Farley Leite de Akers
BRAZ-TESOL Member No. 18171
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Depending on the student, one’s interest and the work the student is willing to do, acquiring a language will take time. In the end, it will be worth it, as you will obtain fluency, if you don’t give up, and, if you dedicate yourself fully to learning as much as you can and as much as you want to learn.
A second language must be used, ideally, constantly, if not, at least, for 5 minutes a day, in some way or another, whether listening, reading, writing or speaking. Of course, the more time you have for your second language, the better. This is just common sense. Some time, each day, build your knowledge and understanding of the language, step by step, moment by moment, hour by hour, year by year by year. Remember, life is always a learning experience.
In learning a new language, you will be on a journey without a destination. Some just stop learning and experiencing life through their new language and even their first. The truth is, you will never stop learning, unless you decide to stop. However, many do decide to stop progressing, even in their first language! Many stop learning their first language because they really don’t want to learn anything anymore. They remain in a limited world, never fully understanding what people really say. That’s OK. If that is what you want, then go for it! Each one makes a choice!
English can become your second language, if you want it badly enough. Anything is possible. Anything worthwhile is worth doing and worth learning. The student must, at least, like to learn English. If you’re learning English just because you think it will get you a better job with more money then, depending on your effort, you may achieve that, but are you enjoying it? Do really know the language or only imagine you do? You have to know you do! If not, think about it. It will reflect in your life and in the way you speak. Do people have difficulty understanding you? Is it either your pronunciation or choice of words? That could well be the reason why. Learning a language requires effort, and determination. The best learning, in my view, happens when you really love what interests you. If you just like English a little and are learning it because everyone says you must, you may not get the same results. If you love what you are learning and have a real interest in the language, anything is possible. Anything! Love what you do, no matter what it is. If you really want to learn and become that which you are learning, you have to walk the path towards it. That goes for anything you do in life. If you have no love for what you do or learn, it will not be the same as for others who do. Treat your learning of English as a love affair, if you can. Get to know everything that you can about English just like you would if you are in love with someone. Learn, in English, what you love to know and understand in your first language. You can become bilingual, if you are willing! Find interesting material to read and interesting audios and videos or films. Read, listen and watch, to see language in action, and to listen for new words to increase your language skills. Be interested in English and find interesting subjects in English that you want to know about. Keep English in your environment as much as you can.
With the creation of the Internet, which is now an essential utility, just like water, electricity and your phone, you have the world at your fingertips! There is no excuse now to be able to travel to and in the virtual English-speaking world. You can travel virtually to any English-speaking place and learning environment on the worldwide web. You can find, in English, virtually anything about anything that exists in the world we live in. It will only get better as time progresses. The Internet is, almost, the library of the world in all the languages that are participating. There are online libraries in English where you can find books on just about everything, and for free! The Internet is growing, and the amount of information in it is growing exponentially. Be good to yourself and know that you can learn. You just have to know it for yourself. You are the master of your self, your very being. You are the boss of your self! Do you know where are you going?
Think for yourself.
Act for yourself.
Speak for yourself.
Imitation is suicide.”
+ Marva Collins +
Go at your own pace. No one can teach you English if you are not willing to do the work. You must take part in your own education. A tutor can show you and help you become aware of your mistakes, so that you can learn to correct yourself, by yourself. Be positive. Tell yourself to remember what you seem to forget. The goal is to be able to think in the language as effortlessly as you speak your first. It is possible, just don’t give up on it and don’t let anyone tell you or infer that you can’t do it, because you can, if you really want it. You just need to do the work.
When you feel that you can no longer learn anything, give it some time. Listen to music in English, watch films in English. Relax and enjoy the experience. New interests in English will come and new ideas will come, if you are attentive to your constructive thoughts, wishes and dreams and follow them. Listen to them! Really listen to your inner self. Anything constructive is going to make you better. Just trust that your ideas, intuitions and dreams will guide you to where you want to go. It may not become exactly as you think but keep going! Walk your path and know that you will find your way to where you want to go in life. The way is not always easy but just keep going and trust that Life will take you to the experiences that you need. You have to put ideas into action. Action is always the key, after awareness becomes stronger. First, there is the thought, then your feeling about it, and, then, action in the real world if you are going to obtain what you want. What you want, may not necessarily be what you need. Be alert to that! Life will always teach you if you observe, pay attention and listen to Life. Life will let you know which doors or windows are open for you to enter. If they are closed it may be temporary. But, if you insist, they may open. And maybe they will never open. If that is the case, go another way. Either change or try in another way to obtain what you desire. Sometimes, ultimately, however, Life will never open a door or window. That’s just the way Life is, sometimes. That, usually, means you are not listening or observing what Life wants for you, ultimately.
No one, who is telling you the truth, will say that the way is easy, because it is not. Life takes us through the experience we need but we have to participate with and in what comes to us. Grab the chances that do come and the ideas that do come to you. Inventors fail thousands of times before making a new discovery. It is a similar experience to learn a language. Remember, in the beginning, we speak a second language like we speak our first language, but the work is learning to speak a second language the way it is spoken by native speakers. You can do it. It just requires attention and changing habits of speech. Remember, listen! Listen, and remember, how native speakers say things, and the difference in the way that you say things in your your first language
Life is about effort, struggle, work, change and transformation. These are five other stones that will be part of your foundation. The best never comes easily in anything we do or experience. Things change in our life because we change, we transform, not only our world but ourselves. Be open to new things and new ideas, always. That is the key to transformation. Change always comes into our lives, but you must grab the chances if you think they are important enough. You will always find something new to interest you in English, just keep searching. Never give up. If you do, just pick yourself up again.
In Japan, there is a saying: Fall seven times, get up eight. [ 七転び八起き ]
Things change in our life because we change, we transform, not only our world but ourselves. Be open to new things, always. Change always comes into our lives. You will find something new to interest you in English, just keep searching. Never give up. Always look, always search for more. You just have to be curious!
Don’t believe me, know it for yourself!
Believe your self! Believe in your own ability and believe in your constructive dreams.
Everyone has their likes and dislikes so why not find what you like and learn it in English, as much as you can!
Become knowledgeable in what you like to know and learn. You learned your native language because it came naturally to you. You were surrounded by it. You learned it slowly and little by little, always building on yesterday and hoping for tomorrow. Live in the present moment, each present moment. Listen and understand, really understand the fullness of each word you are learning.
Look in the dictionary!
Use all the dictionaries necessary, bilingual, monolingual, slang, expressions, etc. Observe the way people write in English and the way people speak it. The written word, when it is spoken through the written form, is usually the formal way, mostly. The spoken word is not only informal, usually, but it can be formal depending on the context you here it in. There are many levels of understanding, depending on the words you use and hear. What is said, and the context you are in, will also affect your experience. Knowing a second language fully, and even your own native language fully and as completely as possible is, always, to experience it and learn from it. It makes your life much richer and much more vibrant. Deep and full knowledge of language will make your life a much more meaningful experience. There is no end to knowledge in anything we do in life. Knowledge is neither a goal nor a destination; it is a journey in more and more understanding throughout our lifetime. It has always been so and it will always be that way.
Surround yourself, as much as you can in English. Make it your second language, your second life. If you really want to get to the level of English to be able to speak fluently and effortlessly, you must do the work.
Learn to succeed because you can! Success is not necessarily worldly fame nor is it worldly power. It is to be happy in the way that you can be! It is to become satisfied with who you are or who you are not, what you do or what you do not do and what you have or do not have. Life is about becoming your real, true self. It is becoming more evolved inwardly first, then outwardly and then, finally, it is about being at peace with yourself and the world. The rest, what we see in the world, is temporary. It is an illusion. What most people think is happiness and success are not, necessarily, so. Material success and gain is wonderful, yes, but you can’t take it with you when you go from this life. Your experience, whether good or bad and what you become from these experiences and what you are, is what you will finally realize at the end of your life. Is it what you want? Was it what you wanted? Will you be happy or not?
Stay strong when you think you may be going through a bad period with English. It will pass like all periods of good and bad do. It takes time for our mind to fully absorb and acquire a language.
Take a break from English for as long as necessary when you think you have had enough. You need to rest your mind often. You will need to give it a rest when you think it is too much to learn but, if you just wait and follow your imagination, when prompted internally, you can find so much in this world that you will never have to worry about getting bored, ever. You can make your experience a pleasant and even fun way to learn naturally without getting stressed about it. The key is not to do what bores you but to do what stimulates you. We cannot always avoid having to study boring material because our authorities, at school and at a job, will give us things that, maybe, we are not interested in, however, we have to try to make it interesting for ourselves. Remember, we have the Internet now. Much of your research and understanding will come through your travels on the Internet looking for information. There are many resources of information to help you online with English. With the Internet you can travel anywhere you want, virtually.
You have a dream to learn English.
Follow that dream, persistently and dedicatedly.
You can do it.
You just have to know that you can and not give up.
Go through the process, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence until you are at the level you want to obtain in English. It will get easier but, remember, you will always be learning something new, if you want. Keep in my mind that we are always learning something new in our first language. In another language, it is the same thing.
Nothing is impossible for you to achieve unless you decide it is.
Remember these sage words of The Oracle of Delphi. They pertain to anything you want to do and be in life.
Contemplate them, not just the words, but the real deeper meaning.
What are you going to do?
How far are you going on your journey towards mastery of the English language?
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The Untold Want
“The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Leaves of Grass, Songs of Parting
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