When you think about improving your English, what truly motivates you? Do you have a big dream that strong English speaking skills will help you achieve?
Maybe you want to get a promotion, or study in the US or another English-speaking country, or finally watch your favorite tv show without subtitles.
It doesn’t matter what exactly your personal goals are; having a dream is what’s going to motivate you to find focus and make steady progress towards achieving your goals.
In fact, this aspirational approach is what inspired Ryan from English for My Dream to start helping advanced English learners learn language that will take them out of the textbook and into real life.
As you watch the above video, pay attention to the way we use conversation skills to keep the conversation flowing.
For example, Ryan asks me to clarify what I mean in order to appropriately answer my question.
Think about how I use active listening techniques to show him that I heard what he said and encourage him to keep sharing.
Notice how asking better questions helps the conversation become more interesting.
Understanding Culture to Move Beyond Your Current English Level
In our conversation, Ryan and I discuss how he got started working with young learners and professionals while living in Korea.
Because Ryan and I share similar experiences working and living abroad (Ryan worked in Korea while I worked in Chile and Peru), we understand why English learners from different cultural backgrounds than us face particular challenges.
Both of us have methods we use to help our students and clients gain confidence and communicate more clearly.
We talk about how culture influences the way you learn and speak English (one of my favorite topics), and how perfectionism and fear of standing out or making a mistake affects both children and adults.
Ryan describes how translating language and strategies for being polite directly from your native culture and language can actually make you sound less natural when speaking English.
Further, we discuss how studying English in schools using the grammar translation method creates English learners who focus on achieving excellent test results but who struggle to use the English language confidently and creatively.
How Changing Your Mindset Leads to Next Level English
In addition, I share how important it is to use the words you do have to describe a situation, idea, or object whose vocabulary word you don’t know in order to encourage English speakers to supply the word you’re missing.
(Ryan and I agree that this is essential because we both forget words from time to time as well!)
From there, we get to my favorite part of the conversation: when Ryan explains why it is so important to have a childlike attitude towards learning English.
Kids don’t care what other people think! Consider how a kid learns how to walk – he falls and gets right back up and that helps him grow.
Then I introduce the importance of beginner’s mind and explain how it has been helping my yoga practice.
Finally, Ryan identifies the importance of having a specific purpose for learning English because it puts you in the right mindset to achieve your goals – after all, that’s why his website is called English for My Dream!
You’ll notice that Ryan names small talk as the most essential conversation skill in English. This is one of my favorite topics!
Now it’s your turn! What did you learn from watching this conversation between me and Ryan? What is the number one tip that you’ll start using right now? Leave a comment below and let us know.