Language Immersion is a word that is used frequently by most English language schools. “An English language school that uses language immersion techniques” or “an English course that uses language immersion methods” are common ways most English schools describe themselves. You even see language immersion experts on the internet who claim to have invented the subject!
At Spoken English Practice, after working with millions of ESL students, we have a fairly good idea of how language immersion methods can be used to improve English speaking. In this article, we try to address 3 important elements of language immersion that are critical for the success of English learners.
Watching TV, listening to English music, reading English magazines, keeping a diary are all great ways to increase “inputs” of the English language. Hence, these are all effective language immersion tactics.
However the most important aspect of language immersion by far is Speaking. If you don’t dedicate at least 60-80% of your language learning time to practicing Spoken English you will never be fluent in English.
Trying to be fluent in English without practicing speaking is like trying to learn swimming without actually getting in the pool. Its is impossible!
Speaking English is more important than listening, So stop waiting for the day when you fully learn English. Start practicing English with a Teacher or a Conversation Partner as early as possible. This is the only way to truly immerse in English and take your English to the next level.
Sometimes you get students who are interested in improving English speaking skills related to a job. E.g. I’m an Accountant and I want to improve English related to Accounting. Unfortunately, this is not how true language immersion works. You can’t just acquire language skills (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation etc) related to one specific area.
True language immersion produces an overall improvement in your English communications. You will be able to speak English fluently in any given situation, in any given topic.(if you know the topic of course :))
Think of how you learn to swim. If you learn to swim properly, you can swim in the ocean, lakes, rivers and swimming pools. There is no method that will teach you to swim in rivers without learning swimming properly.
To fully immerse in English you must master English in a natural, organic way. There are no short cuts to success.
Immersing in English is 90% about practice. If you practice speaking English a lot, you will be fluent. If you only practice things like vocabulary and grammar but do not speak English, you will not be fluent.
This is why Spoken English Practice recommends a fully Conversation based approach to teaching English. Once you have learned basic grammar and vocabulary, you should start speaking English in order to be come fluent.
So get off textbooks and practice speaking with real Native speakers! Arrange speaking lessons with a Native English Teacher join an English Speaking Club, travel to an English-speaking country or make a pact with a friend to only speak English when you’re together. Force your self to only use English and you will be surprised how much you know.