The secret to learning a language is to do things you want to do. By English with Stephen

Do Anything You Wanna Do!

This is the transcript for the podcast that explores the learning strategy for English of doing things that you love.

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I’m Stephen Greene and this is Learning English with Stephen. The idea of these short podcasts is to pass on some of the best tips and strategies I have found over the last 25 years of teaching English. If you would like more information on the topics we cover, go to my site, EnglishwithStephen.com for links and videos. You will also find out how you can have online classes with me.

In today’s episode, I am going to focus on something that I believe is true for everyone about learning English. A lot of my students, and the people I talk to on my Facebook page Learning English with Stephen, ask me the same question: “What is the best way to learn English?”

On the one hand, this is a difficult question because there are so many different strategies to help you learn English. Should you study grammar or vocabulary? Should you listen to songs or read books? Can you learn on your own or do you need a teacher?

However, on the other hand, it is a very simple question because my answer is “Do anything you wanna do.” No, this is not about the classic 1977 hit song from Eddie and the Hot Rods, although that is a brilliant song.

I will explain after this short musical interlude.

I am going to start today with a story. A true story about my time at school many, many years ago. I loved my history class, and in particular, I loved my teacher Mr. Roberts. In fact, he had a nickname at school because everyone seemed to love him and his classes, we called him Uncle Pete.

Anyway, until this day I can remember so many of the facts and dates that Uncle Pete taught us. He presented history as a kind of story. Everything had a narrative that meant we wanted to know what happened next. Going to his classes was not work, it was a joy. Doing the homework he gave us was not something to be hated, it was something to be loved.

I, and most of my friends, wanted to go to his class and so it wasn’t hard work at all. This contrasted with some other classes that nobody wanted to go to. I’m thinking about one particular French teacher who was just terrible.

My point is, that if you find something you want to do, you can do it for hours. And the same applies to learning English. Now, you might be a lucky person in that you love studying English, or you have a wonderful teacher who makes everything enjoyable. If so, well done you.

Not everyone is as lucky though. The trick is to find a way of studying English that you like. Do you like reading books? Well, find some readers that will help you learn English. Do you prefer listening to songs or watching TV? Find some strategies that use music or series to help you learn (for example, episodes 13 and 15 of this podcast). Do you respond well to apps on your phone that teach through games? Try Duolingo.

There are many different ways to learn a language and there is no one right way. What works for you might not work for the person sitting next to you in class. There are wrong ways to learn English. The wrong way is to do what you think is boring, frustrating or terrible. If you follow this way you will quickly learn to hate everything associated with English and you will probably stop studying.

So find something you want to do. Find anything you wanna do! Life is too short to waste it on the wrong stuff.

What do you like to do when studying English? I’d love to hear your ideas by leaving a comment. You could also tell me what you hate doing to learn English. Even if you don’t want to leave a comment, read some of the replies, they might have some good ideas that you could use in the future.

You can find all the other podcasts I have produced at EnglishwithStephen.com. Give them a listen and maybe you can find something you want to do. If you go to my site, you will find a link to the great Eddie and the Hot Rods singing how you should ‘Do Anything you Wanna Do.’

Image of young black woman with arms out wide enjoying life. Text: Do anything you wanna do. How to choose language study tasks by English with Stephen
Live life to the full!

 

2 comments

  1. I’m Nadia I want to have fluently speaking and be a good translator of English but I cannot .please give me a suggestion thanks

    1. Hi Nadia,

      Thank you for your comment. I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply. It has been a crazy week.

      It is difficult to give you a suggestion, as I don’t know exactly what your English is like or how you like to learn.

      In general, I would say that learning vocabulary is extremely important, so I would recommend you focus on that. One of the best ways to learn vocabulary is with a lexical notebook. I talked about why a lexical notebook is so useful, and how you can start one in a previous episode: Lexical Notebooks

      Good luck!

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