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Sounds like a song I know….But honestly for the ESL learner the enthusiasm at the beginning of the course when you are fresh out of your country or high school and are committed and ready for that University degree that just can’t come fast enough….it IS a long and winding road…and though those first few months on your English course are engaging and amazing it’s tough to keep up the enthusiasm. But how do you seriously keep going? It’s often a 12 month slog to get you from zero to hero.
We have some students who do stay with us for 10-12 months which is a long time, and to let you all know that from our side…we see it before our eyes. The transformation is profound and exciting. To us it seems like only yesterday you were standing in the classroom hesitating and spluttering out your garbled English and now you are standing confidently and having a long conversation with your teacher. It’s absolutely amazing.
But for you, we know that there really are times when you just hated being in the classroom, not for any other reason than you were simply tired. We know there were months when you just felt like you were going backwards and things that you thought you had nailed grammar-wise keep cropping up again as errors in your writing and speaking.
So let’s take another look at what really does happen when you learn English – and it’s probably the same for all hard working ESL students.
|Month||Learning||Motivation||How to deal with it|
|1||Basic grammar and speaking||High. You are about to enter a honeymoon phase||Enjoy it|
|2||A building on the previous grammar and speaking with development in the writing||Reasonably high as you passed the first month and are ready for new information||Enjoy it and take note of your developments so far.|
|3||The first part of the English course where starts to get difficult particularly in grammar.||Your feelings are still reasonably high as you passed your previous months well, but you can see something more complex in English is starting to show itself.||Time to put yourself in second gear. Understand that Month 3 is a bit tough, so listen and engage as much as possible.|
|4||There is some more grammar coming but less difficult than last month||A sigh of relief is present as you realise you have passed month 3 which is your first real milestone in terms of grammar and writing.||You can relax a little, and even celebrate, because the grammar here seems a bit easier, but understand that it is only easier because you understood month 3!|
|5||Revision time for all grammar and skills to date||Though this month is a little easier, you are starting to feel the ‘burn out’ for the first time. You have had 4 months of intense English, you know you are improving but you need to hang in there, the road is still quite a bit longer yet.||Take a deep breath and start gearing yourself up for the second phase of learning.|
|6||The grammar and skills required here are taken up a notch||Your motivation could start slowing own here. The grammar is getting tougher and your enthusiasm is getting lower. Just remember this.||This will be a time to put yourself into second gear fully. Build the energy for English by using your English everywhere every day. This will bring you up to the level where you feel you can start flying with English.|
|7||The toughest grammar and skills needed so far||Here you may feel yourself hitting a wall and are looking at your university course and ask yourself, ‘how much English do I really need?’
This is the first true crunch time between whether you become fluent or just stay an `ESL` speaker for the rest of your life.
|Even if you have to simply go through the motions for the first few days of the course, you have to know that this is where you will be pulling yourself away from the pack. This is where you show yourself whether you are a winner in English or not. Keep going no matter what.|
|8||Another joyful month where revision is the key.||There is some pleasure for you in this month. You have succeeded to get this far and so you will be over the moon. You should be starting to get quire fluent.||Enjoy!|
|9||The true complexities of English will start to be confronted. This can be an easy month or hard month depending on your attitude.||If you have enjoyed month 8 you will find this one also enjoyable as you have accepted that the English you are now looking at is the true English that natives speak daily. The complexities of this can be of interest to you or a nuisance…it’s up to you.||Focus now on a love for learning (it will help you when you get to university too). But also understand you are not yet an IELTS Band 6.0! So still another month to go.|
|10||A development now into a more academic or international English in both grammar and general content skills.||You will begin to feel very tired right now. You see the IELTS exam looming on the horizon and you want it so badly. You just need to keep yourself going.||Hang in there and again, enjoy what you have learned. Take time now to look back on your achievements. This will motivate you.|
|11||IELTS related content is looked at||Though you feel tired, you know this month is a critical one. So focus is high.||Up your game now. Bring out the energy you didn’t know you had. Re-orientate your view of English in terms of what you are going to study. Book yourself for your IELTS exam if that is your goal.|
|12||IELTS is the only thing involved in this month for most of you.||Engage in the techniques for passing IELTS. Tunnel vision starts to get into play.||Let tunnel vision take over. This is the month you completely nail your fluency and understanding.|
So there you have it.
Any other points to mention?