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The Tree of English

470298413Learning English, or any other language for that matter, can be one of the most challenging and rewarding of experiences a person can have.

So in today’s article I thought I’d share with you how I view the learning process from a teacher’s point of view.

A simple, yet, in my opinion, quite accurate way of examining English language acquisition is by looking at how a tree grows. If you imagine that English is a tree the first thing you need are strong roots.

The roots of a tree are below the surface yet they are the ones which provide the foundation on which everything grows. So before your English becomes a fully grown tree, like the ones we see in Hyde Park, you must be patient and work through the difficult stage of feeling like you’re not making any progress. The truth is that you are. You just can’t see it yet.

Once you go through that phase, which can be quite frustrating I admit, you start to see the first signs of growth; little branches start sprouting here and there, the tree trunk becomes stronger and before you know it you have the baby leaves popping out.

What I mean by this, is that learning English is about making links. Unless you have a strong foundation, unless you’ve mastered the basics you can’t move forward. You must first learn the Present Simple before you can learn the Future Perfect Continuous, you must first acquire basic vocabulary before you can move on to idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs.

A teacher can show you the way but it is up to you to take responsibility for your learning and go back to move forwards. That means; revision, revision, revision! There is an ancient Greek saying “Επανάληψη μήτηρ πάσης μαθήσεως!” which roughly translates to “The mother of all learning is revision”.

So, to develop into a strong tree and master English you must be vigilant, proactive and inquisitive. The more questions you ask the more answers you will get and that is the key.

On that note, I’ve decided that this week’s article will not be followed by an activity. Your job is to go back to your foundation and find something that needs revising because the responsibility of learning English is as much in your hands as it is in your teachers.

Have a lovely weekend!


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