怎样学外语才最有效果?
作者:  来源:外语教研室   2017-10-19 21:31:38

演讲者认为一个人用英语交流的水平和他的实际英语水平没有多大关系,有的人英语水平不高,但却能和别人进行很好的交流。人们对英语的态度是在学校里形成的。他们把它带到了成人生活和工作中。

    建议学习英语者不要害怕犯错,不要将注意力集中在是否自己的每个用词、语法都准确无误,而是将心思全部放在谈话上,只要对方明白意思既可。

    今天的英语不是一门需要掌握的艺术,只是一个用来得到结果的工具。那个工具属于你。

 

英文演讲稿

So for the past 20 years, Ive been helping Malaysian and other Southeast Asians to speak better English. And through training thousands of Southeast Asians, Ive discovered a very surprising truth.

 

Ive discovered that how well somebody communicates in English actually has very little to do with their English level. It has a lot to do with their attitude towards English.

 

There are people out there who have a very, very low level of English, and they can communicate very very well. One of them that I remember was a student, a participant of mine, named Faizal. He was a factory supervisor English level very very low but this guy could just sitand listen to anybody, very calmly, clearly, and then he could respond, absolutely express his thoughts beautifully, at a very low level of English.

 

So, today I want to share with you what is so different about people like Faizal? How do they do it?

 

And second of all, why is this so important not only to you, but to your children, to your community, and to the future of Malaysia?

 

And third of all, whats one thing you can do, starting today, if you want to speak with that calm, clear confidence that people like Faizal have.

 

So first of all, what is so different? How do people like Faizal do it?

 

So to answer that question, Im going to take you back about 10 years, okay? I was training staff at that time, and my daughter, at that time, was taking piano lessons. And I started to notice two really strong similarities between my daughters attitude or thinking towards playing the piano and a lot of Malaysians thinking or attitude towards English.

 

Now first of all, I should tell you my daughter absolutely hated piano, hated the lessons, hated practicing. This is my daughter practicing piano, okay? This is as good as it got. This is the real thing.

 

And she dreaded going to piano lessons because to my daughter, going to piano lessons, she was filled with this sort of dread, because it was all about not screwing up, right?

 

Because like for a lot of piano students, to both my daughter and her teacher, her success in piano was measured by how few mistakes she made. Now at the same time, I noticed that a lot of Malaysians went into English conversations with the same sort of feeling of dread. This sort of feeling that they were going to be judged by how many mistakes they were going to make, and whether or not they were going to screw up.

 

Now, the second similarity that I noticed was to do with self-image. See, my daughter, she knew what good piano sounded like, right? Because weve all heard good piano. And she knew what her level was, and she knew how long shed have to play for to play like that.

 

And a lot of Malaysians, I noticed, had this idea of what good proper English is supposed to sound like, and what their I see a lot of you nod and what their English sounded like, and how far they would have to go to get there. And they also felt like they were like my daughter just bad, bad piano player, bad English speaker, right? My English not so good, lah. Cannot Sorry, yah. Cannot Ah

 

So I could see these similarities, but I still couldnt figure out, okay, what is it about these people like Faizal, that are so different, that can just do it smoothly, calmly, with confidence?

 

One day, I discovered that answer, and I discovered it quite by chance. It was a day when my computer broke down, and I had to go to a cybercafe. Okay, it was my first time, and I discovered cybercafes are disgusting places, okay? Theyre really gross. Theyre smelly, and theyre filled with boys. And theyre all playing noisy, violent games. Theyre just disgusting places.

 

But I had to go there. So I sat down, and I started noticing this guy beside me. And I became very interested in this guy next to me. Now, this guy is playing this game that is basically, its like shooting people until they die. And thats it. Thats the game, right?

 

And Im noticing that this guy is not very good. In fact, hes terrible, right? Because Im looking, and Im seeing, like, a lot of shooting and not much dying, right?

 

But what really interested me was behind this lousy player were three of his friends, sort of standing there watching him play. What I really noticed was even though this guy was terrible, even though his friends were watching him, there was no embarrassment. There was no feeling of being judged. There was no shyness. In fact, quite the opposite.

 

This guys like totally focused on the bad guys, smile on his face. All he can think about is killing these guys, right? And Im watching him. And I suddenly realize: this is it. This is the same attitude that people like Faizal have when they speak English, just like this guy.

 

When Faizal goes into an English conversation, he doesnt feel judged. He is entirely focused on the person that hes speaking to and the result he wants to get. Hes got no self-awareness, no thoughts about his own mistakes.

 

I want to share with you a real, true example, to paint a picture, of somebody who speaks English like they are playing piano and someone who speaks English like they are playing a computer game. And this is a true story. It happened to me.

 

A while ago, I was in a pharmacy. I had to buy omega; my doctor said I should get omega. And I go to the shelf, theres tons of omega, theres omega thats high in DHA, omega thats high in EPA, and I dont know which one to buy.

 

Now, the sales rep happened to be there. And I saw shes like this well-dressed, professional woman. I walk over to her, and I see this look as she sees me, this sort of its a look I recognize very well. Her eyes go all wide. Its sort of that panic: Oh my God! Ive got to speak to a native speaker; shes going to judge me and notice my mistakes.

 

I go up to her, and I explain my situation: which omega do I get? And she starts explaining to me everything about DHA and EPA you could possibly imagine. She speaks very quickly, goes all around incircles. And when she finishes, no idea what to buy.

 

So I turn to the girl behind the counter. Now, the girl behind the counter, I heard her before, her English level is very low. But when I walk over to her, this girl, theres no fear. In fact, shes just looking at me. You know that look? Like Yeah? Okay So, how? Yeah, Ive been in Malaysia a long time.

 

So, I go up to her and I explain the problem, EPA and DHA. She looks at me, she says, Okay, yeah Ah, EPA for heart. DHA for brain. Your heart okay or not?

 

So I said, Yeah, yeah, I said, my heart is really, I think its pretty good.

 

She says, Your brain okay or not?

 

I said, No. No, my brain is not as good a sit used to be.

 

She looks and says, Okay lah, you take Omega DHA!

 

Problem solved, right? So weve got two different kinds of communicators. Weve got the one whos got a high level, butto tally focused on herself and getting it right, and therefore, very ineffective. Weve got another one, low-level, totally focused on the person shes talking to and getting a result. Effective. And therein lies the difference.

 

Now, why is this distinction so important not just to you, to your children, but to the future of Malaysia and countries like Malaysia? And to answer that, lets take a look at who actually is speaking English in the world today, okay?

 

So, if we looked at all of the English conversations in the whole world, taking place right now on planet Earth, we would see that for every native speaker, like me, there are five non-native speakers. And if wed listen to every conversation in English on planet Earth right now, we would notice that 96% of those conversations involved non-native English speakers only 4% of those conversations are native speaker to native speaker. This is not my language anymore, this language belongs to you. Itsnot an art to be mastered; its just a tool to use to get a result.

 

And I want to give you a real-life example of what English is today in the world, real English today. This is another true story. I was at a barbecue a little while ago this was a barbecue for engineers, engineers from all over the world. And they were making hot dogs.

 

Now some of the hot dogs were regular hotdogs, and some were these cheese hot dogs, you know, with the cheese in the middle. A French engineer is cooking the hot dogs, and he turns to this Korean engineer, and he says, Would you like a hot dog?

 

And the Korean guy says, Yes, please!

 

He says, Do you want the cheese?

 

And the Korean guy looks around at the table, he says, I no see cheese.

 

The French guy says, The hot dog is contains the cheese.

 

The Korean guy doesnt understand him, right? So the French engineer tries again: The hot dog is making from with the cheese.

 

Korean guy still doesnt understand. He tries again, he says, The hotdog is coming from No, the cheese is coming from the hot dog. Korean guy cannot understand.

 

Now theres a Japanese engineer whos been listening to this conversation, turns to the Korean engineer and he says, Ah! Cheese integrator! He understands, okay. Everybody understands. So, this is what English is today. Its just a tool to play around with to get a result, like a computer game.

 

Now, the challenge is that we know in schools all around the world, English is not really being taught like its a tool to play with. Its still being taught like its an art to master. And students are judged more on correctness than on clarity.

 

Some of you might remember the old comprehension exam in school. Does everybody remember in school when youd get a question about a text that you read, youd have to read through some text, right? And then answer a question to show that you understood the text? And this may have happened to you that you showed that you understood the text, but you got a big X because you made a little grammar mistake. Like this student.

 

Now this student clearly understood paragraph four. But no, not correct! Because he left the letter N off the wordenvironment. But in the real world, what would matter? In the real world, what would matter is did you understand the email, or did you understand your customer so that you can go ahead and take action?

 

Now, the problem that I see here, over and over, is that people take the attitude they developed about English in school, and they bring it into their adult life and into their work.

 

And if youre in a stressful situation, and youre having a conversation, and youre trying to give a result to someone and say it correctly, your brain multi-tasks, it cannot do two things at once. And what I see is the brain just shutting down. And you may recognize these three symptoms of the brain shutting down.

 

The first one is that your listening goes. Someone is talking to you, and youre so busy thinking about how youre going to respond and express yourself correctly, you dont actually hear what the other person said. And I can see a lot of nodding in the audience.

 

The second thing to go is your speaking. Your mind sort of shuts down, and that vocabulary you do know just disappears, and the words dont come out.

 

The third thing to go is your confidence. And the worst thing about this is you may only be confident because you cannot express yourself clearly, but to the person talking to you, they may misunderstand this as a lack of confidence in your ability to do the job, to perform.

 

So if you want to speak English like Faizal with that great confidence, heres the one thing that you can do. When you speak, dont focus on yourself. Focus on the other person and the result you want to achieve.

 

Imagine a next generation of Malaysians, all with that wonderful confidence in communication that Faizal has, at any level of English. Because lets remember that English today is not an art to be mastered, its just a tool to use to get a result. And that tool belongs to you.

 

Thank you.


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