You may be wondering who I am to write a book about learning English. What qualifies me to be an author? Do I have enough expertise? Do I have enough certifications, degrees, and PhDs?
Please hold your horses. A good deal about me will come out through the stories in the following pages, but here are a few details that may be helpful to know now.
I started teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in 2008. I’ve been an English teacher to such nationalities as Costa Ricans, South Koreans, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese.
I have taught all age groups from kids as young as 2 years old to high school students, college hopefuls, and adults as old as 65 years old.
I’ve been an English tutor to people who are well-established professionals in their home country. Some of them work as doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, and college professors.
These learners whose English proficiency ranges from zero to advanced, enroll in online English classes for a number of reasons.
But among all these known reasons, there’s one I believe that outshines the rest: ESL students want to improve their speaking and writing skills to meet work demands and pursue better job positions.
As of this writing, the British Council forecasts that in 2020 there will be 2 billion English- language speakers or learners worldwide. This is not at all surprising to me.
English is considered the language of opportunity. It is the most dominant language of travel and business. It also allows Hollywood movies to reach an unlimited viewing audience.
The vast majority of the latest discoveries in science and technology are basically published in English. English being amazingly everywhere is undoubtedly the world’s international language.
Over the years, I have gathered an incredible amount of insights as my students attempt and struggle to learn this lingua franca. Countless times, I’ve been asked,
Teacher Kenjie, how to learn English fast?
Every time a student begged me for answers, my brain would scream,
I have no f***ing idea!
Admittedly, I had difficulty answering it myself. I found it so hard to sum up my ideas in a sentence or two.
It’s just one but a kind of question that requires tons of explanations.
Before long, I saw myself in front of my second-hand Lenovo laptop, ideas flowing and fingers flying as I was creating this book. Written by an author you have never heard of, I would like to offer my viewpoints on this million-dollar question:
HOW TO LEARN ENGLISH FAST?
Each student faces a different challenge. It may have to do with either one or all of the following:
There are countless books and blogs out there that promise to help you improve the above areas. Some of those are actually fabulous, while others are practically boring.
Do not misunderstand me. I don’t claim to be an authority on the subject of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
I am not going to be able to compete with the reference books written by language professionals (linguists, grammarians, and editors) and I don’t intend to. I am just a regular guy from a remote Philippine barangay.
But why should you read my book right now? What makes it worthwhile out of the thousands of others on the market? What can I tell you that hasn’t been said? What else can I say that might impact your life?
There are two reasons I can give: First, I have a unique story to tell. It’s a true story that will inspire you, empower you, and help you jumpstart your quest to master English. And second, my book contains actual study methods I have used to get better at English. No B.S., No nonsense.
English is not my native language. I started to become interested in it only in the summer of 1998 right after I finished high school. I had never paid single attention to it from the first day I became a Grade 1 pupil up until the day I left high school.
You have no idea how hard learning English was for me. Its basic grammatical rules had been for me — a mystery. Just like you, I struggled too. No one was there to coach me. It had been all me. Just me.
So, having walked in the shoes of someone learning English as a second language, I can tell you: IT’S NOT A WALK IN THE PARK. That’s why it comes as no surprise to me that you don’t get it right, right away.
What’s surprising, however, is most students seem to think that there are no challenges involved when acquiring a second language. I understand how hard it is to get started.
Learning English, in my case, started as a few days of struggle and then eventually turned into painful months. In fact, the difficulties and embarrassments I had gone through inevitably caused me to doubt myself.
But who would have thought I would end up being an English teacher? Who would have thought I would become a self-published independent author?
I used to suck at anything English: vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. I had trouble understanding words. I made grammar mistakes that made me look stupid. I messed up with my pronunciation big time.
These mistakes made me a laughing stock, and yet I didn’t make it a big deal. Yes, I had been mocked by my friends. But that never stopped me. I picked myself up and kept going until after numerous failures and embarrassing attempts, I got better.
Let me reassure you. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, and how old you are. I’m convinced. If you can stick with your goal for long enough doing the right thing, you’ll get there eventually.
This book details everything I have done to learn English. Take note. It isn’t like one of those get-rich-quick books that promise great prosperity with little work.
My book will show you pieces of practical advice that have helped me get to where I am today. These are pieces of advice that you won’t probably like because they demand you push yourself harder than anyone has ever asked you to push yourself before.
But they are the kinds of unpleasant advice that will help you realize that you haven’t been trying as hard as you think.
You live in an era of information overload. Today, the possibilities to improve your English are virtually unlimited. Back in the days when I had zero English, I found myself in a role where I needed to be creative.
I don’t want you to stick to primitive learning methods that don’t work. I’ve seen so many students using a single method only to end up either being mute or speaking like a robot.
Unlike what most of you enjoy today, I started out with nothing. I had little to no access to better resources. I had no access to the Internet. I had no smartphone. (I had thought I wasn’t even smart at all.)
There were no language-learning apps. I couldn’t afford to hire an English tutor. I couldn’t even afford a pocket dictionary. There was only me and my lofty ambition to learn English. I had gone through a lot of struggles, tons of trials and errors until I found out where to focus my efforts.
You can choose to take the difficult path I took or read this book which is a one-hour online English class worth. What are you waiting for? Whether your level is either beginner, intermediate, or advanced, these failsafe methods are what you’re looking for. Let’s go spill these secrets.
Next: Part I — Vocabulary