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“Why I got a good score in school but I can’t speak English well in the real world?”

September 9, 2021 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

It’s not that you can’t speak English well (despite having good grades in school)… it’s because you’re probably overthinking it.

You see, what you learn in school is quite different from what you actually use in real life. In school, they taught you a sort of method that forces this kind of
very slow, conscious, careful processing of English learning.

But learning English is really just a case of balancing focused intensive learning and relaxed English usage. And again, the keyword here is BALANCE.

See, if you’re just intent on thinking that “examination is king”, then you’re always just going to have that habit. You’re always going to think about your grades… and that’s very counterproductive.

And, you know, this type of habit is especially true in Asian contexts as well. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms I have about the way schools in Japan approach “speaking” (which I honestly think isn’t speaking at all) is their scripted “speaking exercises”. I mean, sure, it’s useful in some way, but if you’re going to consistently rely on these exercises, your brain is always going to look for that crutch. Your brain’s always going to need that help to speak English… whilst worrying about your grades in English at the same time.

But anyway, the point here is… you need to understand why you feel like your English isn’t getting any better. Are you just focusing on your intensive learning and your grades? Or are you just using English in your relaxed time and doing nothing else?

What you should do is learn which part of your learning method you’re lacking… then fix it.

Now, if you want to learn the proper way to balance your learning routine and how to fix it, you can start with the one-hour free training I made.

Hope that helps.

Dr Julian Northbrook

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