Each month, PELA teachers recognize different, outstanding students. These students daily demonstrate their hard work and dedication to learning English, actively take part in class, ask questions, and serve as a role model to other students. Help us congratulate this month’s recipients: Debora and Max!
PELA: Why study English? What are your plans for the future?
Max: English is so important for getting a good job, for traveling around the world, and getting good friends.
Debora: I’m studying English because my husband and I moved to the U.S., and I need to communicate with people better.
Max: I want to study for a Master degree and make some business in U.S.
Debora: I want to get a job and/or apply for a PhD.
PELA: So, what is your favorite English subject, and what parts of English are the most challenging?
Debora: My favorite English class is Writing, because I’m a writing teacher in my country. Moreover, I really love to write, so it’s easier for me – or less difficult that other subjects.
Max: Grammar class. It is indispensable to know how English works to be understood.
Debora: Listening and Speaking is a challenge for me.
Max: Listening and Speaking [is the most challenging].
Debora: The first one (listening) because, outside PELA, several times, I feel lost, once I don’t have a good vocabulary and, sometimes, the speed of native speech is too fast for me. As for [speaking], I don’t have enough time for thinking before speaking, and it’s still so difficult for me to express exactly what I mean with the best choice of words in English.
PELA: How do you spend time practicing outside of your classes?
Max: Take advantage of every situation that helps you to improve your English!
Debora: In order to improve my English, I watch a TV series every week, I use apps on my cell phone, and I read news in English, too. Sometimes, I go to the conversation class in the afternoon at PELA… In addition, I try to speak English all the time with my PELA friends and we also met outside of school to chat.
PELA: What advice to you have for other new students that are coming to PELA, or current students?
Max: English students must not speak in their native language.
Debora: It’s easier if you have friends of different nationalities – you can study, talk, and discover new places, and help each other.
Max: They have to try doing a lot of activities that makes [them] learn English.
Debora: Second, studying should be a routine in your life, whatever your method is… The most important thing [for me] is to study from Monday to Thursday in the tutor class. There, I can ask about things that I heard or read and didn’t understand, or clear some doubts… it’s important not to go home with a doubt. If you are shy and couldn’t ask during the class, go to the tutor [in the study lab].
Debora: Last, but not least, don’t give up. Everyone has good and bad days. I talk with other students at PELA, and most of them said: It seems you are in progress, but sometimes you try to talk to someone and you are so frustrated because you can’t.
It’s common. Don’t worry. We are not native, [so] we should be conscious we are learning all the time. Learning a language is not just writing, to to be good at grammar, or speaking well. Language is complex. Due to this, you need to get to use all the skills in formal and information situations. And it’s impossible to get there in just a few months.