ASK YOURSELF: What am I LEARNING ENGLISH for?

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This might seem a no-brainer for most of you English learners as it wouldn’t be something you’d be doing if you didn’t know why you were doing it – right? Yes, some this is a question that is usually asked before you start your course. You ask the question so that you will make the right choice for your location of course, type of course, type of teacher etc, but how often do you ask this question while you are studying?

Many will say – yes often because sometimes I’m just so tired of all the grammar I go home and say to myself…’why am I learning all this?” – but often it’s about the frustration of trying to find the relevance. For example, you may be learning quite advanced grammar when really you think you only need the basic stuff so you can read the textbooks on physics at university. You justify your frustration by saying that all the lecturing will be done in your own language, and it will only be the technical stuff you need to know. Fair point. But I want you to rethink this question now in a different way.

When we have a plan to do something, there may be certain requirements, e.g. international travelling, you may need a visa, climbing a mountain, you will need equipment, going to a potluck dinner, you’ll need to take something to add to the menu, etc….all these are simple requirements that go with any ruling. The key point to understand here is that when it comes to realizing why you are learning English, there are more layers to the question than you think.

If it were simply a technical reason, why were the books not translated into your language? If it was for understand business contracts? Why are these not translated into your own mother tongue? If it was to understand western movies, you can see a dubbed version and the whole thing will be a lot easier for you. It is the other layers to communication here that are missing. When we learn a language, there is an initial point to it all, but the ripple effect of the results a huge.

Here are some alternative layers to learning English:

  1. To meet and understand different cultures
  2. To understand my own culture more
  3. To understand my own language more
  4. To be able to maneouvre my way through problematic conflicts within my organization
  5. To be able to get a deeper understanding of why something is done a certain way
  6. To expand my mind in all ways
  7. To not miss out on anything
  8. To have an added advantage when applying for jobs
  9. To help my family if they need it
  10. To help my country if it needs it
  11. To find true love no matter what culture or religion
  12. To be able to share what I know to a larger number of people
  13. To change the world
  14. To read more books
  15. To understand what it is like to be human on a much bigger cross cultural level
  16. To try something I’ve never done before
  17. To improve myself in some way
  18. To be able to save time in the long run
  19. To know what’s happening out there in the world
  20. To be able to understand different peoples points of view

…and so it goes on.

If you feel that during your course of study you have lost your way and enthusiasm for learning English – firstly this is a natural position to be in at some stage during any course. But take the time to look at the 20 layers above and find one that you may never have thought of and imagine how this layer will enhance you in your life. Dwell on this for a while and appreciate it.

This may well help you rise up the next morning – go to class and take full advantage of the great opportunity you have before you.

As they say – one step at a time….

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