英語学習で過小評価されている読み書きとグループレッスンの効果 (Part 1)



The overlooked benefits of writing, reading and group classes for studying English (Part 1)


In this post, I would like to share some remarks on two things that I’ve heard a lot in my one year and a half of teaching English in Japan. Namely, the following two statements:

“I want to take one-on-one sessions, because it's the best way to make progress.”

“I’ve done plenty of reading and writing in school already, so I don’t need any more of that.”


It’s not that those two comments don’t make sense. They do, but in my opinion, not in all contexts—because each English learner is different and faces different challenges.


Learning English is not a one-directional process

When we are asked about our proficiency in any language, answer choices go along the lines of “beginner,” “intermediate” or “advanced.” But this hides a more complex reality.


You can be able to read in English easily, even on complicated topics, but not be able to handle daily conversation. Instead of seeing learning English as a straight line that goes from complete beginner to fluent, it seems to me much more accurate to see it as a group of skills that reinforce each other. For instance, if you work on your listening comprehension, of course, you are primarily improving that skill (recognizing sounds), but at the same time, you are improving your vocabulary and grammar, hence also your writing and speaking.


Writing and reading practice is key to achieving fluency

This is why I tend to cringe when I hear things like “I don’t need to work on reading and writing.” In my view, it really depends.

For instance, one of my students used to be in a relationship with a native speaker and as a result, has very good listening comprehension skills and vocabulary. Despite this rich lexicon, my student’s ability to express herself has remained weak because of problems with sentence structure, and in particular, word order. So I advised my student to focus on reading and then writing. Not because she had a need to improve both skills in the short term. But because reading is the fastest way to understand grammar, to get a feel for it.


When you read, your brain accumulates examples of properly structured sentences, and so forcing yourself to read, even though it is a bit difficult in the beginning, has incredible benefits. Then, when you write, you force your brain to remember these examples of proper sentences. You write down your thoughts, and you take a bit of time to analyze what you wrote and try to correct it. Because it improves your overall grasp of English grammar, this exercise will make it that much easier for you to express yourself orally too.


In sum, if you have been mainly practicing English conversation and are frustrated because you have reached a plateau in proficiency, the solution for you might be to start working on different but related skills (typically, reading and writing) that will strengthen the level you’ve already achieved through English conversation.


Do you agree with these unsung benefits of writing and reading? Leave a comment below to let us know!

We'll continue our reflection on one-on-one classes in the second part of this article. Have a great week!

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英語学習で過小評価されている読み書きとグループレッスンの効果 (Part 1)






















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