Ten years has fleeted by since the first day I was forced to touch upon English. To say ‘be forced’ means for me merely due to the needs of educational system that I began to learn it. Recalling my long journey of learning English as a second language, I couldn’t help thinking of one word to describe my feeling-bittersweet.
For an industrious girl, learning a new language is not a disappointing thing at the beginning stage; for me, it is not an exception. I would follow the traditional teacher’s guide to copy the new vocabulary and do all kinds of written assignments every day after school, never listening to the tape, not to say reading after it. After learning English for three years, I developed a deep love for it and gradually gained a sense of achievement from every test result.
Even more, at one time, textbooks can no longer satisfy my strong thirst for having a sound command of English; therefore, I immerged myself in all kinds of contests-based English books. In this way, my ability of getting satisfying marks in the exams increased, and learning English is but a joyful thing for me.
Till the end of my senior middle school life, everything was on the track as I expected. To further pursue my ‘easy’ life of learning English, I became an English major student on campus. Fortunately or unfortunately, I felt that my long time pride for English suddenly collapsed for my English pronunciation and communication skills is far from satisfying. Worst of all, I did not realize it till one of my good friends reminded me of this weakness. I was in a horror.
From then on, I dare not to speak in public as usual, racking my brains to think how to change the current terrible situation. The following days were a painful experience of discovering how to improve my oral English, consulting teachers and classmates and searching on the Internet.
At last, I bought a video-taped book called New Concept English Three and locked myself in a quiet room, imitating and reciting after the video. Later, I changed the material into American Album USA, a conversation-based book. Doing imitating work alone in a quiet room was dull and boring and many times I had to remind myself to persist when I was reluctant to get out of the warm bed to follow my English study schedule in winter. At the same time, I would go to English Corner regularly, speaking out what I’ve learned. About half a year passed, some teachers and classmates cannot even imagine a student with such poor English could make such impressive improvement in oral English.
Another part of my English learning is to remember vocabulary and maybe it sounds weird to someone that I like it and have fun with it. I would buy a vocabulary book and finish it for about a week. Remembering new words is a process of oblivion and repetition. It is, one the one hand, disappointing because I may forget the word even a few seconds later and, on the other hand, rewarding because whenever I finally chewed down and digested it, I could always locate these words in my daily reading. Of course, along with remembering words, I would accumulate new vocabulary encountered in my reading and try to put it in my writing and speaking. For this point, maybe I did a good job in combining input and output together without losing balance.
I always firmly believe what hurts us the most will deepen in our memory, as it is so with my experience of focusing my attention on oral English during my spare time for one year. Four years’ college life witnessed my improvement on the comprehensive English ability, especially on speaking part. Later, whenever I talk with my foreign friends freely and confidently, I feel all my efforts are rewarded.
Reflecting my experience of learning English, I realize that a lot should be improved. Of all, the most important part is the quantity of input, that is, more English-written books should be read because, only if I read English books as naturally as reading Chinese ones, can I find the appropriate way of expressing myself like a native. Another, more practice should be done to develop my ability of talking in English without thinking. All are what I am now striving for.