Descripiton,
  • The horizontal axis  - represents how long the learner communicate with others in English.
  • The vertical axis - represents the level of an ability.
  • The yellow area - represents the learner's current ability.
  • The red area - represents where the learner should focus.


It's well known that there are different types of learners and everyone may have a unique situation. Here I am trying to categorize the learners based on their HWW abilities(How to say,When to say,What to say). For more information about the HWW, please read my last post "3 Directions To Figure Out How To Improve My Spoken English."

Following are some typical ESL learners,
  • Learner 0 ( A Very Beginner )
  • Figure 1 - In the first stage, it's suggested to focus on "How To Say" then "When To Say", and then "What To Say".
  • Figure 2 - In the second stage, it's suggested to focus on "What To Say" then "When To Say".
  • Figure 3 - In the third stage, it's suggested to focus on "What To Say" then "When To Say".
  • Learner 1 ( Sound Good, Sound Right Mostly, Sound Inccorrect sometimes )
  • Figure 1  - In the first stage, it's suggested to focus on "What To Say" then "When To Say".
  • Figure 2 - In the second stage, it's suggested to focus on "What To Say" then "When To Say".
  • Learner 2 ( Sound Good, Sound Correct, Doesn't Sound Right Mostly )
  • Figure 1 - In the first stage, it's suggested to focus on "When To Say".
  • Figure 2 - In the second stage, it's suggested to focus on "What To Say" then "When To Say".
  • Learner 3 ( Sound Correct, Sound Right mostly, But Sound Bad )
  • Figure 1  - In the first stage, it's suggested to focus on "How To Say" then "When To Say".
  • Figure 2 - In the second stage, it's suggested to focus on "What To Say" then "When To Say".
I believe that the ideal process to develop one's English proficiency should be like the one of Learner 0. It should be more interesting and better for one's self-confidence. But most ESL students in China are similar to the Learner 3, knowing much of "What To Say", but having little idea about "When To Say" and "How To Say." The situation is really bad for the learners' self-confidence in speaking English. In order to change that, the first goal should be getting to know "How To Say", or "How To Sound Good."

I hope the examples above can help you see the big picture and find out where to focus. Can you see yourself in them? If you don't think any of those cases can nicely describe your situation, feel free to let me know. Good luck with your English learning journey! Have fun and learn!

Best Wishes,
RetSam
2011.05.31

© 2011 RetSam Zhang

Do you want to use this article on your website or in your newsletter? You may, but you MUST include this complete text with it:

RetSam Zhang (Online English Tutor)
Skype:retsamzhang
QQ:752634764