Is there anything Japanese English learners should work on?

Q: Is there anything Japanese English learners should work on, but they don’t do enough?

A: Yes. Practice! I often have students tell me they don’t have any time to practice, but then they ask over and over again “How can I improve my English?” Unfortunately, we cannot wave a magic wand and learn a language (I wish! Then I would speak them all!), so if you truly want to learn then you MUST make time to study and practice. And remember that output is probably the most important kind of practice. You must give your mouth time and practice in order to form shapes the muscles aren’t used to forming. That way your pronunciation will be nice and clear!

I usually tell students to start out with making 5 short sentences OUT LOUD every time they walk into a new room. Look around – what do you see? Say it. The sentences can get longer as they get used to doing it. This gives them practice thinking quickly in English and also practicing their speaking skills. 

Ex shorter sentence: The window is open. A pen is on the desk. The light is off.
Ex longer sentence: The window is open even though it’s cold. My favorite pen that I bought at Daiso is on the desk. The light is off because the bulb has burned out.

DON’T SKIP THE STEP OF MAKING SHORT SENTENCES! Even if you are a more advanced student, we must first build the habit, then improve on the habit. Don’t try to run before trying to walk!

The above is the kind of assignment I usually give, but they don’t do it, lol.


Q: 日本人学習者がもっとやった方がいいことはありますか?

A: もちろん。練習よ! 生徒は私にしょっちゅう練習する時間がないと言いつつ、「どうしたら英語が上達しますか?」と繰り返し尋ねるわ。残念ながら、魔法の杖を使って言語を学ぶことはできなくて(できたらいいのにね!みんなを話せるようにさせられるのだもの!)、もし本当に習得したいなら、絶対に勉強と練習する時間を取らないといけないわ。そして、自分でやってみることが最も重要な練習だということを覚えておいて。自分の口を動かす時間を設けて、筋肉がまだ作るのに慣れていない口の形を作れるように練習しなければならないわ。そうすることでみなさんの発音がきれいで、明瞭になるのよ。

私はいつも生徒たちに、短いセンテンスを5つ声に出して言うことから始めなさいと言っています。周りを見てみてー何が見える? 言ってみて。文を作ることに慣れるにつれ、文を長くすることができるようになるわ。これをやることで素早く英語で考えることや、スピーキングの練習にもなるの。