My English Learning Journey

I’ve always been so fond of English learning since I was in elementary school. It was all started with jealousy toward my childhood friend’s ability in singing English song. I come from a devoted Muslim family who believe that reciting Al-Quran is more beneficial than listening to English songs. The collection of cassettes we had were all nasheed or arabic songs. The only English song possessed by my family was a compilation of Islamic song for children sang and composed by Yusuf Islam, an English singer who reverted to Islam. Consequently, I was so envious to my childhood friend when every time I played in her house she was singing Westlife songs along with the music. She looked so cool.
Since then, I have vowed to seriously learn English through any possible and accessible sources. I remembered clearly the day when I spent about 500 grands (it was big money at that time) to buy dictionary, an English conversation video, and other English learning sources I found in the book store. As soon as I arrived at home, I repeatedly played the video over and over again until I memorized all the dialogues.
Recognizing my determination in learning English, My mother enrolled me in an English course nearby when I was in fresh year of junior high school. I only stayed for three months in that course because I thought the course was boring and didn’t challenge me enough. After three following years, My mother had me enrolled (again) in an English course. This English course was way better than the previous one because It gave me a challenge to overcome. The teachers forced us to speak in English. They wouldn’t give us an excuse to speak in Indonesia. In the beginning I kept mouth shut, didn’t even utter a single word. As the time went by I was well-adapted with that kind of learning environment and even felt it was the best way to improve my English speaking skill. To improve English speaking skill we need to look for people with the same interests or join an English club or conversation group.
On the other hand, for understanding English grammar, I learned from an English grammar book by understanding the rules one at a time and did many related exercises. However, it would be hard if there was no trigger to do so. I felt the need to study grammar since I had to teach about it to my students. When I was a sophomore I began to work part time as an English teacher.  Most of my students were in senior year of high school who were dealing with English grammar rules such as tenses, conditional sentences, derivative, and many else. Therefore, I had to know better about the subject material than my students. Rather than took it as a burden I took it as a challenge. At the end, the effort paid off. In 2011, I got an exchange program scholarship from the Australian government. One of the requirements for being selected was TOEFL ITP over 550. I met the requirement through a single TOEFL test. All praise is due to God Alone.
The same thing goes to my English vocabulary enrichment. I subscribe on Merriam-Webster Word of the Day program. The program doesn’t only give me a word to memorize each day but also let me know the meaning, how to use it in different contexts, and also the history related to it. It’s a very useful tool. However, it would be useless if I don’t use the new vocabulary in daily basis or put it in my writing.
It can be concluded that self motivation play an important and significant role in my English learning journey. Beside that, as English (language) is a skill it means that we don’t only learn it but also use it. Therefore, it’s essential to look for people who have the same passion and interest in learning English. As a teacher, I will motivate my students to love (or at least not to hate) English first then provide a supportive environment.

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One thought on “My English Learning Journey

  1. Way to go, Diaaan! I assume your struggle was really paid off with the student exchange program.

    Me and my mom+sisters were a bigfan of westlife. We even went to the concert at Senayan that time, when i’m still in 5th grade elementary school. We memorized every single song, we didn’t even miss any word. Haha

    Kinda embarrassing, those moments. But i did found out that it is very useful to learn english just by english songs. And it’s good to take an english course at a very young age, i think it might make a big impact for future, especially when you are going to study abroad.

    Go reach the other dreams Yan! ^_^

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