5 Things That I Tell My Students That My English Teachers Didn’t Tell Me

5 Things That I Tell My Students That My English Teachers Didn’t Tell Me

Since my 5th grade, I’ve had both good and bad teachers.

In this essay, I am sharing what the best of them taught me and what I pass along to my students.

1. It’s okay to make mistakes
Back in school and university, I was afraid of making mistakes and tried to avoid them at all costs. Now I know that mistakes show our weak spots and things we need to work on. So I always tell my students to not be afraid of their mistakes but to value lessons and knowledge from them.

2. Pronunciation is a key to speaking English confidently
In most English classes I attended, pronunciation was never a focus. As a result, I mispronounced a lot of words and wasn’t even aware of it.

Now I make sure that my students don’t make big pronunciation mistakes.

3. You don’t have to speak with native speakers to improve your English
Many of my students still think that ‘moving abroad’ or ‘speaking to native speakers’ is the most effective way to boost their English.

So, I make sure to point out that they can dramatically change their spoken English by doing drills, shadowing and speaking English with anyone.

4. Repetition, drills and shadowing will transform your spoken English immensely
In school, we mostly read, listened to recordings, or retold stories. But no one ever told me about these amazing techniques. Nowadays, I encourage my students to do drills and shadowing to improve their speaking skills.

5. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t
Oftentimes, in school teachers don’t like it when you make mistakes or don’t understand something, so they either yell at you or even roast you in front of your classmates.

That was an embarrassing experience and led to that ‘My-English-is-not-very-good’ notion that many of my classmates and I had.

Nowadays, if a student says something like “I’m an idiot” or “I’m stupid”, I stop them straight away and explain why he’s not and why this particular pattern is difficult not only for him but for most learners.

These are the core things that I share with my students based on my knowledge and experience both as a student and an English learner. But there are more things about English that I wish I had known before I started learning it, and I actually wrote about them in this article.

Hope it helps. Feel free to share your thoughts, share this article with someone else and tell me what you want to know more about English and learning. I’d appreciate it.

Photo Credit: Prateek Katyal

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What is shadowing and how to practice it.  

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