This is the current English learning plan in action from July through September, and then we will review progress and adjust planning.
Currently we are focusing on improving spoken English, as it has the greatest impact on daily life and is where my communication skills are the weakest. However, the overall English skills also need to be improved, including reading, where I need to build up more vocabulary and master the skills of reading long and academic texts, and writing, which we use the least, but which is something we cannot ignore. For listening, I’m processing information every day and will practice it along with speaking, while the vocabulary part will be handled in the reading training, so we don’t need to do special practice for that. Here are the techniques we are currently using.
Liulishuo-AI Pronunciation Training: 20 minutes per day
This really helps me to identify weaknesses and mispronunciations. Through 20-30 minutes a day, we learn and practice English pronunciation through systematic study and training, which really helps a lot in the last three months, but after we reach a high level in all aspects, we now focus on daily correction.
Although this is based on American English, links, rhythms and other rules are common to all dialects of English, and we will use other methods to relax and train the accent.
Imitation/Shadowing – Aussie English Youtube Channel: 30-60 minutes per day
Shadowing is a widely known and effective method of learning a language, and it is exactly how young children learn to speak. By imitating the way native speakers speak, we will practice the skills we have learned from systematic pronunciation training, while training the mouth muscles to adapt to spoken English to sound more fluent and fluid. We will also adjust our accent and learn how to say common phrases on different topics, which really helps me to organize all my daily conversations in the same way as a “native” speaker.
In short, I watched and understood the entire video, became familiar with all the words and phrases used in the video, and then we repeated and imitated the way he spoke, starting with a small paragraph, repeating every few words, then pausing and comparing, then shorter sentences, then longer sentences. When we were confident and satisfied with every word we said, and it sounded exactly like him. We start shadowing, putting the video in a very low voice, trying to speak at the same time as him, comparing, making sure we can speak in the same way, and then we can move on to the next clip.
That’s how we practice speaking English, and all the skills I learn will be directly used in my daily conversations, so it’s really easy for me to feel a big improvement. I try to shadow as much as I can, and it becomes a habit for me when I’m doing a fitness workout, or even when I hear someone talking, lol.
Liulishuo – A+ English Course: 30 minutes per day
This is a systematic AI-based English course developed by a Chinese company, and to be honest I’ve been using it for a long time, but I didn’t stick with it during my high school years, otherwise my overall English level would be much better now I believe.
I will be learning grammar, listening, speaking and vocabulary on different topics in my daily classes, learning English will be a long process and this is just one part of it.
They also have an overseas version called Lingocamp which I believe has the same content as the Chinese version. My current level is a 5, which is equivalent to an IELTS 6-7, but this course is too easy for me and I believe my bad pronunciation makes the average score worse. It says if you keep doing it for 30-60 minutes a day, it takes 1-2 months to improve a level. So the goal is to reach level 9 in a year. By completing all its courses (70 more to go).
High School English Class: 120 minutes per week
The reason why you can use your first language so well is not only because you keep using and practicing it every day. We studied Chinese in school for over 12 years, so that’s why you can read and write all kinds of articles. It’s a long and huge amount of training. So I’m taking high school English classes with other kids starting in 7th grade, which will be a long journey for me, but I believe it will help build my English mind and really dive deep into the culture of this country. The progression will be the same as school, but I won’t be taking breaks, so basically I will be studying two years worth of content each year. We will take virtual classes and do weekly assignments, just like any other school-aged child. My reading and writing skills will be improved through the school curriculum with the goal of reaching the English level of an average first-year university student in six years.
English Vocabulary – Linguist: 20 minutes per day
Of course, we still use the most traditional way to improve our language skills and remember more words. I found linguist to be a great app that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to decide which words to examine. I use it to learn new words and try to imitate example sentences so I can practice my reading, writing and speaking.
50 words per day, usually takes me 15-25 minutes.
Entertainment and Extra
Aussie English Podcast: 40-60 minutes per week
As learning really becomes an essential part of my life, we try to fulfil every single pieces of time to study and practice. So we listen to Aussie English Podcast when we can’t access the screen, like walking or running. We listen and try to do the oral practice with him, and it will practice my Listening and somehow Speaking skills.
Two episodes per week, 40-60 minutes.
Book Reading: 30-60 minutes per day
Of course, besides learning, we have entertaining daily life, and yes, I have been watching English movies and other things for a long time. Well, English is the primary language, the common language we use to get and process information. But reading would be a better way to improve general reading and writing skills, and I would learn new words, train my brain, and become familiar with different writing styles by reading books that I enjoy. We have read a lot of books in our lives and should continue, but for now it’s all in English.
Well, that’s how I’m learning English as an adult student, and as I mentioned, I’m turning my life around as a student for a few years before we’re really ready to start our careers. English studies take over 16 hours a week, plus reading and watching movies, we learn by way of entertainment. Including the other foreign languages I am studying (Thai, Japanese and Cantonese) and work-related training, we will spend about 25 hours a week studying while working 15-20 hours. This will be life for a few years, and so far it has been running smoothly for a month and I am very happy with the results. I’m sure things will get better as long as we keep going.
Tommy 5 Aug 2022 Midnight