Learn English As a System

учить английский системно

Some of my students really enjoy learning English. They spend several hours a day doing some exercises from self-learning textbooks, read books in English or watch TV series. That’s great because this way their progress is faster.

However, there are some cases when students do only what they like doing. Some of them don’t do any homework at all except ONE activity that appeals to them. I had several cases when people spent long hours learning and revising new vocabulary every day, but they had poor results in writing and listening. Even though they learned new words, they couldn’t use them properly because they didn’t activate them in speaking, reading, listening or writing.

How to make your self-learning more balanced?

Just follow The Rule of Seven. You will need to cover three areas of language plus four skills. When you plan your activities for the next week, make sure that you cover all the seven points.

Areas of language are: pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.

Four skills are: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Let’s imagine a weekly plan for an intermediate or upper-intermediate student that would include all seven spheres.

Weekly plan

Monday: pronunciation course; revision of vocabulary using Anki

Tuesday: grammar exercises from the textbook, listening to TED radio hour podcast

Wednesday: speaking practice; vocabulary exercises from textbook

Thursday: reading 3 articles from the Economist; adding new vocabulary to Anki

Friday: writing homework; watching one TED presentation

Saturday: pronunciation course; ; revision of vocabulary using Anki; reading a fiction book on Kindle

Sunday: grammar exercises from the textbook; watching an episode of a TV series

If you draw up a similar plan for you, it will help you to reach the balance and develop equally all the spheres and skills. Good news is that you still can choose the activities that you like the best, but only within one skill or sphere. E.g., you can choose between watching a TED presentation, listening to BBC radio or listening to a podcast (all three activities belong to listening), but you can’t choose between writing a letter or watching a film.