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我的英语学习之路 - 垃圾箱里升起的希望

Viewed 1621 times 2014-5-4 23:54 |Personal category:English|System category:Others

2. 垃圾箱里升起的希望

一天,收音机里一个令人吃惊的声音把我从白日梦中吵醒: “把你的字典扔进垃圾箱”。 “快读!多读!多猜!” 至此为止,我已经用传统的英语学习方式奋斗了一年多,毫无进展。无奈之下,我决定试一下。


我从图书馆借了很多英文书,只要这一本的故事变得没兴趣,我就扔掉,捡起下一本。就这样,我通常会在几天内读完一本书。一学期共读了30多本。几个月后,我对英语的感觉变了。英文已逐渐渗透到我的身体。自那时起我从未摸个英汉字典,也未背过单词卡。如果我必需查字典,我用英英字典。

具有讽刺意味的​​是,在我扔掉字典,单词卡,和语法书后,我的英语考分反儿提高了。不久,我从C班跳到B班,期末考试得分最高。我也赢得北京高校英语竞赛一等奖。

English Version

One day a startling voice from a radio woke me up. “Throw your dictionary into the rubbish bin”, screamed an English man to his listeners. “Read rapidly and read a lot, and try to guess the meaning of a new word in its context.”

At that point, I had already struggled in the traditional way of learning English for more than a year and had m​​ade little progress. In desperation, I decided to follow the advice of that crazy English man.

I started to check out a lot of English books from the library with titles that seemed interesting, but would throw a book away as soon as I l​​ost interest in its story. In that fashion I would typically finish a book in a few days and in all I must have read more than 30 books that semester.

In a few months, my feelings for English changed. No longer an alien that I had to wrestle with, the language had gradually infiltrated into my body. Not once since then had I touched an English-Chinese dictionary, and best of all, not once did I have to memorize those dreadful decks of cards with English words on one side and their Chinese translations on the other. If I did have to look up a word in dictionary, I used an English-English dictionary.

Ironically, after I threw away the dictionary, the deck of English cards, and the grammar book, my test scores in English class actually improved. Soon I moved up from level C to level B and at the end of that same school year I scored highest in my English B final. I also won the first prize in a city-wide English competition with participants from all colleges in Beijing.

Needless to say, my method of studying English had saved me.

More than thirty years later, on a train to my hometown in south west China, as I was conversing with my son in mixed English and Chinese, a young man approached us and asked how I learned English. He told me that he was struggling through exactly the same thing I had thirty years ago at Tsinghua. At that moment I realized that I should share my method so that more people would not have to go through what I did years ago.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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  • 中国教育 2014-5-3 14:29

    Yes education should encourage investigation, reflection, evaluation and not just the learning of facts. Sometimes facts are wrong!

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