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How to Learn English

By Noga La'or

Part 1 of 4

For many years, I lived in Bogota, Colombia where, I think, everybody wants to learn English. It almost seems as though there"s an English language school on every corner. And that doesn't take into account that students also learn English while they're in elementary and high school, as well as at university. Sometimes it is as though everyone is taking some sort of an English course at any one time. And yet, some people are still terrified of the language, thinking that, no matter what they do, they will never be able to learn English.

Take a friend of mine, Janeth, as an example. Janeth has a fear of learning English, but not because she's afraid of learning new things. She is an accomplished physical therapist and just finished a degree in Theology, during which time she had to study Greek and Biblical Hebrew - talk about some tough languages! I remember that Janeth's battle with English began years ago, probably way before I ever met her. And it wasn't for lack of trying - I think she was enrolled, at one time or another - at almost every English language school in the city.

I met up with Janeth a few days ago and began telling her about one of our more accomplished students at Rennert. When this student first came to the school, he spoke no English at all. But when I say "no English", I mean "NO English". "How are you?" Nothing. "What's your name?" Zero. "Where are you from"? Blank face. "Good morning!" Huh?? In language learning, we call this type of student a True Beginner. This is someone who knows nothing at all when it comes to the language. For example, I would be a True Beginner in, let's say, Vietnamese. I don't speak or understand a word of Vietnamese. I don't even know the alphabet. I would definitely be considered a True Beginner.

Well, this student of ours was a True Beginner in English, in all senses of the term. But after a
few months of private classes, where he was taught the basics of the language, he knew
enough English to join our basic level group classes. And now, after nearly eight months
of studying, he can actually carry on a full conversation in English! He's still got a long
way to go, but his accomplishments have been fantastic, and have not gone unnoticed
at the school.

When I told my friend Janeth about this student, she looked at me and her eyes lit up. "That
means I can learn English, too, right?", she asked. "Of course you can!", I said with excitement.
Anyone can learn to speak a foreign language, even if it takes some people longer than others.
And here's how you can do it...

Go to Part 2 »

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