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E-mail: layba_jayapura@wasantara.net.id
 

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Welcome to UPT-Pelayanan Bahasa UNCEN

  Tips For Successful Language Learning
By A. Gumawang Jati. M.A, Director ITB Language Centre
This article contains tips to help you learn English.
 
 
Tip 1: Be realistic.
 
Be patient. Learning to speak a second language can be challenging and it will take time.
Study or use English regularly and often. 20-30 minutes every day is better than 3 hours all at once in one day.
Set goals for yourself. Create a checklist of the things you want to accomplish in a week, a month, or a year.
  Here are some examples of goals:
  - "I will learn 5 new words a day."
  - "I will be able to speak about the past and future by the end of this month."
  - "I will be able to stand up and give a presentation in English with confidence by the end of July."
   
Tip 2: Do things that help you remember what you've learned
 
Keep a journal of the new words, expressions, and rules you learn. Write a sentence using each one.
Create a deck of flashcards to practice your new words and expressions.
Read your lists of new vocabulary or expressions before going to sleep at night. Tape the lists to the bathroom mirror.
Label your furniture in English.
   
Tip 3: Focus on meaning.
 
Try not to translate word for word.
When you read something in English, first try to get the general meaning; don't worry about understanding every word. Then go back and focus on specifics.
When you're talking with someone in English or watching TV or a movie in English, don't worry if you don't understand every word. Try to focus on the overall meaning.
If you've got to write something in English, start by writing as much as you can without making corrections. Focus on the main ideas first and write these down. Then go back and make changes.
   
Tip 4: Take risks.
  
Just talk. Don't worry about getting everything right. Try new words, expressions, and structures, even when you're not exactly sure of how to use them.
Ask for help. Sometimes you just won't understand something. If someone is talking too fast, ask him/her to slow down. If you didn't understand something, ask the person to repeat it, and explain it, if necessary. Use expressions like:
  - "Could you repeat that, please?"
  - "Could you say that again, please?"
  - "English isnít my first language. Could you speak a little more slowly, please?"
   
Tip 5: Make English a part of your life.
 
Watch English language TV or movies with English subtitles; listen to music in English.
Spend 15-20 minutes a day reading things you enjoy in English. Find Web sites, magazines, newspapers, or literature. You can look for material that is written for native speakers of English or for learners of English. Read advice columns (for example, Dear Abby and Ann Landers); these are great because they use correct and current English and provide a window to culture.
Get a pen pal.
Participate in online chat rooms or message boards where you have to use English.
Get involved in activities in your city that get you to use English, perhaps a movie or book club. Go to an English-speaking country's consulate in your city and see if they offer or can direct you to places that offer group activities.
Teach a skill to native English speakers. Plenty of native speakers would love to learn foreign cooking, for example. You would practice English and they would learn cooking.
Make friends with people who are speakers of English. If you are speakers of the same first language, make a rule that perhaps for an hour three times a week, you will only speak in English. Pick topics that interest you to help you focus your conversations.
Do your day-to-day tasks in English--write grocery lists, make notes to yourself, etc.
Get a roommate that you have to use English with.
Do volunteer work that requires you to speak English--in schools, or at charitable organizations, for example.
Find out about the culture and customs of people in English-speaking countries.
   
Tip 6: Make mistakes work for you.

You are going to make mistakes, but how can you learn from these?
Keep a list of errors that you make repeatedly.
Do homework together with someone else who is learning English. Correct each other's work.
Make a list of questions about things that you don't understand in English. Ask a teacher or a friend to try to answer your questions.

 


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