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Lifehacks for learning English are useless

There are so many ways of learning English that a person can easily get distracted while choosing the right solution for themselves

If you browse the internet, you will come across hundreds of "new ways" of learning English. We as humans are often enticed by easy and fast solutions that come at a low price. Since our lives have become very hectic in the last decades, we tend to seek for quick and easy schemes that don't require much work and effort. "You will speak like a native in three months", "Join our online course and you will reach a new level of expertise", "Learn secret service techniques and start speaking like a pro", "Forget about the way you were taught in school, we will teach you how to speak with the help of our uniquely created course". Many people are sold on one of these quick solutions, but the results are rarely worth the effort.


The first advice I usually give when asked "How to master the English language?" is to find the right teacher, not the school that boasts its breakthrough approach. Finding the right teacher may seem easy at first sight. However, one should keep in mind that real expertise takes time and costs a lot of money. Normally teachers will show a number of years of experience, certificates and explain why they love teaching in their profiles. It's tricky because years of experience doesn't necessarily mean becoming better. As a preeminent psychologist, Anders Ericsson, who has spent more than 30 years studying great achievers in various fields, says in his book "Peak," sometimes a younger professional can be much more efficient than an "experienced one" because he trains on a regular basis in a special way that is called "deliberate practice." By this, he means putting in hours of work every day and going out of comfort zone by solving challenging tasks, doing many mental exercises that require effort and time. So, instead of looking at a teacher's years of experience, certificates, and places they used to work in, ask for a number of hours he or she puts in every day to achieve mastery as well as the conferences a teacher speaks at but even more importantly the results their students get. You may as well ask for permission to talk with their current and former students to hear real feedback.


If you are a serious student, you should understand that learning a language requires time, patience and homework that has to be done diligently. No matter how good your teacher is, you will need to do your part. It will be crucial in reaching the desired level of competence.


Don't think that learning English is just hard work. It can and will be fun too once you start to pick up new words, better understand rules, texts, and speeches. You will also like the process more when you feel more engaged. It's a wonderful and never ending journey that will ideally turn you into a lifelong learner.


To put it in a nutshell, follow these three steps to obtain the desired level of the English language:


1) Find the right teacher by focusing on the results he or she has achieved rather than years of experience and certificates in the portfolio. 2) Work diligently, ask challenging questions, practice at least 5 hours a week by yourself (homework, movies, articles, podcasts, applications, etc.) 3) Don't stop learning even after finishing your classes with a teacher.


- Pavel Gubanov