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To Learn to Communicate in English You Need these 7 Traits

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 @ 07:35 AM

communicate in English checklistWhat kind of person tends to get the most from their private lessons and learns to communicate in English naturally? I have worked with many different adult English students over the past five years and I have noticed that those who learn quickly and learn the language well tend to have certain character traits and skills.  In this article, I will tell you what these traits are. If you don't have these traits, don't worry! It doesn't mean that you can't learn English. It just means that you will now know what you can work on. So keep reading to find out what the six character traits and skills are that help you learn to communicate in English.



Do You Have These Seven Traits?


1. Curiosity: Being curious is the key to learning anything new, especially a new language. Curiosity is linked to motivation and intelligence. English students who are curious are eager to learn.  They ask questions and they want to know how to apply new vocabulary words and expressions to different situations. They can't wait to get out and practice their English on a regular basis.


2. Organization: If you are an organized learner, you know how you learn best. That means, if you know that you learn new vocabulary words by writing them down and reviewing them regularly, you bring a notebook to class to record new words. You schedule a specific time every day to practice your English. You organize your time and your materials so that your mind is clear and ready to learn.


3. Self-Discipline: a huge part of learning a new language is self-discipline and dedication. These are crucial to your success. Learning English is not always easy, but the abillity to stick with it and persevere will make the difference between a student who improves significantly and a student who improves only a little.


4. Sense of Humor: You must be able to laugh at yourself when you learn a new language. This is one of the reasons why kids sometimes have an easier time learning languages than adults. They haven't developed that inhibition and self conscious attitude yet. But if you are an adult, you can learn to laugh at yourself. To learn English, you need to relax and know that it is a process. Don't be hard on yourself.  Leave your ego behind when you go to your English class.


5. Patience: A major obstacle to learning English is perfectionism. Learning a language is a process and you will inevitably make mistakes. Be patient with yourself and don't take a short term perspective. Look for long term benefits of learning English and have faith in the process.


6. Self-Awareness: You need to have self-awareness to recognize your feelings and your apprehensions toward learning English. If you don't have self-awareness, you might not realize that you you have patience, self-discipline or curiosity. To learn to communicate in English, be a little bit introspective. Look into yourself and take note of your attitude toward learning English while you are in class and while you are practicing outside of class.


7. Cultural Competence: When we learn English, we are not just learning isolated grammar points and vocabulary words. We are learning to communicate with people from a different background, with different values, communication styles and basic assumptions about life. If you have some awareness about how English speaking people view the world and interact, you will learn to speak English more naturally, with an inside perspective on the culture, not from the outside. This is a powerful and effective way to learn English. Read more about culture.



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photo credit: Daniel Henriquez

Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English

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