This is an all English podcast, episode one thousand four hundred seventy seven, How to Learn English Like a Small Child.
Welcome to the All Ears English podcast downloaded more than 150 million times. Are you feeling stuck with your English? We'll show you how to become fearless and fluent by focusing on connection, not perfection, with your American hosts. Aubrey Carter, the Isles Whiz, and Lindsay McMahon, the English adventurer coming to you from Arizona and Colorado, USA. And to get your transcripts delivered by email every week, go to all ears.
English dot com forward slash subscribe children are like a sponges soaking up a new language.
You can mimic some of the strategies that make language learning fun and engaging for children. Listen today for five tips to learn like a small child.
Hey, how's it going? Lindsey, I'm great, how are you? Good, glad to have you on English. And we have a Web class coming up tomorrow. Oh my gosh. Anyway, tomorrow, I've been really excited about this one, and I can't wait. I think it's going to be so fun to have more of us on the mic in the webcast. I'm so excited for the pre party before the pre party guys.
That's why you have to sign up, mark your calendar and show up early. Don't show up on time. Don't show up five minutes late because you might not get into the room. Show up five minutes early. And where can our listeners sign up for this web class?
Desco right now to learn English dotcom coffee to reserve your spot. And there's details there about the dates. It's on the 1st and the fifth as well as the time. And yeah, I want to make sure and sign up now so it doesn't fill up and you get left behind. I know. I mean it's all about how can we listen in fast groups. Right? Fast groups of native speakers are speaking quickly.
They're speaking over each other. They're speaking fast. How can you get in there, understand what you're hearing and participate?
That's what show you how to do. Yes, exactly.
We will see you guys there. And today, I'm so excited. We have the last of our series for this women and language conference I attended. This one's really fun. It's we're talking about how to learn English like a very young child.
So we know science has shown us that they sort of have a leg up on us. The younger they are, they do.
They know they're like sponges, right, for Badcoe.
So I know you there was an episode not that long ago where you talked about what you learned from spending a week with a two year old.
And I bet that's what you saw, that she was a sponge. Oh, my gosh. That was when my niece was two and now she's six. That's so crazy. Oh, that was a little while ago.
A while ago. Four years ago.
But anyways, yeah, kids, they just learn quick. But there are certain things that we can learn from them. And today's episode is inspired by who?
Aubrey, who is the inspiration for this episode?
Yes. So her name is TV. Basically, she is the founder of a language school called French Speak.
So you can find that at French speak dotcom PKU and will also post a link to that on the blog. Yeah.
So thank you. In advance from time to TV, some of these ideas are her ideas and we're going to add our own ideas on top of it based on our own experience. OK, guys. All right, cool. Let's get into it. Yeah.
So this was a very appropriate for me because, you know, I have small children and you do you have to really engage them. You have to make it interesting or they are you're going to lose them, you know, and it's the same with us, with language.
There's so many things that we can do to make our language learning more interesting. So the first one, she was just talking about how important it is to make it fun.
Have you found this, Lindsay? Do you have to make your language learning fun or are you able to just read a textbook and on your. Good God, no.
No, I was I've never like when I learned. Yeah, when I learned French, I try the textbook method. It didn't work well. But then when I learned Spanish, it was after school, after I was in any kind of formal education.
And I learned it through honestly, through living in New York, speaking with Spanish speakers and then traveling in South America. So the part that was fun to me was that I was going to immediately use it with with natives, but that doesn't have to be the only way to do it. Right? Right. Yep, exactly.
Like that is the ideal when we can be immersed in learning with natives. But when we don't have that option, there are certainly better ways to be learning rather than through textbooks. Right. We don't want Will and TV was talking about how because we often learn languages initially at school, we end up associating it with hard work or homework, and we forget that it still needs to be fun and we need to keep it fun or we're not going to stick with it.
Yeah, and I think also probably for other cultures, I'm guessing Japan, for example, the way they learn kanji is so intense from what I've heard.
Right. Because there are 2500 characters of kanji. So I think there's a lot of memorization. So I think probably what happens is they carry those methods over into learning English.
So it becomes kind of drudgery, rote memorization and it's strict and you have to learn X number of words that doesn't translate into fluency.
That's a problem. Exactly right.
And there are so many more engaging ways, like, for example, you can learn through music, movies, podcasts. Right.
It's such a better way to hear native natural English and then practice it.
Yeah, there are so many options. And what about reading for speed? I see this is in your notes here. What's that about? So.
Well, there are different options when it comes to reading. Like you can have a goal when you're reading, you can be like you said, reading for speed. Sometimes she was talking about changing it up, like if sometimes you're just trying to read for speed. Other times you need to read out loud and focus on pronunciation or maybe do a deep dive and look up every word on one page. And the more you switch it up and make your reading different every day or every hour, the more you're going to keep your brain engaged.
I love the. I mean, and different types of formats, right? Maybe she mentioned this, I mean, I would definitely go for a magazine one day, a journal another day, a Web page the other day and then a novel. Right. Always that changing that format.
That's so good. Exactly. Yeah, right. You have to be interested in what you're reading. And if you know, you need to read the news like old students definitely need to and the rest of us who just want to keep up on daily events, that's awesome.
But don't read it for hours and hours, you know, switch it up, read a novel you enjoy and just different types of reading material to keep yourself interested.
Yeah, that's how the human brain works, right? If you get too used to something, you also your learning curve will be slower also because it'll become too easy. Right. I mean, to keep it challenging, you also need to mix it up. Yeah. Yeah.
So her second tip was about repetition and this was really interesting because I don't use a lot of repetition with my language learning usually. But she was talking about how young children do learn through many repetitions. They hear words hundreds, even thousands of times before they even try to use it, which was fascinating to think about.
Right. So she was talking about how there are things we can do as adults, like drilling weak points.
If it's pronunciation or certain words that we know we can drill.
We can, you know, give ourselves opportunities to hear these things over and over or something fun.
An activity like answering the same set of questions about something three times out loud and then recognizing how well you're improving, really paying attention to that so that you can feel, you know, it's your confidence improves as you get better.
Yeah, for sure.
And just to add to this, I mean, a pro tip, kind of a secret that we can always do and no one has to know. You can repeat things in your head all the time.
Yes, I tend to do that.
I think I have I've got a weird thing going on in my head, but I repeat things I hear silently all the time. So when it comes to learning languages, it's actually pretty easy because I just hear it and I just repeat it silently. And so that can help me to get the pronunciation as well as the vocab.
Interesting. Do you do that in in like just language is your learning or do you find yourself doing it in English as well. In English too.
In some kind of state. In my mind I don't know. It probably helps your memory and recall. Like what did I tell you. Oh, I remember because I repeated it in my head four times. Yeah, I can, but it's definitely it's like a mat.
It's kind of a secret weapon when it comes to learning languages. But even if you don't do this naturally, you can do it on purpose. Right. You can decide to just silently repeat the words. You hear the phrases, especially when you're on natives. It's so good.
Yes. Oh, so smart. I'm going to do that.
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She was talking about how important it is to not worry about mistakes. And this is really she's preaching to the choir here because we have to tell you guys all the time, don't worry so much about mistakes. Don't try to be perfect. And it's really true. Young children, they don't care if they're making mistakes. They're just going to say it either how they've heard it or, you know, they don't even care.
And it's, you know, there's there's different schools of thoughts of whether you should correct children or not. But in general, for adults, we don't get corrected and we shouldn't write because we shouldn't be so worried about the mistakes we're making.
Yeah, I mean, that's a good point. You know, often our listeners probably want to work with a teacher and they'll say to the teacher, please correct all my mistakes. But that's not always the right approach. It's not always the right approach.
That teacher shouldn't be correcting every single thing you say. They should be focusing on a few specific things. Right, exactly.
Yeah. And then worrying more about, you know, the general understanding comprehension. And are you able to then use the language? Right.
I mean, we could take this even further to Obree and we could just say try to make mistakes, like aim for twenty mistakes a day.
You know, you can learn, you know, you're using the language for sure.
I mean, we have a lot of power to manipulate the way we think about things, you know what I mean? You don't have to say a mistake is bad. A mistake is good. Right, guys? So play around with that a little bit change. I love that idea. Yeah.
Because especially if you're intentionally making mistakes, you're going to be more cognizant of them. You're going to recognize them as opposed to, you know, making them accidentally and never knowing what happened. You're going to learn so much more.
I love it. Change the rules. I changed the rules. So good. OK, what's the fourth one?
OK, so she talked about really being intentional with your focus and then breaking everything up into shorter activity. Is she talking about how children have shorter attention spans as we now imagine?
And research has shown that short bursts and short activities are much more effective than long study sessions that aren't, you know, mixing it up?
Yeah, I mean, you probably have direct experience with this OBRA with your kids. Oh, yes, sometimes they've been home this summer, I mean, how have you managed to to break it off also? Your kids are different ages. How do you manage the time with which kids are doing things?
I mean, this has really been key for us. This the short bursts, short activities, especially of six year old twins and online school has been very difficult for them. And they're good for 15, 20 minutes max with any one activity. And then you just have to change it up because the other attention spans not very long.
You don't want them to get bored and act out or give up.
And so this really works for them. But it also works for me as a language learner. I can't very few things can I do for hours and hours before my mind will be wandering and my study is less effective. Mhm.
Yeah. I have you ever heard of the Pomodoro method. This makes me think of that the pomodoro technique is the idea. I think it's like a timer, it's a 25 minute timer where you time your activity and the assumption is that you shouldn't do anything for more than 25 minutes and then you take a break, you come back time for twenty five minutes again. So science proves this, right? This is not just a theory or. Oh yeah, this is true science here.
i really loved this.
And I'm guessing our listeners have seen this in their own lives and it's just a matter of then acting on it, recognizing, OK, I need to actually stop myself after about twenty five minutes
Lots of other things I can do that will also be valuable. Let's switch up the activity.
Yeah. I mean if we know this is true in other aspects of our lives, like we don't want to do anything for more than, you know, 15, 20, 25 minutes, why would we try to do the opposite with English learning? Why would we try to sit down and take out a textbook and stare at it alone in a room?
Don't do that for an hour. Why are you right? So, yeah, you heard last tip.
Talking about how with children we're patient, we give them time. You know, the metaphor of learning to swim. Parents don't or shouldn't just throw the kid in the deep end of the pool and say, good luck.
You know, we give them time. We give them baby steps to learn the fundamentals and and get their feet wet, you know, get used to it a little bit before we give them riskier, harder activities.
And it should be the same with ourselves. Give yourself time to become fluent. Yeah. Kind of scaffold that learning gradually. Understand where you are. Understand when you're making a wise challenge or when you're goal, you're too far in. Right. You're to your over and over your head, as we say. Speaking of that, last week my dog, he does not know how to swim and he jumped in a lake and I had to pull him out and he's like, flailing.
And I'm like, oh, my God, he's going to sink.
Were you fully dressed? You had to jump in and rescue them. I had to do a bit, not completely jump in, but I had to, like, pull him out and everything got so. Oh, my God, it was crazy.
I just had to share that he was going after a ball and he was really excited about the ball. But yeah, sometimes we just. It's a good analogy, right. Don't jump in too much. Don't jump in too deep. Know where you are and what you can handle. It'll be like my dog. Exactly right.
And that way you can celebrate successes along the way instead of just feeling frustrated all the time because you've, you know, taken bit off more than you could chew and, you know, you're trying to do too much too fast.
And then you don't feel those successes. You want you want to feel that progress, see that progress to stay motivated.
Yeah. So I think our listeners that they have to take it on themselves to be a little smarter about how we're learning. I think you guys are already doing it because you're listening to this show, right? I mean, that's the first step. You're learning in a new way. But now let's tweak the rest of the way that you're learning. You're so good. Exactly.
So, you guys, we just want you to know that there are so many aspects that you can take advantage of of the things that do make learning easier for small children. Right.
Learning a language. So try out these tips. It is going to make your learning more fun, more effective. It's going to help you stay more motivated.
So just like you were saying, you know, it's now it's a matter of like you're already doing some things right. You just kind of need to tweak your perspective and try these things out and see if it helps.
Awesome. I love it. I love it. And guys, if you want more from TV basely, right. The founder of School of French speak, go over to French speak dotcom, a view that would be the place. And we'll leave the link on the blog. Right, Obree?
Yes. Yeah, definitely. All right.
And I will see you in the Web class tomorrow night. Oh, yes, guys. One more time. Go to all is English dot com slash coffee to sign up and make sure you show up early yet.
We'll see you there. OK, I'll see you there. Take care. Bye.
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