Is Learning English like getting fit?

RIGHT HABITS - YESIn this blog post, I want to present the idea that learning a language in our times works in the same way as when we want to achieve physical well-being.
A. Why should we compare learning a language with fitness?

1. Because both take time to reach. We must be reasonable with time setting.
2. Because both require a maintenance work once these goals are met.

B. How do these two concepts resemble each other?

1. The best system is the one in which you persevere.

There is no perfect gym, no perfect instructor or perfect diet; nor is there a perfect time to start taking care of your health. The problem is that few people persevere on their goals to get fit. In the same way, there is no perfect day to start studying English, but many people just postpone their English learning.
I can spend a lot of time reading about English classes, the best teachers, the best academy, etc. Sometimes we tend to postpone the beginning until we have less work, until we finish the master degree, until we find a perfect book or a perfect app. This will postpone the beginning forever! Do not waste your time finding a perfect system, you’d better start and do it as soon as possible. Once inside the training, you must resolve not to leave it. Get clear goals and do not leave it. It is the only way to see results.

2. We must make each training session count.
An exercise routine done without any effort on your part would never benefit you. In fitness, intense training coupled with the right combination of weight-lifting will make the muscles work hard, adapt and grow bigger and stronger. No matter what exercise we do, it is important to do it conscientiously and with maximum intensity. In the same way, using your English class just to talk is not the most efficient. To achieve results, we must take advantage of class hours with exercises aimed at improving those areas in which we have difficulty, we must work on the acquisition of vocabulary, try to use new sentences, etc. Let every minute of your study session count!
Psychologist Anders Ericsson coined the term “deliberate practice” by investigating how people become experts. Studying experts from different fields, Ericsson dismantled the myth that experts in a particular practice (or profession) have innate talents out of the ordinary. Instead, this psychologist discovered that experts achieve their maximum performance by practicing in a certain way: it is a deliberate effort to become better, to challenge themselves. Experts are always characterized by trying to improve their performance beyond their current level. Just like in fitness, to learn English, every effort counts!RUN THE DAY

3. It is important to record our progress.
From the first training session, fitness machines record the number of repetitions of each exercise you did and the calories you burned. This helps you keep track of your progress from session to session.
Progress in learning your English must be recorded and measured in a number of ways. You can measure the results of each class based on the goal of the session and then measure the overall results by certifying what you have learned. Getting an international certification like TOEIC® for each of the level you achieve in English gives you an accurate look at the level of English you have achieved. At YES, our students get a certification after 6 months of training in English. That’s a great way to measure results accurately!

4. In the end, those who achieve long-term results are those who change their habits.
According to Dr. Gary Foster, clinical director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Weight and Eating Disorders Program, nearly 65 percent of dieters return they had before the diet in three years. Other studies indicate that only 5 percent of people who lose weight on a strict diet can maintain their weight after three years! This crude reality has its origin in bad habits, which do not disappear with a diet. Changing eating habits requires a change of thinking, a different way of looking at health and weight.
Likewise, if you are going to work hard at improving your English for a year, you will definitely learn, but if you do not have a long-term plan on how to keep practicing your English, you may eventually forget important concepts and a lot of vocabulary. It is vital to keep your English updated, not necessarily with English classes but with other resources like videos, books, podcast and other resources that should be interesting for you, particularly, so that you enjoy this practice without it becoming a burden.

As you can see, persevering, changing habits and thinking about the long-term, is the way to success when it comes to learning a language. This is not an easy path, but your motivation must rely on the benefits you will have by speaking a second language, and all you can achieve once you do.

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How to Improve your Presentations in English

Most of my students already do great presentations in their own language, so I usually teach them key phrases and expressions so they can do the same in English. However, I’ve seen my students benefit a lot from watching real presentations like this one. Let’s watch this timeless Steve Jobs’ presentation: Why is it so memorable? What are the phases and expressions I could also use in my next presentation?

Steve Jobs’ 2007 presentation for the very first iPhone is definitely an unforgettable pitch. It is considered Jobs’ best presentation ever, and here are some speaking techniques and also expressions to help you deliver a better presentation.

Jobs begins his presentation by reviewing the “revolutionary” products Apple has introduced before. He says: “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. And Apple has been – well, first of all, one’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career” He goes on to describe the 1984 launch of the Macintosh as an event that “changed the entire computer industry.” The same goes for the introduction of the first iPod in 2001, a product that he says “changed the entire music industry.”

The theme
During the whole presentation Jobs states how important this presentation is, because “we have reinvented the phone”. The presentation is based on this idea and everything is constructed around it.

The teaser
A teaser is a strategy for attracting the audience’s attention. Jobs teases the audience by saying: “Today, we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first one is a wide-screen iPod with touch controls. The second one is a revolutionary new mobile phone. And the third one is a breakthrough Internet communications device.” He repeats the three devices several times then says, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device…today Apple is going to reinvent the phone!”

So, what’s the takeaway?

  • Bring in something unexpected in your presentations. He could have chosen to just say: “I’m here today to show you the new iPhone” But instead, he chooses to build up tension and intrigue, connecting the new product with something the audience will easily relate to.
  • Jobs also uses the wonderful formula: one slide, one key point. For example, when he introduced the “three revolutionary products” in the description, he didn’t show one slide with three devices. Instead, he talks about each feature (a widescreen iPod, a mobile phone, and an Internet communicator), in one separate slide for each.
  • Finally, Jobs makes the slides highly visual. No bullet points or data, just images. Very memorable!

Five Key Expressions you Can Use on your Next Presentation:

  1. To build anticipation and express how excited you are: This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years.
  2. Giving some background information: So, before we get into it, let me talk about a category of things.
  3. Rhetorical questions: So what do you do? Well, how do you solve this? Now, how are we gonna communicate this? Isn’t that great?
  4. To catch your audience’s attention: Now, let me show you something else.
  5. To close your presentation, go back to the main theme and round up the idea: I think that if you have a chance to get your hand on it, you’ll agree, we have reinvented the phone.

Improve your Presentations in English with Steve Jobs.jpg

I hope these are helpful thoughts. If you’re still struggling with your English for presentations, do let me know in the comments below. What are other areas you struggle with? What have you found helpful in order to improve?

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Where does Real Motivation Come From?

Where does real motivation come from-

As a teacher, I have seen students who are definitely engaged and full of positive feelings towards learning. It’s not surprising that those are the students who succeed and the ones who get the most out of every lesson I teach.
Dear student, this message is for you:
Remember how badly you wanted to learn how to drive when you finally had the age for it? I bet nobody had to motivate you or try to convince you that you had to learn. Your motivation came from within. Also, if you were in the middle of the jungle and had to sleep in a tent, you’d definitely learn how to put it up, because your safety would depend on it.
My point is that if you don’t find the real value in what you are learning, you are more likely to give up. Even if you have a great teacher and a great course there is a responsibility that comes with learning. And you need to know that so you can take charge of your own learning.
Motivation is simply the ability of the student to see the value of what they’re learning.
So, ask yourself: What am I going to get out of this course/ class/ English programme? How is my life going to change when I speak English fluently? How will it be beneficial for me? And most importantly: What are my priorities?
As teachers, our job is to help our students to know those answers and to reassure them that the outcome is worth the effort. Let’s go on and don’t give up.

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How Long Will it Take For Me to Learn English?

How Long Will it Take For Me to Learn English-Everyone knows that practice makes perfect.

My goal in life is having my students achieve that perfection in English. The way they get there is what intrigues me: What’s the best way? How to keep them engaged throughout the whole process? I want them to improve faster and make it easier. But unfortunately I haven’t yet found that shortcut, that shorter road to learning. Apparently, learning English takes time. Continue reading

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3 Amazing YouTube Channels to Learn English

No.09I know you are always interested in improving your English. So, have you tried learning English on YouTube? Sounds too informal?  YouTube isn’t just about cats and silly videos anymore! Actually, there are thousands of free YouTube videos to help you improve your English.
So, here’s a list of 3 amazing YouTube channels to improve your English:

James the teacher offers great lessons the fast and crazy way, but if you watch, you will learn!
BBC Learnign English. This one has great grammar, drama, news, study, pronunciation, vocabulary, music, interviews, and much more!
The Daily English Show. This is the world’s first and only daily online English language show. Very nice!

I love variety, so here’s one more that don’t necessarily teach you English but will be a lot of fun and of course good practice, too! Check out Tommy Edison’s Channel. Tommy has been blind since birth and in his channel he answers the most common questions about being blind. Soooo interesting!!! Check it out!

I hope these are helpful and add some variety to your English Language learning. Let’s keep practicing!!!

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Dear teacher: This is the question you’re NOT asking your students.

This is the question you're NOT asking your students.Recently I was watching a video from one of my favorite authors. The video introduced a unique way to think about a problem and how to solve it. It was basically about how we approach problem-solving and how we need to look at a problem differently by asking ourselves a different question. This means we stand from a different perspective that will allow us to look at the problem more deeply.

I think one of the typical problems a teacher has is actually why our students don’t get the breakthrough they are expecting or why some of them don’t seem to be motivated in class and therefore seem far away from their goals.

So I tried to ask myself a different question and then it came to me.

I have never, ever, asked my students what they LIKE to do in class, I’ve never asked them -directly – what motivates them.

It may sound silly but I go to class, having prepared before, I give my best energy, carefully select the materials and focus on the outcome, and I somehow get an idea of my students’ level of satisfaction by the look on their faces. Although it is actually embarrassing to admit this, I also have to say that I don’t remember any teacher asking ME what I liked to do in class. I don’t know why!

I mean, how can we raise our students’ level of motivation if we never make them part of the process? How do we expect them to partner with us in the success of the English language program we’re providing?

Asking this question may require a higher level of commitment. I may need to change the program, I may need to talk to the program director or to Human Resources department in order to make some changes to the original plan, it may mean getting uncomfortable. But I think it will be worth it, don’t you? Have you ever asked this question to your students?

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This is Why One-to-One Lessons are the Best Option for You

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one-to-one lessons

Learning English implies a degree of determination. Many systems and methodologies offer to be flexible in schedule and content, but you still need to show up to class and you still need to do your part. Learning doesn’t just happen by accident. It can also be difficult knowing which kind of course to choose. Is it better to go to an institute and receiving group lessons? What about getting private lessons?

I have been teaching private lessons for about 15 years and I have seen how advantageous the private teaching system can be.

One of the objections that students have about taking private lessons is pricing. Private lessons are often more expensive than group classes if you look at a monthly fee. However, I think that we’re talking about value for money because private lessons can offer you better results for your investment.

Here are some of the many benefits:

  1. The teacher can focus on your very unique abilities, your strengths, and the areas you specifically need to work on.
  2. As a result of having your tutor focus on your strengths and unique style of learning, your English may improve faster than if you study in a group.
  3. You can participate in the choosing of lesson topics and subjects with your teacher, and study things that YOU find interesting.
  4. If you need English for a specific job or situation at work (Exam, presentation, Job Interview) your private teacher can focus on that area alone.
  5. You can ask the teacher for as much correction and explanations as you want without worrying about the other students in the class.
  6. You can go at your own pace – if it’s too fast or complicated, you can slow down! And if it is too easy, you can always have your teacher make the class for challenging.
  7. You can bring your own materials into class, like emails, projects you need to present, work documents and manuals. Your teacher can prepare tailor-made lessons for you using these materials.
  8. There are often fewer distractions in class, and private lessons are often more intensive. This makes the learning process faster and more effective.
  9. The rate of absenteeism is lower. How many times you’ve invested in a system that didn’t work for you? Most of methods and systems to learn English do work, but failing to consistently do it is what prevents the student from achieving goals. Since your private teacher goes to your office or home, you will be less likely to lose classes and therefore it will be more effective.

However, there is one disadvantage of having only private lessons, which is that you don’t get the chance to speak and practice your English with other people, and there is no group interaction. I thought about this when I realized some students would get used to speaking English only with their teacher, but not outside the class. On this recent post, I describe what I did to help my students overcome that challenge.

But in the end, whatever you decide to choose, make sure you make that decision now; it will be one of the best investments for your career and your future.

Looking for a great system of private lessons? Get more info here

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