Today I’m going to share some useful ideas and tips for learning English. You’ve come here to improve your language skills, so today I have some practical tips and a philosophical idea that will help you improve your English language learning.
If you want to learn English efficiently, then you need to focus on the following; settings goals and consistently working towards those goals. First, you need to set realistic goals, objectives that fit with your lifestyle and circumstances or you will change your lifestyle to accommodate. Next, you need to be consistent in working at achieving your goals, constantly working towards improvement.
Sounds simple, right? Goals and consistency. So why do so many language learners set unrealistic goals? You know the get excited, and I will watch a few "Learn English in 3 hours..." on YouTube and I’ll be speaking English fluently, type goals. And people who set these types of unrealistic expectations then double down and think cramming and binge watching or reading for a day will somehow make learning English happen.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.
⭐ Mark Twain
Your brain is amazing, but language learning needs a lot of long-term memory training. This type of long-term memory storage gets activated through repetition and consistency. Today we explain why making regular "little and often" progress towards real objectives is a safer, more efficient approach to learning a language, and we give lots of examples and tips as we talk it through.
- Consistency: Doing the same thing over and over again in the same way.
- Repetition: Doing something again and again.
- Accommodate: To make room for something or someone, or to help someone.
- Philosophical: Related to deep thoughts or ideas about life and existence.
- Manufacturing: The process of making things, usually in large quantities in factories.
- Improvement: Making something better than it was before.
- Increment: A small amount of increase or growth.
- Portraits: Pictures or drawings that show a person's face or body.
Today, oh my goodness, I'm actually going to talk about English language learning! That's unusual, isn't it? But how are you most likely to achieve success in your English language learning goals? That's why you're here, isn't it? That's why you listen to our podcast and that's what you're hoping to do right now. Improve your English. So listen on for some useful ideas and some tips around language learning. Let's talk about something that is really important to help you achieve this and about a philosophy, 'Kaizen', that might just help you get there.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Don't forget if you need help with your basic English language vocabulary, our Most Common 500 Words is the only course of its kind. And it's still available for you to buy on our website at adeptenglish.com. It has helped rather a lot of people improve their English and you could be one of them.
So one of the things that I've talked about before in podcasts is the value of consistency when you're learning. 'Consistency', C O N S I S T E N C Y. This word can be used in various ways, but in this context, I'm talking about 'consistency' as an attribute of a person. If you're 'consistent' or you have 'consistency', then you can achieve much more in life than if you don't have that attribute.
And it's certainly true when it comes to language learning. So today I'm gonna talk about that and I'm gonna talk about a philosophical idea that is related to consistency, which comes from the Japanese car industry. And I'll talk about how you can apply it to learning English.
So listen on to learn at two levels. On one level, your brain will be doing its normal English language learning practice. And on another level, you'll be hearing some ideas which might just help with your practice, your English language learning practice, what you do, in practicality, I mean. What does it mean if a person is consistent?
Well, it's about applying yourself to the tasks of life in a similar way, across time.
If you do things consistently, you form habits, you are reliable in your habits. You can be relied upon to do things in the same way, to the same standard, over a period of time. I've talked before about the importance of consistency in gardening and growing things. That's a recent podcast, number 563.
I was talking there about being consistent in looking after my tomato plants. But the same goes for looking after animals and looking after children. If you are consistent in your care, they do a lot better. Consistency may sound boring to some people, but it doesn't have to be. I'm not someone who likes a rigid schedule, a rigid regime. I form habits, but they're a bit flexible.
If you don't do something for a few days, it just means come back to it. Don't give up. Just carry on again. So it doesn't have to be fixed, rigid schedule. What it means is it's regular. You pay regular attention to things. You make them your priority. You decide what you want to give your time to, and you're consistent in giving your time to those things.
So I'm just mentioning here, The Seven Rules of Adept English, because that is where we talk about much of our philosophy of language learning. And here in particular Rule Three is talking about your habits and your routines and giving you some tips on how to make time for your English language learning, so that your chances of success are greater.
That is broadly speaking what we're talking about here with consistency, but this Japanese philosophy, this idea called 'Kaizen'. It comes from the Japanese car manufacturing industry where it's helped them make big improvements. It's tried and tested in that area.
Kaizen, K A I Z E N. And the word in Japanese means 'continuing improvement'. Or as the founder of the Kaizen Institute, Masaaki Imai now terms it 'every day improvement'. He also adds 'everybody improvement' and 'everywhere improvement'. So he's talking there about the fact that this change needs everybody to engage in it and it needs to happen everywhere.
I think those last two are more applicable to the manufacturing process and it's the first one that we're interested in for language learning. So that's 'everyday improvement'. Many of the goals we have in life are big and distant. They're a long way from where we are now. You want to be fluent in English. You may feel that you are a long way from that goal, just at the moment. You may start to feel that your goals are unrealistic.
You might even feel demoralized. That's D E M O R A L I S E D. That means you've lost your morale. M O R A L E. You feel demotivated, but the principles of Kaizen can help you with that - the idea of making small changes slowly and over a period of time, gradual change. It's often what I see in my therapy room with clients. Sometimes people want to change their lives and it seems a huge task. It seems almost impossible. The changes that they want to make seem very far away. But, if they keep working at it over a period of time, there is gradual improvement.
It's though it's happening inch by inch, by inch, by inch. Over a period of time, a big change can be made. That is I think, a very natural way of making improvement for us, human beings. So we're talking 'incremental change'. An 'increment', I N C R E M E N T means 'a little bit'. So 'incremental' means 'bit by bit, slowly over time'. So all those little changes add up in time and make a big change. Kaizen literally means 'good change'. It doesn't demand that people are perfect. It doesn't demand that they suddenly achieve a vast and distant goal, but it does demand that they improve slowly, gradually, always looking to make improvements.
And it's different from the way that we think in many ways. We're so often into 'the quick fix', 'the miracle cure'. This isn't what Kaizen is about. And as you probably already know, it's also not what happens with language learning.
An example. If I say to myself, "Right, I'm going to decorate my hallway." And then I set myself the task of painting all those doors and all the walls and the ceiling. It's quite a big task. Now I might give up even a large part of my weekend and start painting, but I'm going to run out of steam. I'm going to get tired. I'm gonna run out of time, more to the point. And I might stand back and look at the little bit that I've done and think, "Oh my goodness, I'm never going to finish my hallway." It is a huge, momentous task. It's not that I have such a big house. It's just that there are a lot of doorways in my hall and I'd have to climb up a big ladder and approach the ceiling. And it's just a lot to do. And I don't have much time.
The next weekend, I might be busy with something else and no improvement has been made. I could get really dispirited at this point and say, "It's impossible. I can't decorate this hallway." I could just give up and say, it's too hard. But what's a much better approach is to decide. "Okay. I'm gonna go for a goal, a target that might be achievable. How about I paint a doorway every two weeks? Just one doorway. Even if it's a small amount of progress, if I'm consistent, it should mean that the hallway eventually is decorated. The decoration is complete, and my goal is achieved." That is the spirit of Kaizen.
A saying we have in English, 'Rome, wasn't built in a day.' ' Rome wasn't built in a day'. And yes, we mean the city of Rome, R O M E. And of course, Rome wasn't built in a day. In fact, much of the fantastic architecture of Rome was built over many hundreds of years. And much of it, you can still visit Rome and see, but it certainly wasn't built in a day. And the meaning of that phrase is that 'if you want to achieve something great, don't expect to do it quickly'. Rome wasn't built in a day.
A cluttered English classroom digital art. I'm going to teach you a more efficient way of learning that will allow you to achieve your goals quicker.
It's the same if you want to lose weight, or if you want to improve your playing at a musical instrument or even one of my little projects for the summer, improving your drawing, especially of portraits, of faces. I enjoy that. You have to do it again and again and again though, to make improvement.
The really encouraging thing though, about learning English is that if you give your brain the right conditions, it kind of 'does it itself' - it's automatic. Your brain understands the principles, the ideas behind Kaizen. It knows how to learn gradually. And that's exactly what your brain is doing now, listening to this podcast.
Your very clever brain is hearing and understanding over a thousand words in this podcast. Some of these English words will be ones that you know very well already and you can use them yourself when you speak. Some of the English words that you're hearing - you may well understand them, you've met them before, but you don't know them well enough to use them when you speak.
And I imagine in this podcast, there may be a few words that you've never heard before, or you don't understand. So hearing all of those different categories of words is useful to your language learning. You're nearer to using the words yourself in speech, every time you hear them. They become more and more familiar.
So you are gradually building your English language fluency. It's like a huge brick wall with thousands and thousands of tiny little bricks in it. That's what you're doing, when you're listening to podcasts, building your wall.
Your consistency doesn't have to be rigid. I would hate to have a regime. I'd hate to do the same thing, a regime that doesn't bend. That's not me. But consistency means that you keep going back to it. Over a period of time, you do the same things. Say to yourself, perhaps "Most days I will listen to a podcast to help with my English language learning."
Most days. Some days you might do two. Other days you might do none at all, because you're busy enjoying yourself and doing something else. But always, always, always come back to it. You can go at your own speed. It doesn't matter. But little by little, your English will be improving. So bear in mind, Kaizen and the idea of gradual, bit by bit, incremental improvement.
So don't make promises you can't keep! Do little and often, but be consistent. Great things will be achieved in your language learning this way.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com