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Tutor Erin Dockal 's Column

Four Weaknesses of English Textbook Teaching Methods

Oct 22, 2017

Here are four limitations that students face when choosing to just study English from a textbook and cut out speaking practice with native speakers.

1. English textbooks use only route memorization.

While maybe good for solid study to pass certain exams, this method does not teach the brain to speak naturally. It can slow learning down in higher level English students because it forces your brain to only memorize rules.

2. Native English speakers do not usually talk using textbook English terms.

A great example is the expression "it's raining cats and dogs outside". In my entire lifetime, I have never heard someone say that in real world daily conversation. However, in writing, I have read about someone saying this is in books or magazine articles many times. 

3. Textbook English is outdated.

Idioms and slang change with the times and depend on where you live. Modern spoken English is constantly evolving. A textbook published just a few years prior can already be teaching outdated phrases and expressions.

4. Just studying chapters of grammar and vocabulary is limiting.

You can have all the knowledge of grammar rules and vocabulary words in the world, but if you don't know how to use them they are worthless! It's important to apply the vocab and grammar with slang, pronuniation, and conversational skills in order to actually master the English language.

You can not master the English language from memorizing rules from a textbook alone. English is best learned through natural conversation, so a more intuitive understanding of the language can develop over time. Pronunciation can only improve by listening to native English speakers and repeating difficult words. Convinced that open conversation with a native speaker is crucial yet?

Learn more in my Open Conversation Lesson!

:) Erin

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