With much of our country wrapped in snow, and the kids clamoring to make a snowman, winter sports such as skiing are on my mind. I think back to my high school skiing trips, and learning the basics of how to start and stop while on the beginner slope. And I realized that learning to improve English, spoken or written, is a lot like learning to ski. In the beginning, you just need the basics, a few simple rules to help you survive.
If you don’t live in an English speaking country, the basics may be all you ever need. But, if you move to a country where English is the common language, you will probably want to improve your spoken English and writing skills.
In skiing, if you want to move away from the beginner slope, you may need some instruction to improve your skills. Some people can watch and imitate a more experienced skier, and they learn all they need to navigate the more challenging intermediate slopes. Others, however, need a few hours of coaching from an instructor to master the skills they need to safely make it down the harder slopes.
Learning to improve your English skills is much the same way. Some people can watch and imitate their friends and co-workers and learn what they need at that point. For others, a few hours of personalized instruction with an accent reduction specialist makes all the difference in their language skills and accent.
And then there are those who really want to ski, but just keep falling flat on their face. No matter how hard they try and how much they watch others, they just can’t figure out how to keep the skis under them. It is important to them to learn how to ski, so they hire a personal instructor who will watch them, determine exactly what they are doing wrong, and teach them the skills they need to be a successful skier.
For many non-native English speakers, the story is the same. They have tried watching others, reading books, and watching videos, but their English pronunciation just doesn’t improve. They really want to speak English more clearly, but they can’t figure out what to do. They need a personal instructor, just like the skiers did, to walk alongside them, show them exactly what they’re doing that isn’t working, and teach them the skills for success.
So, where are you in your journey to improve your English, spoken or written? Have you learned all you need from English classes and friends, or are you looking for the instructor who will guide you in achieving your English pronunciation and writing goals?