7 English methods to avoid

Do you spend years without progressing in English? Are you constantly looking for the best English method to learn it quickly?

Almost all English courses make exactly the same promises to you: ” you will learn English quickly and for free, effortlessly, easily, like a child!” “. Promises they don’t keep. As politicians know very well: promises only bind those who listen to them!

Beyond the marketing spiel, this article aims to dismantle bad English methods to save you wasting your time .

You learn out of order

Are you learning vocabulary and grammar on the fly? By learning cat one day and hypercholesterolemia the next day, you follow no logical structure. Learning the difference between whom and who until you know the present perfect isn’t much use.

Do you read it before you can pronounce it? If you start your English studies by just reading and not speaking, you are headed for disaster. English is a living language , which is spoken above all! Focusing on the spoken word is not only relevant, it’s liberating.

A good English method requires a structure , which must be followed, if you want to achieve results quickly enough. There is a natural order: first you learn the spoken word , then you focus on the written word . For the vocabulary , we learn in priority the most frequent or common words in the English language and, later, the rarer vocabulary, which we do not necessarily use in everyday life. For grammar , learn the most basic structures before the more advanced ones.


You learn everything from the text

Text, text, and more text! You may have already made the mistake of gorging yourself on text in school, don’t repeat it when you’re learning English on your own.

If you’re imagining the pronunciation of words instead of actually knowing them, you may end up with an incomprehensible accent in English . And if you develop bad pronunciation habits , you’ll have a hard time getting rid of them later!

This idea is similar to that of the previous point. English is not phonetic, words are not pronounced as they are written. That’s why you don’t always have to focus on the text.

So leave the text aside for a moment. Integrate audio into your studies! With the Internet, it is very easy to find the correct pronunciation of words and you can even choose between American or British .

The method to learn the pronunciation correctly is very simple. As soon as you learn a new phrase, don’t forget to learn its “music” right away. Observe there: the intonation; rhythm and accented parts  ; and the joint . Do not neglect these elements because, by working on the sounds of English, you are working on your accent. It’s the only way to speak in a manner close to that of a native speaker but – above all – clearly.


You practice English only once a day

Human memory is not perfect, it deteriorates. Our brains are not designed to retain everything; they are designed to forget everything that seems insignificant to them. This explains why we can very easily forget what we learned a few hours (or minutes or even seconds!)

How to avoid forgetting? Regularly reviewing the information will strengthen it. If we see and see a word frequently, we will remember it more than if we only saw it once. That’s why it’s much better to speak English several times a day , rather than just once. By practicing several times a day, the information stays in our brain.

Maybe you’re thinking to yourself, “But devoting an hour a day to learning vocabulary is better than doing nothing, isn’t it?” Certainly, but it is not an effective method of English. Whereas, if you memorize all day with graded intervals or spaced repetition , it will save you a lot of wasted time having to re-learn vocabulary just because you waited too long to revise it.

I emphasize repetition and revision. A few minutes are enough! Review the vocabulary when you are in the subway, on the bus, in the toilets… Devote a little of your time to it every day because it is really an effective method to improve your English.


You’re bored

Boredom is the enemy of concentration. Without concentration, it is difficult to learn things. If you are bored during your English studies, it is certain that the English method is not suitable and will not bring you the desired results.

Most of the time, especially in school, the course emphasizes grammar. Past perfect, present perfect continuous, future perfect… In short, these elements are not exactly the most exciting to study. Even when studying alone, it can be difficult to find interesting and level-appropriate content.

Which English method should be used to learn this language in an interesting way?

Fortunately, English is everywhere around us! Satisfy one of your passions in English. There are plenty of resources available and it will create an enjoyable experience. Made to measure. For understanding texts, read articles on the Internet or books in English dealing with the topics you are curious about. For oral comprehension , films, television series or podcasts are rich in vocabulary and allow you to practice fluent English.

Do what you like but do it in English.


You learn passively

Even though I just mentioned that watching movies or TV series is a good way to learn English, you absolutely must not say to yourself: “It’s okay, I watched 3 hours of Netflix, that’s enough to work on my English”. No, this is too passive learning . Taken alone, it does not bring effective results because you do nothing except listen to information, which often goes too fast. You’re not directly involved in the learning process, which is why you don’t retain much.

To avoid this, focus on active learning . Engage in the process through activities such as exploring, analyzing, communicating, creating, reflecting on, or using new information or experiences.

Even though movies, podcasts and TV series are good for listening comprehension, they are not enough if you want to be fluent in English. To be able to speak English in real life, you must learn it by doing concrete actions, that is, writing, speaking, thinking . In short, to prepare you for real-life scenarios that would require English language skills… Feel free to really engage your brain!


You study the words without the context

Are you learning single words without the context? Do you wonder why you can’t use them in real life? Are you trying to memorize book and right after to run  ? In fact, you are surely wasting your time.

Memory works primarily by association . If you learn words out of context, that is, in such a way that it is impossible to make a connection between them, it is very bad for your memory and even more difficult for beginners in English. The worst part is learning them in alphabetical order! (We are confusing everything).

On the other hand, learning words that have a semantic connection plays an important role in a good English method.

Learn words that go well together, that you can use in combination…and they’ll all wake up together, ready to serve you, when you need them. For example, learn the words rabbit, hunter, rifle at the same time (eg The hunter aimed his rifle at the rabbit. ) Your English method should take this into account.


you have no motivation

If you’re struggling to learn fifty words a day and you’re tormenting yourself with grammar that’s not even relevant to your level, take a step back from how you learn English. Are you getting sick of English? Be careful because it is a probable demotivating factor.

Being a polyglot, I know very well the disastrous effect of a lack of motivation when learning a language. Along with the boredom mentioned in point N°4, it is another enemy of concentration.

Learning a language works best when it’s fun! It is, then, a marvelous process which opens horizons for you and leads to a whole host of opportunities. If you have no motivation, you’re not going to remember what you learn and you’ll never want to get on with it – so you’ll waste a lot of time.

On the other hand, if you like the “extreme” method mentioned, fine! Everyone is different and there are bound to be things that work for you and not for others.

For those who sink deeper and deeper into demotivation, don’t panic. Try changing or adapting the method and remembering why you decided to learn English . Never forget your ambitions and don’t give up on your studies. You have already made considerable efforts! It would be a shame to stop your progress now.


Balance sheet

In short, what are the wrong ways to learn English?

If you…

  • …learn out of order
  • …learn everything from the text
  • …practice English once a day
  • …you are boring
  • …learn passively
  • …study the words without the context
  • …have no motivation

…then it is certain that you will not have quick and effective results.

Fortunately, the solutions have been presented to you in the article! 🙂 These are not revolutionary methods, you just have to work smart – work smart – and be patient . There are certainly others on the Internet, such as the famous method to learn English while sleeping, but I told myself that it was not worth discussing the scams.

Work pays off, so get to work! 🙂


See as well

  • If you liked this article on English methods, you will love this video series: How to Master English .

  • Discover how to learn English alone , at home, in France, without classes, without leaving and without a teacher, in an effective and pleasant way!

  • We’ve seen what NOT to do, find out what to do here, with our best techniques for learning English: 14 little-known techniques for learning English! .

  • And, of course, discover the Click & Speak™ method if you don’t already know it. It incorporates all these concepts.