Attending an English class will not make you able to speak English. Most people believe they can be fluent in English by only listening to a lecture and relying on their teacher. On the other hand, they do not want to practice, watch English movies, sing English songs, or try to speak the language daily.
Referring to the table adapted from National Training Laboratories stated by Maine Bethel, listening to a lecture is the least effective way of learning. It only contributes 5% to your progress in learning. From this point, we know that doing more activities will give us a better chance to improve our English competence.
To learn English effectively, we have to do more practice. We can do several activities which help you learn English. For example; we should read more English books, set our phones, games, and social media in English, watch English videos on the internet, engage in group discussions with other people, and find a speaking partner to practice our speaking. With advanced technology development, we can do all activities easier than before. We can learn a lot of fields from our homes by using a smartphone. The help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) can assist people in practicing their English. We can easily download some free applications on the Play Store or App Store such as Duolingo, Elsa, Fondi, Grammarly, etc. Thus, the choice is yours whether you want to practice or not.
Fiki Naki, one of the famous Indonesian YouTubers, has been making videos capturing his activities when conversing with people on OmeTV. He does not need to go abroad to speak English fluently. He only opens his computer. Type the address on the browser. Then boom!!! He can speak English with some foreigners directly. Some people have proven that these kinds of practices are so effective.
Learning a new language, especially English should involve a lot of activities to get a better outcome. No one can speak English fluently if they never practice their language to communicate. So, start now. You have to spare your time to practice. If you are still a beginner, you can speak in front of a mirror. Speak by yourself when you are alone. You can talk about whatever ideas come into your mind. You can start practicing for about 15 minutes a day. Try to increase the duration of your practice. We must not give up learning. Tell your friends some vocabulary when you get some new words. Try to use the words you find when practicing. Finally, do those activities over and over for three months. Then you will feel the difference. Your English will be much better than before.
So, if we can learn by ourselves, what’s the role of the English teachers in this case? Did you know the answer? Yes, of course, we still need them. Their role is still significantly vital. They will help us in learning. They will guide us by providing some material we should learn. They will tell us the best practice we should do, correct mistakes we make, and be our assistants when we are practicing. They will also tell us which one is natural, which one is true, which one is polite, and which one is rude. If we do not have an English teacher, we will take a very long time to be good at English.
In conclusion, we have to change the focus. We are supposed to stop relying on our teachers. You have to remember that the success of our English learning depends on the practice we do every single day.
by RIKO ARFIYANTAMA, M.Pd.