Many adults who want to pick up English fall out of the habit sooner than later, and give up on their plans without even trying very hard to stick with the learning. Experts believe that, for adults to persevere in English language learning, incorporating the process into everyday life is a crucial step that must be taken. 

Connect language learning with everyday living to make it interesting and amusing

To incorporate English into your everyday life, try building the habit of thinking how a particular thought should be expressed in English before you say the same in Chinese.- Dr. Yun-pi Yuan, Vice Dean of the College of Foreign Languages at Fu Jen Catholic University

Dr. Yuan says sometimes there’s no direct English equivalent for something we say often in Mandarin Chinese. For example, a while ago her husband asked her how “thick-skinned” (厚臉皮) should be expressed in English. She couldn’t think of an immediate answer, but she did some research and the information she found not only provided her with the answer, but she now understands the expression more deeply.

How can English learning be made more fun? Dr. Yuan suggests watching videos like TED Talks on a variety of topics but turning off the subtitles for the time being. After you’ve watched the video once or twice, turn on subtitles to look for words you may not be familiar with. You can even shadow the video and attempt to copy the speaker in order to sound more natural in terms of both pronunciation and intonation. This method of practice will also help you remember vocabulary and figures of speech.

Expert tips on stress-free English learning

Apart from incorporating language learning into everyday living, how can adult learners set their own pace and engage in stress-free study? Adam Malster, Senior Teacher for Adults at the British Council has a solution. First, you have to set a specific goal. For example, you might want to get ahead in the workplace or pass your exams. You might hope to attain fluency in English speaking or polish your writing skills. Whatever the reason, you must have a clear, specific goal so you know exactly what to do to get there.

Perseverance is another key to successful learning. Adam Malster reminds adult learners to not study too intensely for long periods of time, because you can easily become burned out and lose focus, which will in turn affect your learning efficiency. The best approach you can take is to pace yours learning process according to the lifestyle you lead and the intensity of your job. Make a study plan and stick to it, because “saving a little energy for learning every day will enable to persevere.”

Adam Malster observes that many Taiwanese prefer studying alone; they tend to coup themselves up in a room reading or training their listening abilities. There’s nothing wrong with this approach as one element of a learning program, but finding a partner with the same purpose, building interpersonal relationships, and even making friends can make learning much more fun and efficient. “Think about all the other things you have done in your lifetime, such as sports or learning to play a musical instrument. Everything is much more fun and you make much better progress if you have friends and partners by your side.”

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For the Slash Generation: English opens the way to more and better opportunities

Learning English well means opening another door to more and better opportunities, and expanding both your horizons and international perspective. Xuan Liu, an iconic member of the “Slash Generation” known as a writer/DJ/radio show host and more, shares with us his profound personal experience. He says that good English skills not only contribute to interdisciplinary thinking and work, but give him unique advantages in terms of professional competency.

For example, when he used to be a DJ, he had more work opportunities because of his English proficiency and ability to communicate with foreigners. At parties thrown by big fashion brands, he is able to speak directly with the clients to discuss their preferences for styles and genres of music. “That became my unique advantage.”

If you want to embrace the slash lifestyle, polish up your English skills because you’ll need them!—Xuan Liu, writer/DJ/radio show host

Adam Malster, Senior Teacher for Adults at the British Council concurs. He says learning English is not just about improving your English communication skills. It’s a window through which you can look upon the world from a different perspective so you can perceive things differently. This means you are able to work your way around problems using different approaches, because “learning a new language will help you better understand where other people are coming from.” 

Tailored-made English courses for every stage of life: let English be your source of confidence and competitive advantage 

Adam Malster has also discovered something adults usually experience when they achieve their English learning goals. “Their life skills improve along with their advancements in English proficiency because attaining these goals has given them multiple boosts of confidence.”

Adam Malster gave us an example of a student who is in the hospitality business where English communication is a vital skill. The student followed every suggestion Adam gave him diligently and meticulously, including assessing his own abilities, setting appropriate goals, and making adjustments to his personal learning schedule.

 “You could see him improving day by day. Now he’s more confident than he has ever been,” says Adam Malster. The student, having acquired the requisite language skills, was not only able to engage in further studies in Europe, but is now able to lead and teach the staff working under his supervision.

If you’re pursuing a career, why not take a moment to focus on what you want out of life? English for every stage of life is a course that’s free of rigid curricula and stressful exams and allows you to turn leisure hours into time well spent. Learn English at a pace that’s tailored just for you, hone your language skills into a professional competency and source of confidence, and look forward to a better life with wider perspectives and extended horizons.