Jack Richards is a big name in the world of English language learning and teaching. In the video below from Cambridge University Press (an EnglishCentral partner), he discusses a number of things that learners need to be able to do well so they continue to develop.
He reviews the research of Richard Schmidt who developed theories related to attention and noticing that have had a large impact in English language teaching. He supports the need for students to become more “language aware” and notice the differences between their own language and that of a native model. The precise thing that EnglishCentral provides so effectively.
“Many people (language learners) develop fossilization, they have learned English, used it for years but contain many fossilized errors, errors that are stuck. They (the learners) don’t seem to have moved beyond a certain stage of proficiency despite repeated opportunities to use English. And I think they are not aware of it because …. they haven’t noticed the common mistakes they are making, no one has ever pointed it out to them.”
Are you someone who is a “dinosaur” and your English just isn’t improving? Well, according to Richards and Schmidt, you’d benefit from more language awareness, more “noticing the gap” between yourself and native speakers. (read more about noticing the gap – here).You’ll improve faster if you become aware of your own errors and what you can do to improve.
Schmidt even goes further and says (and this recent paper of his is a nice outline of his research):
What happens then within attentional space largely determines the course of language development, including the growth of knowledge (establishment of new representations) and the development of fluency (access to those representations). Evidence continues to accumulate that noticing has a strong impact on second and foreign language learning.
So how do you become more language aware by using EnglishCentral? Here are a few pointers.
1. Pay attention to your own speech and the native model. Click on lines you’ve spoken and listen to your own speech and then the speaker of the video. What are the differences?
2. Listen with intention. The cloze listening activity (LEARN) should be done and learners need to listen for key language when listening. Intention is key to improving fluency and read more in this article.
3. Use your pronunciation profile. After you speak 100 lines on EC, you’ll get this in the top right corner in the progress bar. Click it and view what sounds you don’t pronounce well (red). Become aware of these and practice the courses there to improve (click each sound).
4. Go Live! Right now in Korea and Japan, learners can take a free level test and also get one-on-one tutoring. We will be launching this service in other markets soon.
Your tutor is your coach and will help you become more aware of what you are doing wrong and ways to improve. This direct, immediate feedback from a professional is something invaluable and a proven best way to become fluent and become a more “aware” language learner.