Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you under the illusion of fluency?

Are you having a hard time overcoming challenges in learning English?

Everyone learns in a different way when mastering a certain field or topic.

And it can be difficult to learn if you don’t equip yourself to succeed.

This is why most of the time it’s easier to give up than to learn something new.

Jeffrey Puccini, the Executive Director of Interlink International Institutes, shares with us insights on what has worked well with him when learning a new language. Interlink provides English immersion programs to students in North Carolina and in other centers in the United States and worldwide.

He shares three principles that are scientifically proven to ensure you reach the fluency and confidence you need when learning English.

Learning Challenges

Today we talk to Jeffrey Puccini, the Executive Director of Interlink International Institute, who is also a language learner.

He has lived and worked abroad and has tried learning multiple languages. His latest adventure gave him the opportunity to learn Thai.

Despite his experience in taking up different languages, he still comes across difficulties in attaining fluency.

Jeffrey has learned so many languages, and one example of a challenge he experienced is when he was learning Thai.

He found it very different compared to other languages, like Korean.  

There were more letters in their alphabet and it became very hard to keep track of it.

But he was really motivated and he shares that this is the first step needed to learn a new language.

Without this, you won’t have the will to reach completion.

Next would be the discipline to stick to a process that will help you make progress.

And through the years, Jeffrey has picked up several tips and tricks to make learning languages easier.

Three Tips in Learning English

Jeffrey has found that you should look at all other disciplines when it comes to understanding how to learn languages.

We shouldn’t limit ourselves to just the science of it but also look into fields like Neurobiology, Anthropology, and others.

Jeffrey has come across this theory from a recent body of literature called “The Science of Learning” where they look outside of just language learning and look to learning and science in general.

With this, he has shared a few tips to help anyone who is learning a new language.

There are numerous study methods and processes out there to assist you.

But you can start with these three tips shared below.

These will help you focus and ensure you reach your English fluency goals.

  • #1: Spaced Repetition

Basically, this means that you are breaking up your available study time into smaller chunks. This is a very well-known and effective method that relieves the pressure of taking all information in one big block of time. Instead of studying an hour every day, you can try allocating four 15-minutes sessions a day which makes things easier to digest with minimal stress. This is being applied by most of our students wherein they take the time to learn in small intervals while on the go. They would listen to our podcast while they are heading to work or before they go to sleep. Jeffrey has also supported this and shared that there are studies that show our brain absorbs knowledge faster when we wake up and before we go to bed. The option to learn in smaller pockets of time is not only convenient for someone who is always busy but can also be helpful to someone who has a short attention span.

  • #2: Retrieval Practice

This relates to the natural phenomenon known as “The Illusion of Fluency.” This term refers to misjudging your understanding of a certain topic. It’s when you believe you have grasped the depth of something but when you get asked about the details, you realize that you don’t really know enough about it. To avoid this mistake, Jeffrey advises you to constantly test yourself. This would reinforce what you are trying to learn. To implement this in learning the English language, you can use flashcards to review. This is a good method to check your knowledge if you are studying independently. It will push your brain to be more active. This makes your study process more dynamic. Aside from passively listening or reading through different materials, testing yourself prevents you from falling into the illusion of fluency.

  • #3: Deliberate Practice

You need good and immediate feedback when you are learning a language. In the book Peak by Anders Ericsson, the key to achieving greatness is practice. The essential part of proper practice is to have someone to guide you. This works very well when learning a language. It would be difficult to learn a language without having someone else you can bounce off of. Having someone else correct your grammar or redirect you when you are straying from your study schedule is important. We recommend that you try your best to arrange this type of practice multiple times per week.

Takeaway

Even as adults, we shouldn’t stop learning new things.

There are many upsides to learning.

It gives you a chance to explore and connect with the rest of the world.

You open yourself to understand different cultures, be aware of wonderful places or generally be in touch with innovative ideas.

Most would be intimidated to learn because it is difficult but there are ways around that.

The three tips shared by Jeffrey today will help you learn better, especially in learning a new language.

Implementing these correctly would make the process of learning easier.

We look forward to hearing from you how much these tips have improved your method in learning English.

Which of these tips will you put into practice right away?

Bio

Jeff Puccini has a rich and extensive background in teaching English, teacher training, curriculum design, and language learning; both online and in-person. He is proficient in Spanish and is currently and actively working on Thai. He is from Chicago, has lived in many different places, and is now based in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is the executive director of INTERLINK International Institutes.

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