I came to the United States when I was six years old. I did not really know the English language, since I hadn’t gone into primary school yet in the Philippines to learn English, but once I arrived here, I knew learning English was my number one priority.
My first memories of learning the English language was watching children’s cartoons, such as “The Little Mermaid,” “Winnie the Pooh,” and various others. I read books with simple plot lines and with as few as one sentence on each page. However, they worked.
Older students will, however, find learning another language difficult. Once people are past the age of seven or eight, learning a new language becomes very slow. It seems that the language part of our brain begins to slowly break down. There are other factors, as well. Some people actually learn new languages very easily. They can hear a few phrases a few times and know them by heart within the hour. However, for those who find learning English difficult, what can be done to ease the transition?
First, I recommend going to bookstores that carry teachers’ materials. Non-native speakers will find that these books are much easier to handle than purchasing and having to read full novels. These books will also have different levels of education; for those who are faster learners, they may choose a level two or three, whereas slower learners can choose to start at level one.
Second, speaking English continuously and often will encourage learning the language faster. If you are a non-native English speaker, encourage your friends and family to help you by speaking to you occasionally in English.
Another great study technique is to write vocabulary on notecards and placing them on the item. So, if you have a notecard labeled “computer,” place it on a computer. Whenever you pass by the computer, you will mentally take a note of it. Most people are actually visual learners; this technique will speed up the learning process. Also, if placing the cards on the items is not a viable method, then try looking for pictures of the items online and then printing the pictures out, with the name of the item underneath the picture.
Watch English programs liberally. Try to watch at least three a day: one in the morning, in the afternoon, and another before bed. Some people actually retain knowledge better if they study right before sleeping.
Try all these techniques or just one, but I’m sure any person who wants to learn English (or any other language) will find these methods useful.