Learning English without a teacher
Learning English the Pisit way
- Published: 5/10/2011 at 08:00 AM
- Online news:
English is important to Khun Pisit in the import-export business andhe shares his learning methods with us. They include traditional methods and heavy use of online resources, including websites and Facebook.
Learning English the Pisit way
By Pisit Kongphrom
Early English learning: Success and failure
I discovered that I liked English when I was in early secondary school (มัธยมต้น). I found it fun and easy to understand. I continued studying English through upper secondary school in the arts stream (English-French) until graduation and then I passed the entrance exam to Chiang Mai University.
There, things changed abruptly. I studied in the humanities faculty, majoring in mass communication. Very little English was required in the first and second years beyond some fundamental courses. Even though I liked English, I didn't do well, once getting an "F". Most of my courses dealt with reporting, news writing, etc. and I had very little English in my final two years. Thus, I graduated with a very poor knowledge of the language.
Import-Export: English required
When I graduated, I chose to work in something very different to what I had studied – the import-export field. This required a lot of English which gave me much difficulty since I hadn't studied much of the subject in the university. My problems communicating with customers from abroad pressured me into improving my skills.
I started reading English-language newspapers, particularly the Bangkok Post, and I also attended an English language institute. In addition, I practiced listening from audio-tapes and watching movies with only the English-language soundtrack, not reading the Thai subtitles. I understood some and didn’t understand some, but that didn't bother me. As time passed, I began to improve. I understood more and more of what my customers said and my written correspondence improved, making for much smoother communication.
How I learn English today
I still study English continuously and, apart from the Bangkok Post itself, I have added two very useful sources. I use the Bangkok Post learning Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/bangkokpostlearning from where I can access stories from the learning section of the Bangkok Post http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning. There I can find both domestic and international news stories, downloadable sound-files prepared by native English speakers and vocabulary explanations in both English and Thai, making the content much easier to understand.
One important thing in language learning is repetition and I do several repetitions of reading, writing and listening. After downloading the sound file I can listen to it anywhere – in the car, while jogging or while taking a walk. And when I finish listening, I try speaking with the same pronunciation as the native speaker. Facebook is nice too because I can clarify vocabulary and points of grammar. Taken altogether, these two sources are extremely useful to improving my English.
I am still in the import-export business and English helps me immensely in communicating with customers from around the world. I have also found that technology is making the world a smaller place, particularly through the internet and the increasingly influential social media like Facebook and Twitter. This allows us to communicate more quickly and conveniently, increasing our knowledge of the world. And, of course, there is no way of avoiding the use of English. Thus, I suggest you follow some of my methods for improving your English on your own. I can guarantee you will get better.
abruptly – suddenly and unexpectedly, and often unpleasant อย่างกะทันหัน
humanities faculty – the subjects of study that are concerned with the way people think and behave, for example literature, language, history and philosophy คณะมนุษยศาสตร์
mass communication – the study or the mass media, especially newspapers, television, radio, magazines วารสารศาสตร์
fundamental – central; basic; forming the necessary basis of something รากฐาน, หลักเบื้องต้น, พื้นฐาน
reporting – the presenting and writing about news on television and radio, and in newspapers การรายงานข่าว
pressure – a force pressing against you or attempting to defeat you ความกดดัน
improve – to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
soundtrack – all the music, speech and sounds that are recorded for a film/movie เสียงในฟิล์ม
subtitle – a translation or written description of what people are saying in a film or video, that appears at the bottom of the screen คำบรรยายที่เขียนไว้ข้างล่างในภาพยนตร์
bother – to make someone feel worried or upset ทำให้รำคาญ, ทำให้วิตกกังวล
correspondence – the letters, emails, etc. a person sends and receives การติดต่อกันทางจดหมาย, email, etc.
continuously – happening again and again in the same way อย่างต่อเนื่อง
source – a place where information can be found แหล่ง
access – having the opportunity to have or use something มีโอกาสในการใช้
domestic – relating to a person's own country ภายในประเทศ
native speaker – someone who has spoken a particular language since they were a baby, rather than having learnt it as a child or adult เจ้าของภาษา
content – the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing or a radio or television programme deals with เนื้อหา,สาระ
repetition – the fact of doing or saying the same thing many times การทำซ้ำ, การพูดซ้ำ
clarify – to explain something more clearly so that it is easier to understand แจกแจง ชี้แจง
immensely – very much อย่างมากมาย
influential – of a person who has the power to affect a situation มีอิทธิพล
social media – the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.
convenient – easy to do, or not causing problems or difficulties สะดวก
guarantee – a promise that something will be done or will happen คำรับรอง, การประกัน
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager