By Duoli Wu
Do you remember Duoli’s story? Are you interested in what’s going on with me recently. Since September 2011, I have insisted on learning English step-by step. In 2013, I moved into Level 6-7 and 7-8 ESL classes to study English. As a senior learner, it is more difficult than for younger people. Not only is it hard to remember, it is also easy to forget. I always tell myself “I’m the oldest student in ESL English class, but I don’t want to be the worst one.”
So I have studied English very seriously and I have been a conscientious student. Every day I come to class regularly and I’m punctual even if the weather is bad. In classes, I listen to the teacher attentively and take detailed notes. After classes, I always review the lessons completely and do lots of exercises- more than what’s required from the teacher.
I organize the vocabulary into different groups and use them to make sentences for memorizing new words. Moreover I usually borrow some English Grammar and Vocabulary books from the library and I study them in my spare time. I have done this so that I passed every test at each level of the ESL program. All of my benchmarks are now at Level ‘’8”. This is the highest level of ESL measurement of progress.
On Jan. 28, 2013, my instructor gave me a comment on the ESL Learner Progress Report. She wrote, “You are such a dedicated English learner and are progressing in all areas.”
One June 25, 2014, another teacher wrote, “Duoli is the most hardworking and conscientious student I’ve seen. Duoli always does above and beyond the required, she’s a true role model to her classmates.”
In fact, I’m crazy about learning English by listening to the news, reading, books and speaking with others, and it has already become part of my life.
First, I have been determined to do more practice continually. In my opinion English is a skill; learning English is always a challenge. It is necessary to keep our eyes on the prize, as it takes time to develop and never has any short-cuts. I think the most important thing is do more and more practice.
I practice by making sentences and stories to help me remember new words, and I have also written lots of letters and e-mails to my teachers and friends; and they have corrected mistakes. As a result, I really got better at correcting my mistakes. This has encouraged me to practice more, and more practice really helps me to brush up on my vocabulary and improve my English skills.
Next, I made a goal for myself to overcome the problems in my English. As usual, many problems , such as pronunciation are ongoing; spelling has lots of mistakes, many phrasal verbs and idioms are confusing; I can’t follow the speaker in the news, and can’t fill out some medical examination forms. What can I do to overcome them?
In the beginning, I create a short-term goal to work toward the bigger one. For example, how many new words, phrasal verbs and idioms do I want to learn and how many English articles and books am I prepared to read? These can be integrated into daily and weekly lists, and I regularly make sure they have been done well.
Besides reading and writing, making conversation with others is an effective way to improve my speaking skills. After class, I like to just hang out with friends, and speak to them in English, whenever I can. For example, making small talk with someone at the bus stop or on the bus beside me. I also use English and practice during vacations. I make conversation with people who are around me, I order from the menu for meals on cruises; and, I understand the guide who introduces information about a resort in English.
In addition, I use English as volunteer translator in my seniors’ building to help people who need to understand English. I help with writing meeting notes, reading government letters and with accompanying others when they go to see the doctor. Moreover, I also use English to study the Bible in my church.
The most important point is that, I believe winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit. I also believe that every little effort helps a lot. Nothng is impossible. You never know what you can do until you try.
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