We acquire skills and develop knowledge by going through a process called “learning,” which is a set of cognitive and behavioral activities. Learning transfer refers to the ability to use what we have learned in one situation to solve problems in another.
It is important for learners to understand how they learn best so that they can take that knowledge with them from one learning situation to the next.
This shows me a real way to navigate the learning of other people and apply this to myself.
In FEB 2015, I met a group of people who used to speak English fluently, and I started hanging out with them. I faced some challenges when I tried to communicate with them in a foreign language but their constant support and judgment-free zone helped me realize that I can communicate in more than one form. At that time I was 18 years of age, and I had a goal in mind, which was to learn English as a second language.
At first, I started watching YouTube videos on how to learn English, very basic to the point where I learned the ABCs and the English grammar at the beginning, but this process was taking me too much time to speak as fluently as my new friends!
I had a chance to self-reflect back then to understand more about what is the best way to learn, then I came to the conclusion of I am trying to learn English in Arabic while asking myself the question of how did I learn to speak Arabic in the first place?
I realized that I learned how to speak Arabic before I got to school, I learned it from observing and asking questions and things that just made sense to me, so I wanted to relive the experience and learn English the same way.
So I started listening to songs that I don’t really understand and tried to read books that I don’t get, just to put my mindset into the environment of learning a new language, and not long after, I saw “Friends” a TV show about 6 friends living together and hanging out every day.
This was a huge opportunity for me because it is the best way that I will be able to learn everyday vocabulary or usually used ones from a TV show that talks about everyday life.
I downloaded 10 Seasons of the TV show Friends and I started watching the show on my laptop with English subtitles, to enhance all of my senses at the same time.
Listening, Reading, and pronunciation of words. I believed in my idea about learning so much that I watched 6 seasons of Friends without understanding a single word, at season 7, I started getting familiar with some of the words that have been used and started making sense to me. In less than 6 months, I was able to understand and speak English in a very good way that impressed my friends.
After I felt that I was ready to learn the language in a structured way, and start with grammar, I went to the British Council, and I asked for a scholarship. They told me about an Exam that was being conducted for refugees and Top 10 students will be awarded free courses at the center.
I signed up for the exam and I had the number 573, which meant that 572 other people were going to take the exam with me!
I took the exam, and it was relatively easy, and I scored a very high score that allowed me to be one of the top 10 students that will be awarded the scholarship.
In FEB 2016, I had the opportunity to do my IELTS exam and I scored 5.5 which was a very satisfactory score from myself learning English in a different method that has been developed by me.