After this week, there will be a break for our English classes for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! That’s a lot of time. Agreed, it’s not the two months we «lose» during summer, yet enough to forget many of the things we’ve learned over the last couple of months, isn’t it? More so if you are not able to attend (not «attend to») classes on a regular basis. So, what can you do during the holidays? How can you keep up your English?
Your Homework for the Holidays
During the Christmas vacation, I need you to find one hour per day to just listen to English, without paying attention, later I’ll explain why. So, find the BBC iPlayer, for example, or any other radio station you can find on the internet. This is part of creating an English bubble. Impossible? Keep on reading because I beg to differ (I disagree).
The English Bubble
A tip I recently gave in one of my recent videos is to create an English bubble around you. Well, it sounds simple, as much English around you as possible. But how to do this in reality, that’s the more complicated part, isn’t it. I do agree (not «be agree», «to agree» is a verb), it is. Now, think about the amount of downtime (time doing nothing) you usually have. That is a lot of time you can use to put something on (play music or a recording) in the language you are looking to learn, in our case English.
One quite easy thing you can do is to listen to the radio. But there is a catch (trick), you need to stop paying attention to what you hear. What? Yes! I am serious. Often I hear students complain they don’t understand what is being said. The vocabulary is too complicated, the accents are unfamiliar. «I don’t know what they are saying, I cannot understand what they talk about!» Let me ask you this question: Does it matter? I don’t think it does, I see it as a way to train your subconscious.
Practice What I Preach
When six and a half years ago I moved to Spain, I immersed myself in Spanish. Radio, television, work, even my flatmates, who native Spanish speakers, I was surrounded by as much Spanish as possible. Naturally, easy to do so when living in the country, I’ll get back to that.
My Spanish is now on a good level and I turned back to (to return to) my English bubble. I watch YouTube videos, almost exclusively, in English, I listen to BBC World Service in the morning while I read my LinkedIn, paying attention to the latter (the last). I read mostly English newspapers and articles. Spanish is the language I speak with friends and my wife.
The Miracle Answer?
It is necessary, to be honest, having the radio in the background is not THE solution to all your struggles (problems), of course not. In two weeks becoming fluent is difficult, but then again, that is not the goals, it is to maintain the level you have and this homework helps.
I hope this article helps you a bit and I wish you good luck with your listening. Until the next article:
DON’T FORGET TO PRACTICE
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