What is the best way to practice English after all?

Most adult students complain they don’t have time to study English at home and because of that, they can’t improve as much as they would like to. With a little bit of effort and focus, it’s possible to change this mindset and reach more satisfying results.

In the book The Miracle Morning, author Hal Elrod defends the idea that there is no such a thing as a ‘morning person’ and anyone can be productive at the break of day, if 1) they really want to and believe they can overcome their limitations and 2) they create a powerful morning routine to help them get rid of the belief that they are not cut out for waking up early.

With this in mind, let’s describe the best habits for students who wish to reach extraordinary results in their English studies. This may not work for all of our students, but it can certainly help those who are looking for different ways to reach particular outcomes.

  1. Neuroscience discoveries have shown that we learn better when there is spaced contact with the content, so studying a little every day is way more effective than studying a lot on one day. In other words, our students can plan 25-minute daily study sessions to ensure they have a consistent connection with what they are learning. A 25-minute session (this is called the Pomodoro Technique)  is the key to help them avoid procrastination since it is not much time and they can work on fully focused mode. They should set a timer and get as much done as possible in this time and continue from where they stopped on the next day.
  2. Doing it first thing in the morning to avoid excuses at the end of the day is also recommended, before they start their regular routine to ensure they get their studies done. To do so, they should wake up 35 minutes before they are used to, 10 minutes to get prepared, brush their teeth, have a glass of water (to boost brain focus) and leave the smartphone on flight mode (otherwise they will easily waste time checking social network). This can be tough at first, but as they do it, they will get used to the new routine and will feel highly motivated to keep doing it (the feeling of mission accomplished in the end is extremely rewarding). Getting up right after the alarm clock goes off also helps people who find it difficult to wake up early. The more we snooze, the harder it is to convince our body and mind it’s time to leave the bed.
  3. Preparing the study session beforehand is key to avoid wasting time figuring out what to do. They should choose (with your help) one thing they are going to focus on improving at a time and how they are going to develop that. Once you both are satisfied with their performance in that specific area, they can choose something else to work on. Trying to develop their skills as a whole can be confusing, tiring, and also demotivating, as it is much harder to perceive progress. They should also prepare the physical space and the materials they will need the night before, whatever they can do to avoid time wasting and help the brain get focused.

To help your students understand how this kind of practice works and to allow them to decide if they want to give it a try, I have recorded a video explaining what they can do to reach learning results like never before, and you can access (and share) this video by clicking on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jTAGUjEcZg&t=2s

I hope your students enjoy the idea!

Marcela Harrisberger

Marcela Harrisberger has been an English teacher for over 17 years, she is also a teacher trainer and a professional coach certified by the International Association of Coaching. She is Brazilian, but she is based in Germany. She holds a CELTA, a degree in Educational Psychology and another one in People Management. She teaches mainly Business English to Brazilian students online.

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