How I tried to learn English and what came of it

It so happens that I am 40 and I do not know English. Quite (*). What to do and who is to blame?
Some details under the cut.

(If what you see below seems obvious to you, then you know English better than I do!)

I'll start, perhaps, from the end

How is it that I don't know him?

It's simple. 40 years ago were the distant 80s. English began to teach in the school class from the fifth. According to Starkov / Bonku or something like that. Tutoring was not particularly popular, but nobody called me at InYaz;)

In general, somehow I taught him at school, then at a technical college, and a bit in graduate school.

I do not know to what level I crawled, and I was practically not interested in the result.

For all the programming literature was in Russian, and watching TV shows in English was not fashionable (and there were none).

But at some point, the number of women wanted turned into quality, and besides, I realized that there are many people around who normally know English!

Some of them are watching a movie in the original, some are courses on a cursor, someone is an interview with Stroustrup.

Somewhere around here I began to get nervous;)

The problem was aggravated by the fact that I was shy introvert, and I really did not want to work with colleagues at work, or with a private teacher. Even worse, the translators began to openly freeze / mingle, and the translations of books began to turn into frank trash.

What was done?

At first I was led to “watch a movie in English and you will learn it”. Well, that's probably the way it is, but not everyone.

I did not work out. I honestly looked with my wife Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Periodically wrote out the words and tried to teach them. To no avail.

The reason, apparently, was that to watch the series you need at least some minimum level, which I did not have.

Decided that not enough vocabulary. Found the book "1000 English words" and learned. To no avail;)

The reason, apparently, was that we need to learn the frequency dictionary , and not everything. At the same time I learned about the forgetting curve .

(Wife suggests that the best way to learn combinations of words).

Read Zero Day. More or less successfully, probably because all the words were taken from C ++.
Finally, I obeyed my wife and stewed on the course of the New Headway Elementary Fourth Edition. I bought: Student's book, Workbook and Teacher's book. With keys. Together with them I bought CDs (Class audio, iTutor, iChecker). I also bought a very soft pencil, otherwise I could not erase the answers from the Workbook.

The process has begun!

Why this particular textbook? I don’t know :) I can only say how I personally like it:
it contains vocabulary / grammar / exercises (that is, it allows you to learn the language fully);
he is funny and logical: in some places there are exercises that can be solved as logical problems.

It seems that the process of finding a logical solution helps to increase the chances of at least something to remember, and indeed complete the exercise!

(Yes, I'm a programmer, it's easier for me).

How did I teach him?

Fortunately, the wife knows English. Unfortunately, she knows him well.

As a result, I still managed to convince my wife that she has been learning the language for 15 years, and that it can somehow be easier on corners (and that I may not understand things that are obvious to others).

In order to calmly engage, I had to make a plan. I did not attend the courses and I did not have a teacher, so the process was not trivial.

The first time I tried to google on the topic “how to study on Headway”. Alas, I can google even worse than I can learn;)

Then I tormented my wife, in the hope that she would remember how and in what order to chew a textbook.
Then I flipped through the Teacher's book.

In the end, everything turned out.

If you are also trying to do it yourself, the recipe is:

  • we take the next module (unit), for example, the first;
  • First, we do the whole module in the Student's book (there are references to Class audio in the module);
  • then we do the whole module in the Workbook (audio and some exercises live on the iChecker disk);
  • Then we do exercises from the iTutor disk.

I missed the group lessons. (Well, I have no one to speak in English!) We
write the answers and notes right in the Student's book / Workbook.

In principle, everything is very simple. But for the sake of these five points, I had to kill a year of time: (

Alas, the problems did not end there. Despite the intrinsic motivation “everyone can do it, but I am a fool,” the process did not go very well.
If I studied English in the morning at work, I didn’t I could work all day.
If I worked all day, I couldn’t force myself to study English in the evening.
If I organized a sprint race during a vacation, then I managed to do a couple of modules during a week of vacation, but going to work fell flat and could not do. In this condition, I made a couple of approaches to ku Su, all the time since the start.

Somewhere at the same time I read a couple of books: both about willpower ( 1 , 2 ).

Where three valuable councils were discovered:

  1. need to rest (surprize!) at least one day a week;
  2. it is better to do the most important thing first;
  3. Psychologists vote for their habits, which means they can work better on a schedule (this is from personal conversations).

As a result, the following schedule was obtained:

  • on weekdays I work;
  • on Saturday I try to rest;
  • On Sunday, I wake up and do English (in the morning!).

For some time I tried to become more active, and engage more and more often. Alas, nothing happened. Attempting to gather the will into a fist and put pressure on myself meant that I scored a bolt on classes and did nothing at all. Even now, I can't do every Sunday, just because I'm tired.

Dry residue: I chewed 11 modules in two years. Objectively, the result is terrible. On the other hand, I consider this a great victory, because the process has stabilized and there is a chance that by retirement I will at least start to understand something;)

I summarize

  • we take a normal import course, for example Headway;
  • we make the schedule;
  • make sure that we do not die from such a load (if necessary, reduce);
  • We agree with relatives that time is clogged, the computer / table is busy, do not distract!
  • we are engaged in the schedule;
  • You can write a date on each page, when you make this page, it will allow you to track the process.

What else? In the process of listening to Audio, the idea arose that simply listening was meaningless. The head cannot match the sound that is heard, with the word, which, as it were, does not exist in the head. Therefore, it is better not to be nervous, but before listening to view the Tape script (it is exactly at the end of the tutorial) and include the subtitles in the video.

And yet: there are no universal tips. Most likely everyone will have to find their own way!

Good luck to everyone, and success in self-improvement!

(*) Not at all - in the sense that I can hardly speak, I don’t understand it at all, I read only royal english (for example, the description of AVR microcontrollers), MSDN written by the Chinese I understand with great difficulty.

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