How do people communicate in your culture?
Why is it important to know this if you want to learn English?
If you know your own communication style and your communication challenges, you will be more efficient at learning English.
Many people use a specific communication style in the United States; how it is different from your own style and how you can use this information to improve your English while you are in the US.
Remember, many people have a combination of different styles.
If you don't follow the "typical" communication style of your culture, that's fine.
What are your communication challenges?
Do you avoid communicating with people in English when you have the opportunity?
If you avoid communicating, do you feel that you are viewed negatively by people in the United States?
Is your communication style negatively affecting your success in the US? (career, social life, academics) ?
You certainly don't need to change your communication style to get better at English but it helps to recognize this cultural value so that your teacher can help you with your communication challenges in the United States.
In the United States, we place a very high value on oral communication.
People who communicate well verbally are seen as being competent, knowledgeable and trustworthy. We don't use nonverbal communication as much as other cultures do.
Unfortunately, in the US, silence is avoided and people are encouraged not to be shy.
How is this different from your communication style?
In some Asian cultures, there is a high emphasis on nonverbal communication rather than using words to communicate.
Silence is a way of showing respect.
Communication styles can be indirect and the person who talks a lot is not necessarily the one who knows the most.
In contrast, in some Latin American cultures, both verbal and non-verbal communication are important and are good ways to express emotion.
So we know that communication is related to culture...now what?
If large group English classes aren't working for you, maybe it's because the class is taught in a way that doesn't work for your cultural communication style or your learning style
You need to find a learning environment where your English tutor understands and respects your style and can create activities which are geared toward the way that you naturally communicate.
So what is your learning style?
You are a verbal learner if you...
.. learn by listening and you love words.
You are able to understand new English words by listening to your teacher and taking notes.
You are also very good at making speeches and presentations.
You might have a lot of books at home and you enjoy using words to communicate with people.
A verbal learner needs to learn English by...
...hearing the correct pronunciation of native speakers and practicing it regularly in real life conversations.
A verbal learner can also improve his or her English by telling a story, discussing current affairs or debating a controversial issue.
You are a visual learner if you...
...prefer to see new words written on a page in order to remember them.
You might visualize a new word and how it is written in your mind when you hear it.
You like to learn using diagrams, graphs, timelines or even videos.
A visual learner needs to learn English by...
..using timelines to understand difficult grammar points like "I have eaten", "I had eaten" and "I ate". A visual learner can also be very successful if he or she can study a page of written notes. Visual learners don't like to follow verbal instructions or perform drills where they have to repeat words.
You are an active learner if you...
...like to use a new grammar point or vocabulary word in a real conversation or role play as soon as you learn it.
You don't like to take much time to think about a new word, instead you want to get active, try the word in a conversation and see how it works.
An active learner needs to learn English by...
...participating in the lesson. The English lesson needs to be interactive and engaging. An active learner who is learning new vocabulary words for a job interview, might do a role play of a job interview with his or her tutor to learn how to use the new words correctly.
You are a reflective learner if you...
...enjoy studying by yourself instead of working with a group.
Maybe you prefer to think about how to use a new word or grammar point before actually using it.
A reflective learner needs to learn English by...
...taking time during the lesson to think about new information that is being learned.
In a private English class, a reflective learner can ask for extra time to think about the grammar point or vocabulary word before using it in conversation.
I hope this information helps you to find a teacher that works for you. If you understand your learning style, you can make a lot of progress learning and perfecting a new language.
If you have further questions, schedule a trial lesson, and we can try and find a unique way of working with your learning style! Good luck!