Cultivating Curiosity to Advance Your English
Today I’m sharing my top strategies for helping you advance your English. Specifically you’ll learn how curiosity can make you a better language learner.
If you’re ready to learn, let’s get into it.
We have five strategies today and keep in mind that when you’re first starting out, start with implementing one or two strategies at a time. Over time and with practice you can add the other strategies. This way, you won’t overwhelm yourself rather you’ll approach this learning opportunity with steady incremental growth.
(1) Looking up Words
If you’re interested in expanding your vocabulary, looking up new words is a no-brainer. That means that it’s an obvious path to improvement. But what most people don’t factor into the equation is also the power of learning the word’s synonyms and antonyms. I’ll give you a practice application for this. Think about those times when you might have the word you’re searching for on the tip of your tongue but you can’t express it in the moment. This would be a perfect opportunity to provide the synonym, so finding another word with the same meaning. Or you could use the antonym in this case, and help you make your point by explaining the opposite. If you really want to take this exercise to the next level, you can look up the etymology of the words you look up. The etymology of a word is the origin of the word, meaning where this word comes from. For example, you might also learn what other languages have influenced this word? Knowing this information can help you better internalize the word, particularly if there is overlap with languages you know.
(2) Seeking Knowledge
In this way, when you want to learn something instead of plugging it into the internet using your native language (L1), you can search for it in English. Using an English-language medium to search for something will get you into the practice of using your English in practical ways. At the same time, you get the targeted English-language practice which will undoubtedly improve your English. Two birds and one stone.
(3) Getting Lost in Conversation
Getting lost is a positive thing in this context. It’s about being completely absorbed and enraptured by the conversation that you don’t even sense the passage of time. It describes conversations where you might get a bit carried away – and again this is not a bad thing – it’s great because it enables you to dig deep on a topic and let it take you to various sub topics as well.
(4) Staying Hungry For More
When it comes to learning, aim to have an insatiable appetite. This will position you for future growth and continual learning. When you approach life with this mentality, you adopt a growth mindset. According to the renowned Stanford Psychology professor, Carol Dweck, a growth mindset is a belief that you can learn anything. This means that if you struggle with certain skills, you can get better at them by putting in the work and consistency to improve. The growth mindset allows you to view setbacks and challenges as an opportunity to grow and learn. Having the growth mindset when it comes to English language learning will enable you to learn from your mistakes and be motivated to continue improving.
(5) Aiming to Understand
This goes for people and concepts. For example, when you bring a curious mindset to the conversations you have with people, it focuses your attention on understanding the other person. This type of kind-hearted curiosity cultivates empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and share their feelings and emotional expressibility. Now this curiosity can also apply to concepts. It might be a curiosity for a meme on social media, a cultural idiom, or a life philosophy that you want to learn more about.
So those are the five ways that cultivating curiosity will enable you to improve your English language and communication skills. Remember, choose one strategy to focus on at a time and be consistent with your efforts. Once you feel comfortable with that technique, apply the next one to your daily practice. Continue in this way so that you build momentum around utilizing these methods to improve your English.
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