Thursday, May 16, 2013

“How did you learn English?”

“How did you learn English?” is a question I often hear from my students. While I was able to answer their query, I can’t help but ask, “How did it all started anyway?”

For Filipinos, before we even go to school, our parents already taught us basic English questions like , “What’s your name?” , “How old are you?” , “Where do you live?” Yes, simple questions but we do respond in English too, as young as 3 years old. Then they started teaching us the alphabet, numbers, colors and animals in English. And so on…

It helped a lot that I enjoy reading books. When I was in 2nd grade,
I've already read all the 10 volumes of Children’s Encyclopedia at home. Then I read that again loudly to practice my pronunciation. Since we don’t have a computer that time, I always have our quite big and thick dictionary with me, just in case I’d encounter unfamiliar words.  

Singing also introduced a lot of new words to me. My late dad was a very good singer. Actually, he came from a family who really loves singing and believe me, all his 6 other siblings can sing very well too! One frequently joined local competitions and won. Since they have the talent, I guess I also have it…just a little bit. Haha! Anyway, because of his passion in singing, we always had a karaoke session at home. I couldn’t remember how often we do it. I only remembered him telling me and my sister to sing individually every time. Singing became our favorite bonding activity. Because of singing English songs often, we got to learn English pronunciation without even realizing it. Yes, I believe singing contributed a lot to my English learning!

In addition to that, watching English films is one of the biggest factors to help me improve my listening skills. I love watching movies! Sometimes, I mimicked the way the characters talk and try to sound like them. I became a copycat all for the desire of learning English, but it was for a good reason. ^_^

In general, it’s best to think in English. If there’s also an opportunity to use the language, grab it. That’s a good practice. And one last thing, how a person improve his/her English skills is really up to their drive to learn.  Determination is the key.  Have fun learning!  You can do it!