How to Learn: Slowly but Surely Wins the Race

Jane

Publicado por Jane

Another of my most frequent recommendations is that students do a little every day instead of a lot one day a week (or fortnight, or month!), but many of my students still have trouble accepting that and think they need to dedicate an hour a day, if not more, to studying English. Now, of course, every one is different, but I honestly think that it's better to do a little at a time than a lot just once. And here's why.

If you think of the gym – and trust me, I try not to! - if you were to go once a week for 2 hours, you'd do a lot, but more than likely you'd tire yourself, maybe even injure yourself and perhaps you wouldn't want/be able to go back again that same week. The same happens with learning English. You can study Phrasal Verbs (PV) for an hour straight until you cry or your eyes bleed, maybe you'll even remember some for a while – though possibly with a negative association due to all the eye-bleeding – but if you don't study those same PV again for another week/month/year, the chances you'll remember them is slim. The chances you'll feel confident to use them, even slimmer. However, if you study those PV for 5 minutes 3 times a week (15 minutes in total!), you'll probably build your memory and remember the verbs better, as well as their meaning and even use. They may even become second nature to you (Wake up-turn on-stand up-sit down, etc). “5 minutes??” I hear you say! YES! In 5 minutes, you can read the verbs and their meanings, probably with an example. The second time, you can review and recall maybe 50%. The third time you might do some exercises and get 40% correct. The fourth time you might get 70% correct. And so on and so forth.

That said, you can also change the topic you study, move on to Prepositions/Conditionals/Saxon Genitive/Whatever! A change is as good as a rest they say! Then come back to PV, test your memory, see what you recall. Afterall, in natural, everyday English we don't use PV on Mondays, Prepositions on Tuesdays, etc. We mix! So you should too!

I remember paying for a gym and never going simply because (I hate gyms; sorry, I meant) I thought that when I went, I needed to make the most of it which in my mind meant being there for about 2 hours (machines+pool+spa), so in the end I didn't go at all because I never had 2 hours to spare. I'm currently going to one where the expectation is 30 minutes and, although I still hate going (as many people hate English!), I do actually go. though admittedly not everyday, but that's because I know my limitations and don't expect any more.

So, set realistic goals and fulfill them. You'll learn more and you'll feel better about your English.

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Jane

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