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The Gachon Herald
English Expert Column
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Updated : 2018.08.06  01:26:15
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 It is my pleasure to attempt to assist and provide what I hope will prove to be sound advice in order to achieve success in your pursuit of English. I would like to now invite you to consider and explore but a few of the many options available to you when studying English (or any other) as a second language – whether in the class room, at home or in public.
 No matter our ability there is opportunity to improve, and as we strive to do better, we all encounter mistakes. Our guaranteed success in second language learning without encountering any challenges or experiencing errors, would never allow us to fulfill our potential. Please allow me the courtesy to recommend some of my own tips for second language learning which helped me to overcome my own inabilities.
 First of all, ask questions whenever you have an issue with comprehension or feel you need help. You are avoiding a potential learning opportunity whenever you remain idle. For instance, to overcome your hesitation or shyness will take practice. I promise you are not alone with your doubts or concerns, as most people have had the same questions as yourself, and therefore you should not hesitate to seek out the answers.

 It is part of a language teacher’s job to assist you, so avoid being intimidated by your ability and be sure to ask for help when you need it. Believe it or not, your language teacher was more than likely feeling much the same as you do at some point in their second language acquisition. I think you will quickly learn that you may ask questions or seek help from them at any time. As such, choose whatever time and place seems most appropriate and comfortable for you - before, during or after class, as well as while the instructor has office hours, by email or even outside in public.
 My second point is you should take advantage of any available time you might have no matter how short it may seem. For example, perhaps you have just a 15 minute commute to Gachon; this could serve as an extra 30 minutes per day or roughly 5 hours per week of exposure to your second language studies. There are several ways this seemingly short amount of time could be advantageous. For instance, a great deal of reading could be done. With this in mind, let’s examine how you might improve upon your reading skills for instance.

 When reading a second language many of us encounter a number of words or phrases which are at first unfamiliar, might I suggest you not be discouraged by this, as this is a common place situation - even in our own language! When this occurs it is important to not stop reading, but instead quickly underline or mark any problems and continue reading as normal. Often while reading the surrounding words and phrases will put whatever is difficult to grasp into context. Once the reading is finished, go back to examine whatever is still not understand in more detail. In my opinion this method is both more focused and time effective as it allows you to take in the overall meaning of the text which might otherwise be lost due to frequent pauses.
Once you are comfortable and satisfied with the text take the opportunity to read it again, but this time, make detailed notes in the margins. In this way you should be able to quickly recall any difficulties you had with the text originally, as well as remind you of the meaning should you need to examine it again in the future.
 Next, think about how you would write about the topic or how you would discuss it with a friend. What kinds of information did the reading give to you? Are there any details or ideas which seem to appear more often than others in the reading? What kinds of questions might you ask if you did not understand the topic, or ideas presented in the text? By examining the reading in a careful and productive manner it will likely remain fresh in your mind and be more readily available to you in the future.
 Finally, I wish you all the best of luck, and hope what you have read here today will help you in your future language studies. Remember, there are always little moments of time for you to take advantage of, and people who are willing to assist you should you need the help.


Weldon Caverhill

Source of the all photographs: Google

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