In an era where everything can be found via Google and the world is at your fingertips, the key to differentiated competitiveness has shifted from “a good education” to “application and research capabilities.”
How do you continue adding to your stock of ammunition so you can be sure of victory when you’re called to arms? Surveys show that over 60% of adults are keen to invest in themselves by engaging in further learning. Among the courses they take, foreign languages occupy the highest proportion.
“How should adults approach English learning?” By seeking a learning environment different from the routine practice they engaged in while still in school. Researchers and experts suggest that adult learners should become aware early on that there are no shortcuts to be taken, and that pacing themselves throughout the learning process is the best approach to an immersive English learning experience.
Slaving over your course work 2 hours a day? English for every stage of life’s well-curated, concise content is even more effective
Dr. Yun-Pi Yuan, Vice Dean of the College of Foreign Languages at Fu Jen Catholic University, says that most people still believe English learning takes the form of long hours sitting at a desk ploughing through a mound of books, trying to learn everything by heart without actually understanding the content. This is why most career men and women who decide to enhance their English abilities naturally resort to this familiar method of study, forcing themselves to sit at their desks for hours on end.
Dr. Yuan has discovered, however, that without a set curriculum and looming exams, this approach quickly become unbearably mundane. You start slacking, and next thing you know is that dust has gathered on your once meticulous notes and expensive books. This is a pitfall that many working adults trying to reacquire language skills have tumbled into.
“Persistence is the key to enhancing your English abilities. See it as a habit that comes as naturally as going out to lunch every day.”—Dr. Yun-Pi Yuan, Vice Dean of the College of Foreign Languages, FJU
If you’re not motivated enough, know that there’s no such thing as free lunch
Sunny Wu, English teacher at the Affiliated High School of National Taiwan Normal University and visiting scholar at the University of Florida, says that English is a tool that enables you to access other realms of knowledge. The majority of information available on the Internet is written in English. Everything from Wikipedia and TED Talks to international sports events requires certain degrees of English proficiency.
Why can’t I learn English using materials I find online? Dr. Chao-ming Chen, Chair Professor of the Department of Applied Foreign Languages at Shih Chien University, does not encourage people who aren’t motivated and haven’t acquired good study habits to do study online. Although the amount of free online information is stupendous to say the least, people often lose their sense of purpose if there’s nothing at stake.
Dr. Chen is of the opinion that there’s no such thing as free lunch. People who are less disciplined should at the very least try to attend a course that’s within their budget. That way, however tired you are at the end of a long day at work, you’ll still perk up when you realize that this is something you paid for out of your hard-earned salary.
Stay away from stress but have all the fun you want- Anticipation is the key to perseverance
Adam Malster, Senior Teacher for Adults at the British Council with over 17 years of experience teaching English in Taiwan, observes that “lack of time” is the key obstacle to adult English learning. There are still ways to learn effectively however, even though you may be unable to undertake systematic coursework.
“The best time for learning is right now.” Adam Malster suggests engaging in learning more often but for shorter periods of time. 10 to 20 minutes every day spent on English learning will enable you to acquire a good reading habit and help you stay on track in the long run.
It’s also best to find a learning partner rather than going at it all by yourself. Interactions and discussions are not only much more fun but can also help you properly utilize and internalize what you have learned. If you find yourself looking forward to the next meeting, you’ll be much more likely to persist on the journey.
Experts suggest finding a partner that’s also eager to acquire good English abilities and forging friendships along the way. This way, English learning is not only made much more fun, but you’ll be much more likely to persevere.