Find out how WhatsApp can help you to improve your English in a more gentle, forgiving and personal way than face to face training and how it can expose you to reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills all via your mobile phone at a time, space and device to suit you.
Two days at Ascot for my language learning ladies, was all it took to turn around their English learning story.
You see most of the ladies hadn’t spoken much English since school and had tried to improve their English in a number of different ways but they never really managed it.
What’s the word again?
In the beginning, these ladies’ English vocabulary was still there somewhere, in their brains, but certainly not on the tip of their tongue when they needed it. Instead, the words were stuck in traffic inside their brain, lost and inaccessible.
Relaxed, friendly and informal learning
Thankfully the WhatsAppTM course before our trip to the UK enabled these ladies to give their language some ‘loving lubrication’ in a very relaxed, friendly and informal learning environment BEFORE we met in person.
As one lady said (translated) “It was a relief not having to have people looking at me as I searched for words, my phone in my hand and my brain drawing blanks”.
I don’t know whether you have ever thought about this, but eye contact as a critical component of social competence in many western cultures, is something that most of us appreciate and expect in our own language, isn’t it?
And yet, that can turn against us when we are learning something new.
You know when you are feeling overwhelmed, under pressure, perhaps a little stressed or embarrassed, well that eye contact suddenly seems to be laden with expectations, which tends to make us feel even more uncomfortable and intimidated.
That’s not the intention of the people looking at you. The reality is that is purely your perception based on your lack of self-confidence at that moment in time. That voice inside your head is just that inner critic turning simple eye contact into laser focused “swallow me up now!” expectations.
Real Life Comparison
If you were asked what was for dinner and you hadn’t decided yet, it wouldn’t be a big deal, would it? You would just scan the fridge or raid the freezer and come up with something to feed the family.
Eye Contact & it’s impact on learning
You see as you search for answers, whether it be the right grammatical structure, the right word or phrase or even working out how a word is said – this thought process often requires you to stop talking. Just for a moment. It really isn’t for long, but it can feel like forever.
During this short break in the conversation – just like when you are speaking your own language and you lose your train of thought, you subconsciously stop talking to give your brain a chance to catch up.
People will be prompted by the silence to look at you in expectation. It is a sign of respect in some ways, a little signal from those you are speaking to, that they are still listening. The intentions are actually quite kind, considerate and well meant but if you feel insecure about what you are saying that very eye contact can bring you out in a sweat.
Well, take it from me Honey, taking time to think about things is a rare skill these days, afford yourself that time – learn online. It’s like practising in secret.
My WhatsApp course requires you to type your opinions, comments, examples and ideas in the group . But it feels safer, more forgiving because as you type nobody can see that you are pausing for thought, changing your mind, correcting your sentence or looking something up. So you see, online language learning gives you a safe space in which to get your English up to speed again.
Learning a language doesn’t have to be an endurance test.
In fact modern language learning theories favour learning that is relevant, timely and conversation based. We are a fully grown adults now, there is no need for us to hold on tightly to conventional language teaching methods that clearly have never worked for you. It makes sense to use a simple technology that is free and available on any device in conjunction with a native speaking trainer for personal feedback and group tasks.
If you are relaxed, your brain can work more effectively.
Why put yourself under more pressure than necessary?
Just because online you are not talking to someone, in real time, face to face, it does not mean that your brain doesn’t have to go through the same process. The planning procedure is the same. Finding the right words, grammar and pronunciation. So you see, in many ways, WhatsApp or online learning is a far softer, gentler approach to rescuing your English. Be kind to yourself, keep life simple.
Some people are convinced that they can write better or faster than they can speak. In reality if you were to try to write or even type the words at the same speed as you speak, you would struggle. The reason for this is two-fold.
1. It feels like you are taking ages to say something but in reality it isn’t nearly as slow as you feel it is.
2. Writing something down includes all of the edits that you make, not just the time it takes to write the final version.
But will I get any speaking practice?
Yes. The microphone option on WhatsApp lets you record a message and whilst the microphone icon can make it appear more scary than it is, this function is really valuable – it helps learners to practice their spoken English and pronunciation too. (You can delete it instantly if you are not happy with it and re-record it)
Whilst it might seem intimidating at first, ultimately conversation courses are about talking, and so as you get to know the participants and start feeling more comfortable using English, I will encourage you, then insist that you use the microphone for the tasks.
If you want to master something, you need to take a step outside of your comfort zone.
Some people prefer talking to writing or reading, others take advantage of the microphone to speak their answer rather than typing which can be tricky on a bumpy bus for instance or faster than typing it out.
So you see, in many ways, WhatsApp or online learning is a far softer, gentler approach to rescuing your English. Be kind to yourself, keep life simple.
Sign up today for a three-week refresher course, you can be living anywhere in the world and from any device with WhatsApp.
Here’s the German version about the WhatsApp Refresher Course, it starts tomorrow, can’t wait!