Even though I haven’t specifically mentioned it before now, I’ve been consistently challenging you with my articles and video lessons.
The language I use when writing is a little more complex than you may find on other sites for non-native English speakers.
My sentences are sometimes quite long, because I write the way I speak, layering ideas on top of each other.
I speak with a natural, normal speed in my videos, because this is how native English speakers interact with each other.
After all, if you want to be fluent in English, you need to be able to follow the natural flow of conversation.
After nine years of teaching thousands of students, I know this approach truly motivates those learners who aspire towards advanced and fluent English.
Let’s talk about why I challenge you, and how it can help you to understand and speak better English.
Listening to Language Beyond Your Ability
Today I would like to challenge you: I challenge you to find more high quality input so that you have more high quality output.
What am I even talking about? You’re not a robot… are you? You’re an English learner! 🤖
A few weeks ago, I explained how important it is to learn to use your words to sound more fluent in English.
Just like little kids do when they’re learning how to speak, you want to be able to use your words in order to figure out the vocabulary that you don’t have so that somebody else can supply it for you.
On top of that, when kids learn how to speak English or any language, they’re always receiving high quality input from their parents and other people that they interact with.
This is high quality input: kids listen to language that’s beyond their current level of ability.
When they’re starting to learn how to speak, they don’t actually understand everything that they hear.
But somehow naturally over time they start understanding this input, this language that is being used with them every single day. They begin to put everything together and start producing the language.
When you’re a non-native speaker of a language, you need a little more *push* to be able to do that.
As adults, we do not absorb language at the same level that we were when we were infants or very young children.
Listen to and Read High Quality English
For this reason, you need to learn how to do is to challenge yourself to find higher quality input.
When you’re trying to improve how you sound when speaking English, you need to listen to high quality English.
This means that you need to listen to things that are beyond your current level of ability to challenge yourself to push beyond and improve.
This means that you need consistent, high quality input as often as possible. (If you are serious about improving your English, that means listening to high quality English every single day.)
You can watch TV programs or movies, or listen to podcasts, or listen to native English speakers like me speaking at a higher level just beyond your current level of ability.
That’s why someone like me speaks at a normal, natural speed when I’m recording videos.
I want to challenge you to move forward to reach the level where you can easily understand what it is that I’m saying. To interact confidently with native speakers, you need that natural listening ability.
Improve Your Listening to Improve Your Speaking
Beyond improving your listening comprehension skills, high quality input enables you to produce higher quality output, or more simply, speak at a higher level.
When your listening skills are stronger, your speaking skills are generally going to follow.
The same thing goes for reading and writing. If you want to improve your writing in English, you need to improve your reading in English.
That means you need to challenge yourself to read more interesting articles, to read more intellectual texts, to read books, to read anything that seems challenging for you.
To reach the next level of English, you need to push beyond the level of comfort that you may get in a textbook or a site geared towards English learners.
You want to read the same things that native English speakers do, because you need to understand that precise language in order to write using the same kind of language.
Your high quality input in terms of your reading will help you have higher quality output in terms of your writing.
After reading this article and watching the video lesson, do you understand why kids seem to learn English more quickly than adults?
Remember, when kids are learning, they are challenged to understand language at a higher level than they speak.
That is what encourages them to move beyond their initial level of speaking, which starts at 0 and starts increasing from there!
I want to encourage you to seek out higher quality texts and listening challenges. Push yourself to listen to people speaking at a natural speed like me so that you’re able to produce at that level eventually!
It takes time, but it will be worth it. You can train your ear and train your mind to understand these challenging texts and conversations, and over time they won’t be as challenging.
In the comments below, let us know what TV shows, movies, podcasts, or texts you are going to challenge yourself with.
Remember, you want to choose input that is just beyond your current level of English, and then continue to increase the difficulty as your understanding advances!
- Use Your Listening Skills to Reduce Your Accent and Improve Your Pronunciation in English
- Use Your Listening Skills to Improve Your Speaking and Conversation Skills in English
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