In a city like Brno, with a lot of international students and and IT specialists from abroad working alongside locals, you have a unique chance to improve your English, and of course to help foreigners adapt to a new country.
In fact, when someone asks “how can I improve my English?” it seems natural to advise that you should study more phrasal verbs, learn some new idioms, and meet others, with the aim to reach a higher level of English.
But what if we flip the question to:
“Why am I learning English?”
Then your answer might become any of the following:
– to meet people and connect with them
– to improve my career opportunities, for example, so I can apply for a business course in London
– to date and marry someone special
– to make new friends
Oddly, if you’re focussing on how you can improve your English, maybe you can forget why you’re learning English in the first place.
You need to have a purpose. What is it?
Once you know what your goal is, don’t the clouds clear a little? Because then you have a programme of what to do next.
If you want to make friends with visiting Americans and Brits, then that’s your goal. Your goal isn’t really to ‘improve your English’. In fact, that’s when you can put down your pen and English coursebook at home, and take action to make connections with expats in town. For instance, you can check out the East Village bar or perhaps The Immigrant. These are two places where you’re likely to meet them. Of course, you can also find English book clubs and business seminars and presentations.
As English teachers, yes, part of our job is to help you improve your level. But I’m noticing a lot of people who are ‘studying English’ are not really doing much outside of class in the language.
Sure, you may be busy, but ultimately isn’t the ultimate goal to feel fulfilled in some way?
Attending a course on its own might not completely fulfill you – teachers can give you some tools to communicate better in the language, but fulfillment comes from taking action after answering the question “Why am I learning English?”
If you’re like most learners, you’ll be fulfilled by doing in your real life whatever it is that you want to do with the language.
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In a nutshell – to say it directly and briefly
Purpose – goal you want to reach, a reason for doing something
To flip – in this context, to change from one point of view or perspective to another
Fulfilled – happy and satisfied