I advocate this natural learning method with three basic principles.
I. Learning English should follow the principle from simple to complex, from easy to difficult, and from rough to subtle.
A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one's feet. We should try to avoid pursuing what's beyond our reach in English learning. If we choose and study some difficult, complex, subtle materials at the very beginning with the hope of having better effect, it's proved to be a wrong attitude by practice. If learning materials go far beyond learners' actual language level, such challenges aren't desirable and just make learners frustrated and painful. It's the worst thing that learners' interest and confidence are destroyed by unsuitable materials.
Your thinking will be affected by your mental state. You'll think quickly and memorize easily if you're in high spirit and full of confidence, then you'll get twice the result with half the effort in such a good mental state. Therefore, you should improve your English step by step in your English learning without the wrong thoughts of cracking English within ten days. Language learning is a lifelong developmental process, so don't think you can master English thoroughly only through a period of great effort, and you should know there's no end for language learning.
So long as your life keeps changing, your language, as a rendering tool, will constantly undergo representational redescription, which makes your language expressive level higher and higher. It's natural that you'll attain high degree of professional proficiency and enjoy more and more fun in your language learning.
If some English works seem too difficult, complex and subtle to us, I must point out, it lies in our lack of similar life experiences apart from the obstacles of language itself (vocabulary and grammar). Because we're in too low life levels with too superficial thoughts, it's natural we fail to understand the profound meaning of those articles.
I've been impressed by a statement, "You must learn more things beyond poems if you want to learn writing them." Actually, English learning isn't different at all. You must learn more things beyond English if you want to improve your English expressive level. You're just an outwardly attractive but actually worthless person without enough knowledge no matter how well you've mastered those English language skills.
Actually you can get enlightened by imagining the pyramid shape. The pyramid stands firmly with a big bottom but a small top, and we should use it for reference in our English learning. Complex materials base on simple materials, difficult materials base on easy materials, and subtle materials base on rough materials. The simple, easy and rough materials serve as the big base of pyramid, while the complex, difficult and subtle materials serve as the top of pyramid. We can reach the glorious summit of pyramid if we learn English in this way.
II. Learning English should follow the natural sequence of listening prior to speaking, reading prior to writing, accumulating prior to applying.
There's an ancient saying: After reading up three hundred Tang poems, you can at least intone poems even you can't write them. This experience completely accords with the logical law of learning.
Absorb more language materials according to your actual level and interest in your English learning. With your open mind, absorb as much as you can, and accumulate rich language materials as many as possible, such as English songs, novels, newspapers, magazines, movies, etc.
Hold an attitude of embracing everything just like ocean containing hundreds of rivers. Because human brain has such a function of processing language materials automatically, it can produce some useful language information when materials have been accumulated to a certain extent. It's natural you want to speak when you've heard a lot, and also natural you want to write when you've read a lot. Everything has been done in a natural way, then success will come when conditions are ripe.
As input and accumulation, listening and reading function as observation-based learning. Try to imitate very pronunciation and intonation, every word and sentence from the rough to the subtle with a natural attitude. It varies with each individual when to rest for a period of time and let those input language materials processed in the brain according to the individual character.
When you feel your head is stuffed with many language materials just like a teacup full of water, it'll overflow if you continue pouring water into it. Well, seize that critical point, then start your rest. So-called rest, I mean you forget all those absorbed language materials and throw them into your subconscious mind.
The active method of rest is to do anything irrelevant to English without worrying you would really forget them. Psychology research points out a human can remember what he's interested in and forget what he isn't interested in. What attracts your interest will be kept in your mind deeply without thinking of them all the time. Just for this reason, I particularly suggest that choosing English materials should be different for each individual. You must choose what you have interest in, otherwise there won't be any good absorbing effect.
In my view, your interest in materials shows the door of your mind is open to them, otherwise, the door is closed. Even you've read a lot of materials, but if you have no interest in them and your brain rejects them, it means you've absorbed nothing at all.
As output and release, speaking and writing function as feedback-based learning. Try to practice bravely without being afraid of making mistakes in your speaking and writhing. Only in brave practice can you exert your brain's function of self-repairs in language. And your English expressive level will be improved little by little in the process of success and failure.
Listening and reading is half of a full circle, complemented by speaking and writing as the other half, and with both given the same attention. Keep Circulating around the circle so that you can constantly improve your ability in English listening, reading, speaking and writing.
III. English learning should cover the gradual process from wrong to right and from rough to perfect.
Many English teachers hold such an idea which is wrong in my view. They require students to speak absolutely correct English at the very beginning, so they explain every word and sentence very carefully, and persevere in criticizing and correcting students' mistakes. This eagerness for quick success and instant benefit will do great harm.
It's very common to care more about the result than about the process. When it comes to English learning, in my opinion, teachers do too much for students in the gradual process from wrong to correct and from rough to perfect, which almost deprives students of good chances for growth from mistakes. It's natural the temporary effect is good, but the long-term effect is opposite. Students don't have deep impression on what they've learned and forget them easily because they don't experience a long process from wrong to right.
A poem says, knowledge from books isn't enough, only through practice can you
really understand it. In English learning, teachers should create free space for
students to make mistakes and develop their self-repairs in language with deep
impression and good effect. It's a very selfish attitude that teachers are too
eager to see the teaching effect. A good and responsible teacher should respect
the objective law of language learning and lead students to advance step by
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