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Back Burner Grammar: Wrong Strategy

Are You Putting Your Focus on Grammar on the Back Burner?

Are You Putting Your Focus on Grammar on the Back Burner?

Yesterday one of my EFL learners put his grammar on the back burner. He wanted to have a 45 minute conversation class and didn't want to think about how to use grammar when speaking English. I don't think he realized how he was sabotaging his English fluency.

He pointed out that he did not want a grammar lesson but just wanted to talk.

My learner doesn't live in an English speaking country so opportunities for him to speak English socially don't come very often.

 

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Is Singing the Chorus Really Worth It?

Et les yeux dans les yeux - Singing the Chorus Works

Et les yeux dans les yeux - Singing the Chorus Works

Years ago when I was first learning to speak a foreign language, I learned the value of integrating singing the chorus to my language learning strategies.

I was fifteen and my high school French teacher brought a record to school. Yes, a vinyl record! It was called: Tous les garçons et les filles.

At the time, most of the words I didn't understand but fifty-three years later, I still remember the chorus because that's what our teacher had us repeat several times in the class along with the songstress.

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The Importance of Meaningful Repetition

Meaningful repetition helps to build new neural pathways.

Meaningful repetition helps to build new neural pathways.

The importance of meaningful repetition cannot be emphasized enough. I often hear English learners voice their concern about not making progress fast enough. They feel they understand the grammar well enough to apply it to their spoken English correctly.  However, it's difficult to put the rules into practice just like that.

Concentrating on the message you're trying to communicate and the grammar simultaneously is hard to do. Do you find this to be the case?

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Your Lexical Notebook – Secret Tool to Fluency

Your Lexical Notebook is Your Ticket to Building Vocabulary

Your Lexical Notebook is Your Ticket to Efficient Vocabulary Building

Without your lexical notebook, you would eventually end up with lists of a whole lot of words.  Without any rules or guidelines, learning them would be very difficult. You wouldn't know how to combine them in the ways a native English speaker would.   Learning words alone as separate units would become a daunting task to memorize.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

There's a better way to learn vocabulary. We need to recognize words as lexis where we see the words in phrases and in groups of words that combine to form meaningful word chunks. These groups are called idioms, collocations, fixed and semi-fixed phrases-expressions.

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Strategies for Reading More Effectively

Read Regularly for Long Term Benefits

Read Regularly for Long Term Benefits

'Reading is a constant process of guessing, and what one brings to the text is often more important than what one finds in it. This is why, from the very beginning, the students should be taught to use what they know to understand unknown elements, whether these are ideas or simple words.'

source: Grellet. F. (1981) Developing reading skills, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

For those of you contemplating taking the IELTS exam, it is particularly important to keep these words in mind. When you try to read the given text word by word you will discover very quickly that you won't have enough time to complete the exam. You'll be scrambling at the end in an attempt to complete all the questions. It will have become quite clear that you invested too much time in intensive reading at the outset when you should have saved that as the last step to do.

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