Learning English as Second Language


The circumstances that surround humankind’s lives trigger them tostudy more than one language. Most people speak the dialects of theirhome countries. Therefore, when they venture out of their states,they have to acquaint themselves with the language of their newlocations to enhance communication, learning or conducting business.In addition, students who get scholarships to overseas countries,which are dominated by foreign languages, take lessons to learn thelocal tongues before commencing their classes. In the United States,thousands of students undertake English as a subsequent languageevery year to facilitate their communication and participation inclass activities. According to Cook (2013),unlike an individual’s first vernacular that involves learning fromthe earliest age possible, a second language offers limited time.Students set benchmarks to assess their prowess within their settimelines. English originated from Britain, and it is currentlyspoken in more than 68 countries. Some of the states that arepredominantly English include Canada, New Zealand, Australia, TheUnited States of America, United Kingdom, Ireland and some Caribbeancountries.

Significance of the Steps

Learning a second lingo can be a complex encounter if it becomesrandom. English, just like any other discourse appears easy to anindividual who has used it for long. However, it is worth noting thatwhile most people learn the lingo in the most informal way, it can bedissected to simple constituents that can be learned independently(Cook, 2013). A practical approach is, therefore, the mostconvenient way of climbing the ladder of prowess in English.Moreover, the steps assist in creating milestones along the way toavoid indulging in a more complex phase without satisfying the needsof another less demanding stage. The methodological approach is alsoimperative in evaluating one`s skills through standard tests.

The Steps

Setting the Goals and Objectives

According to Cook (2013), learning Englishinvolves fulfilling various tasks outlined in progressive phases.Consequently, a student has to identify the aim of undertaking agiven class. For example, one may want to gain proficiency inreading, writing, or pronunciation. With such goals in mind, learnerswork objectively. In addition, most people learn an alternativelanguage as a subsidiary of another undertaking. For example,students register for English classes while still taking their maincourses (Cook, 2013). It translates to asituation marked with limited time. A timeline is critical to advicein setting benchmarks for the tasks that one wants to fulfill.

Besides outlining what one wants to achieve in a given period,determining the scores to use in assessing whether certainrequirements have been fulfilled is also vital. A novice can set hisor her mechanisms of appraising the level of achievement(Cook, 2013). For example, evaluating proficiency in writingcan involve sending letters or emails to close accomplices andrequesting for feedback. The learner can use the response to measurehis/her skills against the expected outcome. Moreover, at the end ofevery milestone, the instructors, and the manuals offer standardtests that are consistent with the level of comprehension. Completingthem successfully ushers one to another phase. Cook(2013) agrees that a continuous practice, even after emergingvictorious in a given phase of learning, is ascendant to avoidpossible fallback.

Understanding Motivations

There are various reasons that trigger people to study English. Aprocess that is devoid of a motivating factor can be long andnon-objective (Cook, 2013). Motivationcushions one from the hitches involved in acquiring knowledge. It isworth noting that not all students succeed in completing themilestones at the scheduled time. Without a stimulating factor, onecan easily flop or give up altogether. Some of the common inducementsinclude requirements by learning institutions, the need tocommunicate effectively, the desire to interact with others, andavoiding embarrassment while communicating in public, among others.The diverse stimuli also act as tools of evaluation at the end of thetraining (Cook, 2013). For example, astudent who triumphantly secures a place in a prestigious universityafter gaining the mandatory skills in English can term his or herquest as productive.

Locating a Skillful English Teacher

An experienced tutor is an important asset in a student’s quest formastering English. Unlike friends and classmates who may be fast topoint out mistakes, but slow to correct them, teachers understand thepersonal needs of every student. In addition, an instructor explainsthe nature of error and the way to avoid it in the future. Accordingto Cook (2013), the relationship that astudent develops with a tutor becomes a source of motivation tocontinue learning in spite of the challenges. Furthermore, aconsistent instructor can advise a learner on the most convenient wayto achieve the set objectives depending on his or her intellectualcapabilities. For example, fast tutors may find it boring when in agroup of slow students (Cook, 2013).Teachers identify such outliers and provide them with advanced levelof training to help them adhere to their schedules.

Refining the Alacrity to Learn

In addition to having a supportive preceptor, trainees must developtheir willingness to learn. They must accept criticism and work onthe feedback given by the trainers. Sometimes, students deviate fromtheir courses either due to lack of interest or excitement.Classmates and advisers can come in handy to point out theinconsistency and help individuals to roll back. According to Cook(2013), it is also important for people taking English as asubsequent language to encourage their teachers to challenge them. Indoing so, they learn in a modified competitive environment thatinvokes their critical thinking and creativity. However, it isimperative to have a mentor who offers positive criticism andencouragement.

Putting Learning into Practice

Cook (2013) agrees that habituation isarguably the most effective way of learning English. Practicing theacquired skills in an informal environment gives room to make andcorrect mistakes. As the adage infers, practice makes perfectlearners polish their skills in a non-reprehensive environment. Forexample, one can read blogs, English books, opinions and otherexcerpts. When choosing what to read, one may opt for interestingpieces that trigger attention. Other propping activities may includesending emails, listening to audio files, watching English films andconversing with friends.

Using English at every available Opportunity

ESL students should indulge in using English in their conversationsor other forms of expressions to strengthen their acquaintance withthe language. The tendency sharpens their pronunciation, vocabulary,and grammar (Cook, 2013). It alsoinvigorates their orientation to using English in natural settings.Learners also develop confidence in conversing and sharing ideas withother apprentices and natives. This anneals their sense of identityin a new environment as well as satisfaction for having achieved animportunate benchmark in English.

Widening the Scope of Vocabularies

Learners only acquire basic training in English before beingcommitted to lifelong learning. One would be a static student withoutexpanding his/her knowledge in English. Enhancing the word bankintensifies one’s ability to express, interject or introduce acontrasting thought to a given idea (Cook, 2013).It is also worth noting that with the basic skills, one is still anovice learner, and he/she may have difficulties fitting in a societyof native English speakers. In addition, successful amateurs adhereto the basic rules of grammar, including, stress, intonation,spelling, and pronunciation.

Adhering by the Rules

English has various rules regulating its use. The checks help inmaintaining an international standard (Cook,2013). Therefore, one can communicate effectively with peoplefrom different parts of the world. Grammatical ordinances may appearboring and monotonous to amateurs. Nonetheless, complying with themsets one to the path to expertise. Mistakes in the process arecommon. Students should draw important lessons from shortcomings andavoid repeating them. A progressive acquiring of skills is thefastest way to achieve the objective that beginners set at thecommencement of their study.

In conclusion, circumstances and passion necessitate people to studyEnglish as an additional tongue. Unlike the maiden vernacular thatpeople interact with throughout their lives, acquiring anotherdialect involves a systematic way that requires dedication andobjectivity. Learning English effectively involves settingobjectives, spotting qualified personnel and determining the sourceof motivation. Learning from mistakes and adhering to theinternational regulations are imperative for propelling the studentbeyond the basic stage. Moreover, it is critical to evaluate one`sachievements concerning the set objectives. Finally, learning is alife-long process. An individual should not tire from adding newvocabularies into his/her word bank.


Cook, V. (2013). Secondlanguage learning and language teaching.New York, N.Y.: Routledge.