The Best Way for You to Learn English

It’s said that around 60% of people are extroverts and that 40% of people are introverts. While extroverts get their energy from being around people, introverts need time alone to recharge. It seems to me that the model of English teaching that language training institutes follow is one that fits the way that extroverts prefer to learn. It can be really tough for introverts to learn effectively and comfortably in an extrovert’s world.

When I was training to get a CELTA qualification I remember the feeling of dread that often accompanied the various language games we were expected to play with each other while learning new teaching methods. Everything seemed to be interactive and required you to work with a new partner. As an introverted person, the games and level of interaction that was almost painful. I felt forced to interact in a way that drained me of energy.

Not only do extroverts have the advantage of learning in a way that suits them in the classroom, but they also benefit from having superior speaking skills. Extroverts are curious and social. This means that they want to be involved in conversation and because of this will take every opportunity to speak. Introverts on the other hand, are nonplussed about conversation, unless they find the topic interesting. It’s very easy for an introvert to hang back and listen, which means that they don’t make the most of their opportunities to speak the language they are learning.

Introverts are much more likely to be shy, hesitant speakers. Even if they know what they want to say, they may hold back from speaking as they tend to be fearful of making mistakes. Introverts are usually very precise about their use of language and it is important to them to be exact about the meaning they wish to convey. Extroverts will just say what’s on their mind. Mistakes are not so important to them.

On the positive side, introverts often have better listening abilities than their extroverted friends. They understand a lot more of what is being said. They also have wider passive vocabularies (words they know but they don’t use them in speech).

It sometimes happens that an introvert decides that they are rubbish at the other language because they never speak it due to shyness and missed opportunities. I don’t think this is quite the right way of looking at it. You are not rubbish at a language if you can understand what is being said. However, you do need to work to develop your speaking skills, which are at a much lower level.

If you are an extroverted person, you may find that you’re good enough at languages to ‘learn on the street’. This means you may naturally pick up English from the people you are around. You will also like to get as much English practise as possible where you can talk with other people or learn together.

Introverts on the other hand, prefer learning methods where they can study alone. If you prefer to study alone as well as using books, YouTube and podcasts for learning, you need to be sure that you don’t forget about your speaking skills. You do need to get speaking practise still, and one of the ways you can do this is by talking to yourself in the language you are learning.

Whatever your personality type, know that there is no perfect way to learn English because everybody has different preferences when it comes to learning methods and also learns in a different way. Keep trying out different ideas until you find something that works well for you. Think about the ways you prefer to learn and incorporate these methods of learning a language into your life.