pressure. And because you know, they're checking your work, they're listening to your audio recording very carefully. They're editing your writing very carefully making notes using a lot of red pen. Very carefully. You're going to feel some pressure to do the same thing, to read. There's very carefully to make a lot of notes, to listen very carefully, to write things down that they can improve upon, to really have an attention to detail that you might not otherwise have. And that is also a very important thing. If you show attention to detail, that's going to benefit your partner or partners. And then if they show attention to detail, because they know that you will show attention to detail, then you are going to benefit from their work. You're going to get a lot of great feedback that's going to help you get better stuff that you can think about, which you may not have noticed. Now, when it comes to partners and finding a good partner, I always get one question. But what if it's not correct? What if it's wrong? What if it's incorrect? Something that they corrected in my work? Or what if something I do is incorrect and I thought it was a correction, but it's not. It will happen. It will happen. So yes, if your partner is a native English speaker, that's a good thing. Your corrections are going to be very accurate. But again, not as easy to find a good partner like that, right. So then is it really going to benefit me if the person checking my practices just about at my level? Yes. Why? Well, first of all, it's not likely that your issues in areas of knowledge are exactly the same. You are very likely to know things that they don't know, that you'll notice when they do something that's maybe incorrect or needs to be corrected or can be improved. And they are likely to know things that you don't know. You may have missed, you may have made a mistake and they know the correct way. So you're going to be able to catch things and you're probably going to be looking up what they correct. You're probably going to be searching words that they recommend or grammar points that they suggest, things that correct. So then you can check if what they gave you is accurate. And that process of checking can also help you. So generally speaking, while feedback may not be absolutely perfect and always correct, overall, you're going to make progress forward together. Overall. You will correct more things than you miss. Overall, there will be more improvement than steps backward, or maybe a couple little things here and there. You have a mistake or a misunderstanding together, it'll happen. But if you step back and you look at the whole picture, as long as you have a partner who has attention to detail, who is passionate was about at your level, who's really into it just like you are. If you look at the big picture, you're going to see a picture of progress and you're going to make a lot of progress not only for the corrections, but also the pressure, also the accountability. So if you don't have a partner, good luck finding one. If you already have your partner. Good luck building out a plan with rules to help you both progress together. Let me know if you have any questions about this or anything else. And I will see you in the next video. 54. Strategies for Remembering Things: When I was young, my father taught me a very powerful technique for remembering things. And it is something that I use still today, I use it very often to remember things that I need to remember, whether that's ideas or words, thoughts that I've had, dates, phone numbers, whatever it may be. It's very powerful. Now, in this lesson, I'm going to teach you that and we're going to talk a bit about remembering things. What works for one person may not work for everyone. So I'm not saying that my way of remembering things will work for you. But because I think you already know the other methods, I'm going to introduce this one to you just because it's not as well-known. But again, it is quite powerful. If it works for you, for some people, it doesn't work very well. Well, what if it doesn't, what should you do? You may use flashcards if you're trying to, for example, remember words or you're trying to remember idioms, use flashcards. But if you do use flashcards, I would strongly recommend you use spaced repetition. Now there are some different systems out there to help you with this. One of them is called Anki, but there are many. And you can find one that works for you if you want to use spaced repetition. This really means that the frequency of the repetition of the flashcards is just right. So that as you're about to forget the thing, it comes up again. And each time it gets stretched out a little bit farther, a little bit farther, a little bit farther so that you just remember it. So maybe at first it'll show up every few flashcards, and then it'll show up every 10 flashcards and then every 30 flashcards and then every 60 flashcards like that. And that is actually scientifically proven to be a good way to memorize. Now, I should just mention the risk here is when you memorize something as a flashcard, often it doesn't come up with the full context. We're talking about how important context is to remember the usage, how it's used, where it's used, when it's used, who uses it? All of those examples that we talked about that we need to use to get a sense for it to feel how we should use it. Well, yes, that's a downside. So that is a con as a con of spaced repetition. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying keep that in mind and know when you should use it and maybe when you shouldn't use it. I'm certainly not telling you don't use flashcards. It works very well for some people. But what I'm going to talk about is something called the mind palace technique. Now when I first learned this as a child, it was just four numbers. I could memorize 50 numbers, a 100 numbers, 200 numbers, whatever, pretty easily. Using this method, we're not going to focus on numbers. We're going to focus on how to remember an idiom before we go through the steps, before we go through the example, here's just the main idea. You want to connect. The thing you want to learn with something very powerful about memory. Something very powerful about memory are the experiences that we have which stand out, which are unusual. You might forget what you did yesterday, except for that one unusual thing that you saw on the street, which you'll remember for a long time. We have this interesting ability to very easily remember odd things. Especially if those odd things are somehow personal to us. They're connected to things that are close to us. So that's really an important insight and that's what this method is based on. Except we're not talking about physical strange things, we're talking about things in the imagination. So you really, for this method, you have to use your imagination. And you're using your imagination to connect the thing you want to learn to something strange. You're creating the strange thing. And you're placing the strange thing in an imaginary place. That's basically it. And it takes a little work to get used to it. But once you get used to it, it gets easier. And you can place things easily and you only need to do it once, not a 1000 times like spaced repetition once, and then it's there. And two years later you can go back and revisit it like it's your old high school. As I said, I've been using this for a long time. So I will sometimes go for walks, not in the physical world, but in my imagination and just pick up little things. I remember this. Oh yes, this, oh yes, and this. It's really incredible. So let's let's go through the steps now. 55. Mind Palace in Practice: What do you do is you have in mind the thing you want to remember. For this example, we're going to be doing an idiom. You choose a place that you know, well, maybe it is a childhood room. Maybe it is where you went to school. Maybe it is a park where you go for a walk every day, some place, usually a pretty big place, someplace that you know really, really well that you can revisit in your imagination. If you close your eyes, you can walk around in it. And then, you know it's the right place. If you're not quite sure if it's fuzzy, if you've only been there a few times, don't choose that. Maybe it's the campus of your university. Maybe it's your childhood home that may not be big enough depending on how many things you want to remember, but it might, it might work often you put things that you want to remember in groups. Like you might say, I'm going to remember idioms about the body, or this is my noun and part of town. That is my verb, part of town that I know well, okay. So you pick the thing and then you choose the place. You choose the place that you know well, then you make a path through the place, not physically in your imagination. You walk along the path. Maybe you do it a couple times so that you have a clear path that you go through every time it's the same, then you put the thing you're trying to remember along the path. Maybe if it's in your old high-school, you place it under the drinking fountain, or maybe on one of your teachers desks. You place it there. It has to be in a, in a place in your imagination, in your mind and you know where you're going to put it. Okay, so put it there. Then this is the key part. You connect it with something extremely strange or memorable. You have to use your imagination to do this. The memorable point should relate to the thing that you're trying to remember. It should be connected somehow. And when you see that memorable thing, That's strange, very strange thing. It reminds you of what you're remembering or what it means. For example, if we're learning idioms, it might remind me, I'll, yeah, that's what it means. Okay, so let's make one of these. Let's learn the idiom. A change of heart. A change of heart. And please don't judge me too much for being weird. I have a weird imagination. I can't help it. Also, it's very important. I'm giving you this one as an example, and I'm not saying that works for you. Again, it has to be very personal. It has to be weird to you. If what I say is not weird to you or not memorable to you, you shouldn't use that. It has to be your own thing close to you. Something that you think is strange were very memorable. So what is a change of heart? Well, generally, a change of heart is when someone changes their view on something. Usually it's a fairly big thing that relates to their lives or some opinion, or perhaps something related to their lifestyle. You thought this way. Now you think that way, you change the way you think, but it's not for tiny little things like, do you want chocolate or vanilla? Right now? I'll have chocolate. Another now have vanilla. Who? He had a change of heart. We wouldn't use it for such small things. But if it's a lifestyle change, like for two years, I didn't need any ice cream. And then I realized ice cream is an important part of life. I had a change of heart. I changed my lifestyle now I eat ice cream every day. Okay, that's a weird example, but that's not my memory palace. Here is my memory palace story. Are you ready? So there's a park not far from my house in Queens. I go for a walk there very often. And so I know it really well. There's a small pond, there are there are a bunch of reads that grow up and there are even reads there in the winter. And there are a lot of people walking around and a few benches. There is one bench that I can picture really well because it has a bunch of scratches on it. Okay. So I'm going to choose a path around the pond that is my walking path. So I'm walking along the pond along this path. On my left. There's the pond, some ducks quacking in the water. On my right, the bench with the scratches. Now, sitting on the bench is the famous comedian Kevin Hart. I can picture him very well if you don't know him is a famous comedian. He's very funny. I'm a big fan of Kevin Hart. And I looked down at my left hand and I have a cup of coffee, cup of Starbucks coffee. It's very hot, makes my hand feel kind of hot. The more you add detail, the better. And I walked toward Kevin Hart and I want to do something nice. And I offer it to him and he stands up and I offer him the coffee. He takes it. He holds it in his hand and he looks at me with disgust. And I picture his look of disgust. And he throws the coffee on the ground. And I feel confused. And then he says, I hate coffee. Now I choose coffee because coffee is my favorite thing. If someone doesn't like coffee, I can't believe it. How could you not like coffee? Okay. Now follow along. This is where it gets weird. Now, I looked down at my right hand and in my right hand. There is a, a heart, a human heart of beating. Human heart. It's bloody. I don't know where I got it. It's just in my hand. Very visual, right. Disgusting. Now I walked toward Kevin Hart. I walked toward Kevin Hart and I reach into his chest and pull out his heart. He's fine. And I take the heart that I had in my other hand and I shove it into his chest. And again, he's fine. He looks a little surprise though. I've taken out the heart of Kevin Hart and I have changed it. I have replaced it with another. So he has had a change of heart. But what's the coffee thing about? Right? After I put the new heart into his chest. He looks around, he blinks, and then he looks down at the spilled coffee on the ground and he looks back up at me. He seems sad. And somehow I have another cup of coffee. So I hand that to him. It was a little blood on there. It's okay. And he takes it and he looks down and he says, I love coffee. I love coffee. So he's changed his view. He's changed how he feels about this thing. Now, this is a very gross story. And I apologize. But you have to make it weird or gross or strange in some way if it's going to work. I chose Kevin Hart because I've seen a lot of his stand-up comedy. I've seen him in movies. I know what his face looks like. I can picture him very well making a disgusted face or a shocked face. I can imagine it well. And because his name is Hart, and that reminds me about the heart thing. So I have two things. Sounds the same and it just reminds me, oh yeah, there's that thing where I changed his heart and then the coffee thing because that's so important to me that I would be shocked if someone didn't like coffee and now he likes it. Okay. So that's the process. Do you think I will ever forget the expression, a change of heart? No way. I've only needed to remember it once I used my imagination to create something, to create a vivid imagination in a place that I know well. All I have to do is revisit that park in my mind. Walk along beside the lake, the ducks and then I look over it, that bench. What's Kevin Hart doing here? And then everything else just plays out like a movie. I don't even have to do anything. So creating something like this, something very memorable. It takes work. You have to practice it and get good at it. But you can get better and better and it gets quicker and easier to do. I've been doing it for a long time, so I can do it pretty fast. But the great thing about it is that once you do it, once it's there, it's like you've placed it in a real place. All I have to do is go to that park. It's like Kevin Hart is sitting there right now waiting for me to visit. And I will never forget that thing. And you can create these and if you're careful about it and you do it in the right way and it's really vivid. It's like making a whole world for yourself. And that's why it's called a mind palace. Sometimes called a memory. A memory palace. It's pretty cool. Again. Maybe this technique doesn't work for you. But I wanted to introduce it to you just because for me it's so important, It's a big, actually a big part of my life. Whenever I read books, I'm always remembering things from the books that I read using this technique. If you decide to do this, I would be very curious to hear about what you're imagining. If you'd like to share those with me, make sure you do, at least try it out, give it a try and see if it works for you or not. Good luck. 56. You made it!: Well, congratulations, you made it to the end of the course. You should be really proud of yourself to have come all this way. And for me, it's been really fun. It's been great to take you with me through it. I hope that you have enjoyed it as well. What I like to do here at the end of the course is just to a quick overview of the main things that we talked about in the course. The main things that I want you to take away from the course, and if any of these seem a little fuzzy, maybe go back and review those lessons, that's okay. You can go back through the course anytime if you feel like you want to get something a little bit more clearly, whether it's one of the main learning approaches we talked about or one of the more specific step by step processes that we went over. Again. I really hope that you enjoyed the process of taking the course and it really is fun for me to teach a course like this. I really enjoy teaching it. If you'd like to leave some feedback on the course, please do. I would love to know how you felt about it. Also, I've got a lot of other courses about thinking in English, about pronunciation and phrases and grammar, all of that stuff, you can check out my other courses. Feel free to do that if you have any questions about anything, let me know. Now, let's go over some of the main ideas from this course. Some of the main takeaways from this course. 57. Course Recap: Keep your mind focused on your goals. You need a North Star, but your north star should be specific, measurable, maybe general. And once you have your goal, once you know what it is, once you have a specific thing in mind, hold it in your mind, write it down, and then make a plan to follow it. You don't have to only have one goal. You may have two goals, three goals for goals, and probably don't make your goal. I want to improve my English because of course you do. Be more specific. Be a little bit more clear, and then you'll know which specific actions you can take to reach your goal or your goals. Become a curious explorer in English, I want you to enjoy learning English, and that may mean separating out the things which are not so fun. The exercises from the swimming pool stuff, the fun stuff, the movies, the reading articles, the reading books. They're listening to things you like, that sort of fun stuff, your windows into the language. That should be the fun part, the stuff that you're curious about, the stuff that you really want to explore. So make sure you know what you enjoy. Find your windows and go through them. Build out your English learning lifestyle and know what your lifestyle is, practice it regularly, create your lifestyle and follow it. But it should be again, something that you can continue long-term. Something that's not just an OH, I'm excited this week and then you give up a week later. No, it should be long-term, it should be regular, should be practice. But of course it should also be fun or at least interesting. I want you to also work on becoming self aware. If you become more self-aware of your pronunciation of the issues that you have, maybe the things you might want to improve your usage of words, whatever, you need to be more self-aware so that you can identify those things. Then you can start to, for example, pause to correct yourself, make some adjustments. Then you might start doing that in your head so that you can start building your habits to get rid of the bad habits and start growing like little trees that grow into big apple trees, growing positive habits. And once you start building those positive habits, they'll start growing very quickly. And then it will be easier to build more good habits. It's a positive feedback loop. The more you do it, the easier it gets, the more you do it, the easier it gets. It's also very important to make sure that your ear is a powerful language learning tool. We talked about that a lot. How most of the time people are learning through their eyes, right? But you have this weapon here, this powerful thing. What if you had this great thing that you could always have been using, but you never really did. You're always using only this. But you had this to the whole time and you never really developed it. What a tragedy. If you've never developed it, very important to start working on your listening skills so that this becomes as good as this, or even better, ideally, even better. Remember, we also talked about learning in English, not through your language. That if you learn through your language all the time, you have to carry it with you wherever you go in a big bag and it's very heavy and you feel tired all the time. Whenever you want to say a word you're translating between languages. I feel exhausted all the time when I speak in English. I'm always translating in my head. You have to start thinking in English. And to do that, you have to learn in English. Do you really need to know the translation of the word incentive or any other word or phrase directly into your language. Do you need to look that up to make sure that you know? No, you don't. Babies who are learning English aren't using little dictionaries to translate things from baby language into English. Or they know they grow up in it. They surround themselves with it. They learn in it, and they get it. And they never need to know anything else. You don't need to know anything else. When you're learning English. Learning English. When you're learning your language, learn your language. When you're learning another language, learn the other language. You don't have to bring these things into each other. That makes it more confusing and more difficult. So start thinking in English. If you want to use the English language. Well, if you want to speak well, maybe you want to write well. You have to actually create things with English. You have to practice this as a skill. Learning English does not automatically make you good at English. There are plenty of people who know a lot of English. There are plenty of people who can understand everything they hear. Who, when they're required to speak, can barely say a word, can barely put a sentence together. Hey, it happens. I've met people like this. It happens. Why? Because there is no output, there is no creation. If you want to get good at using the language, you have to make things with it. You have to have output. You have to do things in English. Learn a word, write a few sentences with the word. Learn some grammar. Make a few sentences with the grammar. Learn a new idea related to culture. Have a conversation about it. Whenever you get something, make sure it is balanced with output. Whenever you have input, balance it with output. Now, that seems like a strange thing, but it's very, very important because if you get used to the feeling of making things with the English language, of putting things out there, creating things than speaking will be easy. Becoming a better writer will be easy. But you have to first get used to that idea. It's very important. It's good to study hard, very important. But you can go in all kinds of random directions and finally end up almost nowhere. I mentioned that I know students who had been practicing for years and never really improve for different reasons. One reason is that they don't really know how to study. They're not doing it right. You can study very hard the wrong way, so make sure you're working smart. That's really what this course is about. But before you just do things so that you feel good about doing it. I did it, I did something. Don't just do things. Know why you're doing things. Have a plan, have a goal. Think carefully about is this the best way to do it? Will doing this make me better at something better at what used the ideas, the principles, the steps, the exercises from this course to help you move in the right direction so that you're working efficiently, so that everything that you do has a real impact. Remember, we talked about the 820. We want to 1820 our English so that every little action has a very big impact on the final result. It may feel very nice when something is easy. When you watch a video and say, Oh, that was easy, I understood every word. Or when you have a basic conversation and it was very easy and you feel, oh, I did a perfect job. Great. Congratulations. Or you fill in the blanks of a little grammar book and you get them all right. And you say, oh, yes, I did it. Well, that might be nice for your confidence. But unless you're really pushing yourself, you're not going to make much progress. Always be aware of the uphill climb. If you're walking on flat ground or downhill, you might not be making much progress. Everything's too easy. If you feel that everything's easy, are you going to improve? Probably not. If it's too hard. If it's a steep cliff face, it's going to be very hard. According to feel overwhelmed, you're going to give up. So always feel that slight discomfort, that feeling of being little tired. This is a little hard, but it's okay, I can do it. That's a good feeling. You know, you're at the edge of your abilities. You know, you're right there and you're making progress. So always be aware of that. And note that that will not stay the same as you improve. Then what you're able to do will also change. You're able to do more. What was hard last month is now easy. And there's a new kind of thing that's hard. So just be aware of that. That's a changing thing. You always have to be aware of what your limitations are and push against them. Remember that when you learn things, you should learn them in context. If you want to use flashcards, It's okay. If you want to learn idioms by themselves, it's okay. But much, much better is to learn things in some kind of context. You find a word in a movie, phrase in a movie, you find an idiom in a book that you're reading, you write it down, you search it, you'll look at the examples you make a few of your own examples. Remember this process that we talked about because just knowing words is not enough. My dictionary knows words. I can talk to my dictionary, but my dictionary can't really have a conversation. My dictionary doesn't know how to think of something to say to me and use those words in a very interesting way. Maybe someday, but at the moment, Not really. So that's the key. You learn words for a reason. You learn words to communicate with others. So when you learn them, learn them in context that way and by the way, practice them in context that way. When you speak, when you write, it sounds natural when you're in a conversation and you're searching for the right word, book. There it is. The word is there, right when you need it because you remember the context. Oh, this is the kind of situation that people use this word in. I learned that. So I know, just remember what communication is for language is about communication. It's all about the context. Finally, don't be afraid to speak. Those who just try, remember seven, that student. Those who just try improve faster. Those who have the attitude of, let's see what happens. Let me just try this. I know it's too difficult. I might look silly. People may laugh at me, but I'm just going to try. Those who do that or have that way of thinking tend to get better faster. And those who sit back and say, Oh, I better not say anything because I might make a mistake. Those who do that tend to improve more slowly. Maybe they improve, but much more slowly. And they tend to not be able to have natural conversations. Now the person who is just trying things may not be good at the start, but they will get better, faster. They will be the ones in group situations or discussions, getting the benefit of those discussions, not just improving their listening by listening to the discussion. Here we are in a live conversation, here we are in a dialogue. Let's really talk. Let me try to say something here. And that's going to maybe be uncomfortable or feel a little shy. But I'm going to push myself past it. And if I do that, the next time, it'll be a little easier. The next time it will be a little easier and a little easier. And then I'll be having conversations. No difficulty, no feeling of anxiety or stress. I'll start to feel more relaxed and conversations will be easy. But you have to push yourself past that point of shyness, of fear. Don't worry, nobody really cares. Nobody is really judging you that much. If somebody giggles or laughs, who cares, they just do that and then it's done and then the conversation continues. So push yourself past that. Don't be afraid. Just speak, just try and you're going to improve a lot faster, I promise. So that is it for this course. Thank you again for joining me on this journey. If you'd like to let me know how you felt about the course, don't forget to leave a review. If you have any questions about anything, let me know and if you want to continue learning, feel free to check out any of my other courses. I have courses on idioms and phrases, thinking in English, pronunciation, grammar and a bunch more stuff. So check those out if you like, and I will see you in the next course. Bye.