Everyone has their own unique style of learning.
And most students do not like learning English in a traditional classroom setting.
I hate earning languages like that!
I tried learning Spanish the traditional way for many years and it did almost nothing for me. I probably could have learned Spanish at school if I really tried hard and loved the classes I took, but I didn’t.
I got nervous in class, never did the homework and was always trying to just pass the class with a C or D grade.
But after I started to travel abroad when I was 23 I realized that I can learn a foreign language if I do it in a way that works for me. I can actually learn them quicker than a lot of other people in the right circumstances.
I learn languages best by interacting with people in that language in a natural setting, and also by doing daily listening practice.
This works for me. I’ve proven it through becoming fluent in Portuguese without any formal learning.
What’s Your Learning Style
How do you learn best? Have you ever even thought about this question?
Did you know that there are different learning styles that exist for adult learners?
If you didn’t then today is your lucky day.
I am going to show you the four main learning styles and also specific activities you can try that coincide with your each style.
If you can develop habits based on the learning styles that work best for you, you will start seeing progress faster. I promise.
Also, if you are an English teacher or thinking about becoming one, teaching to the student’s learning style is definitely something to consider in order to achieve faster results.
One thing I have noticed through several years of teaching English is that for many of my beginner students, getting outside of the classroom and walking in the street, pointing out objects and talking about the environment can be very effective in crossing the beginning stages of English.
I personally believe many people learn by ‘doing’, making the language come alive, instead of just from words in a book.
But first, a story…
Chevrolet da Silva Ford
Once upon a time there was a boy named Chevrolet da Silva Ford. Let’s call him ‘Chevy’ for short.
In order to become competitive in the Brazilian job market, where Chevy was from, he had to improve his English. He already spoke a little, but definitely couldn’t hold a conversation in English .
Every day at work was scary for him because he thought he would miss out on opportunities due to his poor English. He was constantly anxious about it.
One day he saw a funny advertisement on TV with some famous American actors promoting an English school.
“Haha!! That was funny,” he said. One of these English schools with the cool commercial was in his city, so he decided he would take classes there. After all, if famous American actors promote it on television why wouldn’t it be a good school?
They also offer a magic pencil that sings songs while you write with it.
This school must be magic! he thought.
The next day Chevy walked into the school and was greeted by the cute, young secretary.
“Oi, tudo bem?” she said in her cute, young voice.
After several minutes of talking with the secretary, he decided to sign up for a six-month course. He would get a shiny new book, a folder to put it in and that magical singing pencil.
His first class started a week later. He was excited about it. He took his new book and magic pencil with him and optimistically walked to the magical English school.
But this story doesn’t have such a magical ending… 🙁
After only the first class, he quickly realized that the method was the same as all the other schools he’d tried.
A teacher stands in front of the class while “pulling” the students through the book, page by page. The students repeat words, practice dialogues with the student sitting next to them, then are given assignments to do at home before the next class.
The class was boring and definitely not magical. The singing pencil wasn’t even that special. It only sang children’s songs which were written in the book.
“What a stupid pencil,” Chevy said (in Portuguese)
Chevy only made it through two months of class. By the third month he was totally unmotivated and quit going along with half of the other students.
Another failed attempt at becoming a confident English speaker.
What happened to Chevrolet da Silva Ford happens all the time. He was enticed by some million dollar advertisement on television and was convinced this school must be the secret to his English success.
But the problem is that most people do not learn English in this type of environment. It’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ format, made to work with everyone. Schools have to create programs that can be used for all their students, it would be impossible to grow a huge English school “business” without systematizing their method.
This is good for the school as they can grow and build schools all around the country. But it is bad for you.
So what can Chevy do?
There are many ways to learn English these days. You do not have to learn from a book while sitting in a classroom.
What I do at Inglês Ninja is match people’s learning styles and specific English needs with the latest technology so they can use the methods work best for them.
The key is to experiment with different programs and websites to see which ones you really like and which seem to be the most beneficial for your English.
This can take time as there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of options online.
But if you are new to this style of learning I’m going to give you some advice on where to start.
Start with this
How do you know which style of learning is best for you? Well you don’t have to choose only one, but starting with something that fits your learning style can really bring you faster results.
Why? Because it is based on science.
Learning styles are how we think about and process information.
There are four basic learning styles for adults. They are as follows:
- Visual: You use images and spatial understanding. Color, layout, and spatial organization are important to you. Mind mapping, diagrams, and visualizations are your tools for learning.
- Auditory: You use sound, music, and spoken word to understand. Music, rhyme, and sound help you associate and visualize what you are learning.
- Verbal: You prefer words thought speech and the written word. Linguistics is your learning center; writing and speaking are the most powerful tools for your learning.
- Physical (kinesthetic): You learn by doing something. Physical touch and action are vital to solidifying ideas in your mind. You respond better to physical objects than to written words.
Learning styles are important because they are based on your psychological structures. They are how you interpret the world around you and process information.
When someone like Chevy is forced to learn in a style his brain is unaccustomed to, progress is often slowed (such as at the boring English school.)
This is especially true for adult learners because, by that age, their brains have been structured throughout childhood toward interpreting data in a specific way.
It’s important to consider that people are different and respond to learning styles differently. The best way to discover what works for you is to simply try it, then take the most effective techniques and apply them to your daily study.
I’m sure you are now burning with desire to know which learning styles you learn best with.
To find out, you can do a quick online test, where you will also get my list of English practices that fit each style –
So what does this all mean? Does it mean that you if you find your learning style you will learn English at lightning fast speed? Well, not exactly.
But if you can discover and focus on your personal learning style, or styles, and apply them then you can learn English much faster.
Everyone is unique and everyone needs to tailor their studying to their particular learning styles.
A Happy Ending for Chevy
After taking the learning styles test, Chevy realized that he’s a visual and kinesthetic learner and started using techniques that were specifically based on connecting with his style.
Chevy started to see progress, which kept him motivated to keep learning.
Like I already said, there’s no miracle or secret, the equation is simple; the more you practice the faster you improve, but using the right methods that work for you will greatly speed up your progress.
I have put together a list of many different activities based on different learning styles. This list is totally free, and if you want it, just go here and I’ll send it to your email.
Now go take the learning style test and start experimenting with different techniques.
What type of learner are you? Let us know in the comments.
Kevin is the chief Ninja at inglesninja.com, where he helps people become confident English speakers. To get his free course, Ninja Fluency – How to drastically improve without stupid English schools, just click right here. You can also find him at www.inglesninja.com