You may or may not have experienced this dilemma: you know you’ve memorized a lot of vocabulary and know your grammar by heart, but upon meeting a foreigner, you completely freeze and are unable to utter a single word. If you’ve spent lots of time learning English but have trouble applying it in everyday life, “scenario-based learning” might be just the thing.
As online and offline information become increasingly accessible, it is now no longer difficult for adults to create learning environments in which they can set their own pace and learn in ease and comfort. Language requires more than “learning,” however. To proper acclimate yourself to the language, you need to find the right partner for engaging in scenario-based practice so you can immerse yourself and learn to use the language naturally in your everyday life.
Feel like throwing away your vocabulary list? Try scenario-based learning for better results!
Xuan Liu, a renowned writer fluent in English, says that the pitfall most adult English learners in Taiwan fall into is believing that “the more vocabulary the better.” Vocabulary is important, yes; but even more crucial is knowledge of how to incorporate the words you’ve memorized into actual sentences.
Xuan Liu thinks that English learning should scenario-based. Think about what you might want to say in a certain scenario, and look up the words you don’t know the English equivalent for. He says that, “This kind of information that’s ‘just in time’ works much better and is much easier to remember than flash cards that contain information that’s for ‘just in case.’”
Xuan Liu suggests that adults learning English refrain from giving themselves too much stress. Everything in life can be a source of learning, including watching drama series in the English language. Note down scenes or sequences that appeal to you, rewind, and watch them again. You can try saying the lines along with the actors, or even role play with your friends. “Learn to converse along with the dramatic scenario. The characters may not always use textbook grammar, but it’s the quickest way you can learn how to use this sentence in a given scenario.”
Creating an English-speaking environment: Feel at home whether you’re in a cafe or in the classroom
Creating scenarios to facilitate English learning is not as difficult as you may think. Dr. Yun-pi Yuan, Vice Dean of the College of Foreign Literature at FJU shares some tips. People who are traveling to an English-speaking country for the first time can set up all sorts of scenarios in which they might have to use English to communicate with their fellow travelers, such as passing through airport customs, asking for directions, or ordering at a restaurant. This way, you can familiarize yourself with the vocabulary needed.
English cafes are all the rage in Japan these past few years, and the trend has extended to Taiwan. Dr. Shang-kuan Chang, Chair Professor of the Department of English Language and Literature at Soochow University points out that lots of people have started language tables or language corners in major cities like Taipei. A few days a week, they gather at the café for a private event and assign 2-3 persons to each table. Foreigners or other participants with excellent language abilities prompt discussions on all sorts of topics.
They’re like social clubs that allow you to engage in language learning. You can cater to your hobbies and interests at the same time of enhancing your English language proficiency. That is an immense source of motivation. –Dr. Shang-kuan Chang, Chair Professor of the Department of English Language and Literature at Soochow University.