Do You Dream in English?
Welcome to the fifth lesson of our "Why Can't I Speak English" course, Do You Dream in English! In this lesson, we will cover the following topics:
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When Can I Speak English Fluently?
Another thing my students ask the most about English is the “when will we be able to speak fluent English?” question. There is no worldwide accepted way or truth to achieve fluency in English. My student candidates, whom I meet for the first time in my private lessons, usually ask me questions such as "how soon will I get to this level", "will I be ready for this exam in such a time" or "would it be enough if I study this long per week". Guys, I’m not a prophet and you’re not robots assembled in a factory with the same set of features. I can't give certain answers to such questions.
If a language course or a private English tutor you’re taking lessons from says something like “I will get you to this level in two months” or “if you do like this, you’ll pass any exam”; the first thing you should do is stand up, turn 180 degrees and leave that place swiftly. There are so many people in the market who professionally play with people's good intentions and deceive them. Even learning any foreign language has become a market in itself.
I want to make a statement about what I’ve said and about my lessons. In any video lesson you watch from Mr. English, which is my English learning platform, I will never make the kind of promises that I just said: "run away if you hear". The difference of Mr. English from other English distance education sites and courses you can take outside is that English is taught and learned scientifically. I will never make empty promises or make unreasonable or unscientific generalizations. I ask you to keep this in mind and return to our main subject.
Learning English Scientifically
So, what is learning English scientifically? Is there an internationally accepted standard for this? Of course, there is, and its name is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, with the acronyms CEF or CEFR. If you've ever used popular English textbooks, for example, Cambridge University or Oxford University English textbooks, you may have noticed a classification that starts with A1 on their covers and goes on to A2, B1, B2, C1, C2. This classification is the six Common Reference Levels of CEF.
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is a classification made for language learners to evaluate them more easily in different areas by their teachers. So, how are students’ levels evaluated? Of course, their Reading – Writing and Listening-Speaking domains are evaluated, but they explain it a little differently. With CEF, students' four basic language activities: Perception (Listening and Reading), Production (Speaking and Writing), Interaction (Speaking and Writing), and Mediation (Translation and Interpretation) skills are evaluated.
If you want to study English from a CEFR-approved course or an instructor, you need to learn English within some of the criteria they set. The CEFR itself is a very detailed Common Framework Classification and I cannot explain all of it in this course. If you want to learn or teach English with the CEFR standard, you can find more detailed information on the official website of the Council of Europe.
Classification of Life
So, is CEF an essential standard when learning English? Of course not. After all, if there was a correct classification in the world, there would not be dozens of different classification types on the market. But CEF is a very logical and realistic standard. For example, for a student to master A1 level, also known as Beginner level, they say that he must be exposed to content at this level for at least 100 hours in total. Let's make a simple calculation; If you study for 2 hours each day, it will take you 50 days to reach 100 hours of study time. Of course, we are human beings and are in a different mood every day. While one day we could be perfectly productive, another day we may feel as if our brains are not working at all. You may not want to study English every day of the week. This is a very normal thing. Something that you’ve read in your textbook’s pages may take a week of real-world application to master or even more. Some people can put their newly learned knowledge into practice in less time, while others may need more time for the same topic.
As I said at the beginning of the lesson, we are all unique. When this is the case, the 100 hours given by CEF doesn't make any sense. That is why you should not worship any standard like a holy book, otherwise, when you reach the end of the 100 hours set by the CEF, you will inevitably lament "why don't I still understand this". While some people may be able to chat within 3 months, some people may need at least 1 year. Don't see English as an endless destination, but as an ongoing adventure. I am an English teacher and have been speaking English since I was 6 years old. Despite all this time, I learn new things about this language every day. Classifying English in this way is something developed mostly for English proficiency tests such as TOEFL and IELTS. Do you think it is possible to classify real life? Of course not, because the possibilities are too great.
Dreaming in English
I am sure what I’ve talked about has not satisfied some of you. Then let me make a statement like this. Have you ever talked in English with someone or to yourself in your dreams? I am not talking about nonsense English, but English that is composed of proper sentences you know and understand yourself. If you had such an experience, I can say that you are slowly taking your first step towards fluency in English. Of course, it doesn't end here.
While speaking English, many people think beforehand and translate from their native language to English. For example, if your native language is Turkish and you think of the sentence in Turkish first in your mind before speaking English and then translate it into English, then you have a long way to go. You have to give up this habit as soon as possible. The best way to give up this habit is to do lots of practice. For example, write an English story at home every day. If you know English only at a beginner level, you can write lots of sample sentences. As I mentioned earlier, go out and talk to people in English. You can also find foreign friends on the Internet and make video calls with them in English. To master English, you need to do more than fill in the blanks and multiple-choice exercises.
A day (or night) will come and you will start having dreams in English. When speaking to people in English, you will be able to speak without translating just as you would in your native language. Next thing you know, you’re speaking fluent English. Please be patient and focus on learning English by living it, the rest will come in time.
We've come to the end of the lesson, I hope you liked it!
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