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My first experience of learning the English language was challenging, demanding, interesting and satisfying. My education in English began at home with my parents communicating with me in English. While my mother was a full time homemaker (housewife), my father was a banker. Since my mother spent most of her time at home, I was able to learn English language more from my mother. My father on the other hand, was the sole bread winner of our family. Nevertheless, whatever time he could muster from his busy schedules, he devoted that to teaching me the English language. This was indeed an advantage for me as I was able to learn the English language from them through our conversations and by listening to the words they spoke to me. Therefore, both my parents were responsible for imparting the education of English language to me. Accordingly, I consider it as a blessing to be born and raised in an English educated family.
My first experience at learning English at school
After going through one of the best cycles of childhood development, my first baby steps to school started at the age of 5 when I joined the kindergarten. Kindergarten was an entirely new experience for me because of the change in the environment. Also, this was the first time when I was away from my parents. As a result, though I was a bit hesitant initially, but soon I started interacting with new kids of my age. My experience of learning the English language at kindergarten was different than learning English at home because I was exposed to new and sophisticated learning tools. These new education methods included alphabets, writing and image recognition. I remembered that my teacher taught me alphabets at school by showing me a list of alphabets on a piece of cardboard and pronouncing each letter in the list of alphabets. The teacher would then instruct us to read the alphabets aloud by following her pronunciation. After doing that the teacher would then test our memory retention by telling us to independently read the alphabets, first in sequence and then in random fashion. The sequence method would be from A to Z and the random method would be any alphabet that the teacher pointed to us. Besides gaining exposure to alphabets, I also learnt new words through image recognition techniques at the kindergarten. I still remember looking at an image of a duck that my teacher pointed to me. Thereafter, she told me to repeat the word "duck" based on the image shown. In fact I found that learning words through image was easier than listening because of the strength and power of visual characteristic. Moreover, my teacher also taught me to write alphabets and words by looking at the existing alphabets and words taught during the classroom discussion and written in the study guide. Besides, the English language education at the kindergarten was fun and enjoyable with learning through alphabets-memory games.
My primary school experience
At the age of 7, I entered a new phase of erudition when I joined a primary school. Again this was an altogether new and unparalleled experience for me. As a primary school student, I was taken to a new level of knowledge in learning English. During my primary classes 1 and 2, I remember writing short simple texts such as stories and poems. One of the stories that I wrote was 'the shoe maker and the Alps'. I wrote this story based on the original book story of 'the shoe maker and the Alps'. I truly enjoyed the experience of this challenging task of rewriting and creating the story in my own words. Another interesting challenge in this story writing task was that the number of words required was limited to 150 only. This made me test my mental faculties and write a compelling and believable story within the limited words. These were certainly the best formative years in my learning of the English language.
Learning higher rules of English
Upon completing my primary school education, I joined the secondary school at the age of 13. It is imperative to mention that at the secondary school and during my form 1, 2 and 3, I had learnt how to ask and answer questions. In addition, I had also learnt to read a variety of different texts. Moreover, I remember when I was in 4th grade, my teacher taught us English with mock spelling tests. So I always memorized various new words and their spellings. This habit inculcated by my teacher in 4th continued for the future too. Furthermore, at a later stage, I began learning fundamental concepts and rules of English grammar. I have gained a fairly good understanding of the usage of "an" before a vowel. As I moved up to primary classes, 3, 4 and 6, I learnt how to use interesting expressions to write short stories and poems persuasively. Apart from this, I was also exposed to learning higher rules of grammar that are more advanced than the ones in primary classes 1 and 2. I must mention that my English reading and speaking skills were tested during this time. Moreover, I found that this level of education in English language helped me to improve my reading as well as analytical skills for answering questions. I could see myself growing with confidence in replying to questions in English. With this level of education in English, I was progressing with my interpersonal skills too.
Books, Conversations and Films: Valuable for learning English
My parents and teachers instilled in me the habit of reading a lot of books. As a result of reading more books, I was able to enhance my vocabulary with each passing day. Furthermore, I was inculcating and developing different writing skills such as articles, composition, dialogue and summaries. When I was in form 4 and 5, I had to analyze situations and find appropriate counter responses. This involved a lot of research, analysis and brainstorming which eventually stimulated me to become more analytical. In addition, one of my most important English learning activities has been conversation. I made friends in class and we spoke about a lot of things at length. The experience of conversing on diverse topics has been very precious to me as it inspired me to improve my communication skills in English. Another of my most enjoyable English language learning experiences has been watching TV. Watching English films helped me a lot to improve my pronunciation, accent and speech in English. Besides, English news channels such as CNN and BBC have been very useful in building the foundation of my English language. Overall, I learnt the nuances of sentence construction, sentence structure, syntax, parentheses and much more through my English language education so far.
For the most part, learning English language has been an interesting and a challenging journey for me owing to all the cycles that I have gone through to achieve a certain level of proficiency in English. I have also come to a conclusion that the method of teaching will vary depending on the age factor. I deem that while children will enjoy when learning is fun, the more mature English learners will focus more on self development. Whatever the means and methods be, I believe a learner is always eager to learn English. With English as a tool by my side, I can surely aim to reach the high echelons of my education and career.