The letter P is extremely powerful. Everyday, I see students take it for granted. Beginner or Advanced, students fail to acknowledge the importance of ‘planning’. When learning a foreign language, it’s always easy for us to sit back and let the teacher run the show.
Stop and think for just one moment.
Who takes the register, sets your homework, tells you which page to open in your coursebook? Who corrects you when speaking, marks your writing and helps you with the exercises in grammar banks? That’s right, it’s your teacher. But what if you could do something more, on top of all this extra help? What if you could learn new material BEFORE your teacher has the intention of teaching it? “Wow Harrison! My English would be incredible!”
You’re right. It would improve significantly!
So, now that we’re thinking ahead and interested in the idea of ‘planning’ BEFORE we study, what does ‘planning’ involve? Furthermore, how do we make such planning ‘perfect’? Well, there are a number of ways.
The first step is make sure you’re up to speed with the current exercises in your course book. After all, it is impossible to plan ahead if you’re already falling behind the rest of your class. Once you’re confident with the current material covered in the unit of your coursebook, start to read over some of the topics in the following unit. Of course, this reading should be done after class. Try not to rush into the new unit. Remember, you’ll be studying this new material very soon. Skim (read quickly) over any new language that interests you. Once you have identified some vocabulary or grammar that grabs your attention, begin your own independent study.
Lets take an example. Perhaps you’ve just finished learning the past simple. Maybe it was the present perfect. After mastering these two tenses, next in your unit is the present perfect continuous. You might think to yourself “Hmm.. I’ve been living in Spain since I was 12, what is the purpose of this sentence? When should I use this tense and not the past simple or present perfect?” These are the questions you can almost immediately address. Make the most of the grammar banks provided, search the internet for practice exercises or ask your teacher if they can spend a few spare minutes after class to answer any of these questions.
By putting aside just 20 minutes a day, this FUTURE material will be much easier to learn when you and your classmates start it in class the following day/week. The new material you have read beforehand might be difficult. Maybe you’re more confused in class than when you first started. Not a problem. What makes outside, independent learning so advantageous is that it provides you with something invaluable- ‘awareness’. The fact that you can go into your classroom already knowing what kinds of material you’re teacher has planned, you ‘performance’ in class will be higher than if you hadn’t started looking ahead.
After getting the basic ‘gist’ of English that you have not yet covered in class, you have a great advantage over your classmates! Even if you find this new material tricky, the fact that you are aware of it sets you up to improve your current level. This means that your ‘performance’ in class will be higher than it would have been if you hadn’t planned ahead! Simple.
If there is one thing you can take from this post it’s this… Remember your 5 ‘P’s!
Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance