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Tips for learning English (or any language)

こんにちは皆さん! Sorry that I have not posted for a couple of weeks. I have been fairly busy recently because I have started a new english teaching job. I am with a new company now and I believe that this company is more in line with my teaching philosophy, so I believe that making this move was definitely for the best!

Today, I wanted to make a post telling you all my top 3 tips for learning English (or any other language for that matter). I keep these tips in mind myself when learning Japanese, so I really think these are useful. Firstly and most importantly, you need to have confidence in your abilities. Secondly, get as much practice speaking as possible. Lastly, study in a way that interests you: make it fun!

I know most of my students lack confidence in regards to their english abilities. I have also noticed that many of my fellow teachers lack confidence in their Japanese abilities: Due to their low confidence, they are less likely to speak in public and this in turn means that they do not get sufficient practice in order to level up their skills. I have confidence in my Japanese ability, even if my Japanese is not at a very high level, or is riddled with mistakes. The reason for my confidence is because the majority of the time I speak in Japanese, native speakers can understand what I am saying (after all, isn't that the purpose of language?). My sentence structure may be wrong and my sentences may seem unnatural but hey, people can understand me! Over time, I can fix things like sentence structure and such.

Secondly, I really do think that practice makes perfect. For myself, it is very easy to practice my Japanese, because I live in Japan. However, I understand that for my students, practicing speaking in english is much harder to come by. Most of my students do not have family members they can speak english with and most of their friends do not speak english well enough to have a conversation with. One free way to practice speaking english in Japan is to find confused tourists and offer to help them! I know this sounds a little crude and unorthodox, however, it's free and it works! With the Olympics coming to Tokyo this year, there will be a massive influx of english speakers and most of them will be confused and lost: they will more than welcome the help.

Lastly, when studying english, I believe it is important to do it in a way that interest you: you have to make it fun! When I used to study Japanese via a textbook, I absolutely hated it and found that I wasn't retaining a lot of information. Now, I watch Japanese comedian shows to learn Japanese. This topic is interesting to me so it pushes me to learn and I am more likely to retain what I have learned because I am having fun while learning. One of my students really likes baseball and he said he wants to one day be able to watch MLB games and understand what the announcers are saying. During one lesson, we watched an MLB broadcast and we slowly worked through what the announcers were saying. I could tell he was very interested and was having fun, therefore, I think he will retain what he learned better than if he was learning the same subject matter through the traditional textbook style.

I hope these tips work for you. Thanks for reading everyone!