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How to Start Learning English

"If You Want to Learn English, You Will Need a Map"

It is the year 1520. James and Albert live in Madrid. They do not know each other. Next week, they both have to walk to London. Albert does not have a map of Europe and has no idea which direction to go in. Stephen, by contrast, has an accurate map given to him by a friend of his. You, too, urgently need to get to London. Who will you travel with on your journey to London - Albert or Stephen? Why?

Most people will travel with Stephen, because he has a map. Yet most students would choose to use Albert's no-map approach for language learning. Why? Well, their answer doesn’t really make any sense. They say they prefer Albert’s approach ‘because it requires more work, effort, and determination to succeed’, and so they feel they are doing the right thing. Most students find it difficult to understand the idea that learning can be painless, just like Stephen's journey to London.

So, this is the question: who will you (as a student) travel with to London?



Most students will use their left brain to learn English (vocab lists, grammar, analysis, tests etc), but real learning takes place in the right brain. A student trying to learn with the left brain is actually working against the brain, so they have to work hard, study, memorize and so on. A beginner student should begin by 'mapping' (see Asher and Krashen) the right brain. Using this very simple technique, students will learn large chunks of language in a short amount of time.

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