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Practice is My Best English Teacher

Popularity 2Viewed 816 times 2015-12-12 20:06 |Personal category:English Learning|System category:Others| English, and, practice

From the very beginning when I started learning English about thirteen years ago, I fell in love with it. If you ask me why, to be honest, I have no idea how to explain it. Maybe it’s because of its beautiful intonation and rich verbal variation. Or perhaps the process of learning English itself has the magic of bringing amusement and enjoyment to learners. If you ask me how to learn English well, I will surely tell you “practice is the best teacher”.


Over ten years ago, it might be a common phenomenon that learning English for most middle school students seemed to be examination-oriented. They had to do a lot of testing papers in order to get high scores. Most of them neglected the importance of practice. They seldom opened their mouth and dare not talk to others. However, fortunately, things are getting better and better in recent years. Both teachers and students have realized the important role practice is playing in English study. Teachers have begun to pay more attention to nurturing students’ interest in speaking English and have set many tests on spoken English. Meanwhile, some parents have hired tutors specially for practicing oral English. All these actions can to some extent reflect the fact that practice is very necessary to improve our English level.


From my own experiences, it can be included that practice is my best English teacher. So I’m writing here to share with all English lovers.


About seven years ago, I started my university life in Qingdao, a beautiful harbor city full of my dreamy wonders. As an English major, the first challenge I gave to myself was to initiatively start a conversation with a foreigner. Fortunately, I ran into a foreign teacher on the playground and I plucked up the courage to chat with him. I told him that I really wanted to learn English well and had made up my mind to try my best to speak English fluently and authentically one day. He was impressed by my determination and encouraged me to overcome timidity. He also told me to take as many chances a I could to practice. From then on, I tried to speak English with my teachers, classmates, and friends. When there was no one to practice English with, I would talk to myself and sometimes it seemed very funny. Honestly, my pronunciation and intonation was not good at that time. So I learned very hard in the phonetic class and followed Special English tapes from Voice of America (VOA). Though many vocabularies are new to me, I imitated the pronunciation of each word and the intonation of each sentences very carefully. Earphones were with me all the time. I kept practicing for about half a year and then started to listen to VOA Standard English and CNN (Cable News Network) news, whose speed is much faster than Special English. After a lot of practice, sometimes the sentences were so familiar to me that they just popped out of my mouth when talking to others. Visible improvement could also be seen in my pronunciation and intonation. Gradually I began to taste the effects brought by practice and it encouraged me again as a virtuous cycle.


Not satisfying what I have gained, I found another good method of practice, i.e. participation of student clubs and associations. My first choice was the English Association which had a large group of English lovers. We came from different colleges but for the same purpose of making more friends and practicing English. The association offered us a big platform for social and academic communication. We held English corners every weekend with various interesting themes, games or festival celebrations and of course we would invite foreign teachers and exchange students. The most popular method of practicing was role playing which meant several members were divided into a small group and each were endowed with a certain role before they acted their roles or did performances. Let’s take a four-member group as an example. They were going to role play a scene that a young couple wanted to buy a sweater for their little son and they were in the shopping mall. One member should be the salesman. The other three members were the young couple and the little boy. In this way, every member could imagine that he/she was the person he/she pretended to be and then spoke and acted as that role. We all viewed it as a play and we were the actors or actresses. After finishing one round, we could shift roles in turns or chose the one we wanted to play. By role playing, we could be anyone or say whatever we wanted to. It offered us not only the opportunity of making friends and practicing English, but also the drive to look into ourselves and discover the courage of going out there. It provided us with the power of reaching to others rather than keeping to ourselves. By keeping practicing, we began to be more and more confident.


When I became a junior, I took my second major of International Economy and Trade, because I intended to put what I had learnt into practice in international business. At the same time, I could enlarge my vocabulary of technical words in business. Of course, it helped me a lot with gaining the Business English Certificate. As far as I'm concerned, business usage is a very efficient application of English. If one tries to take command of business English, he will undoubtedly put English into real practice. So after graduation, I have been engaged in English application in international business.


All in all, practice is my best English teacher and I’m sure it will benefit me all through the rest of my life. I hope every one can keep in mind the motto that “to learn in order to practice”.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report Swifty55 2016-7-29 03:43
Practice is the key to learning any new language/ I try to instill this in my Chinese students everyday. Now I need to do the same in Chinese. You got it correct.

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