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Chapter 08: Babies Learn Best - The Effortless English Engine


You have now learned the first part of the Effortless English system: fuel or psychology. You know how to create high-quality emotional fuel to power your journey on the road to English fluency. Now it’s time to focus on the engine that will use that fuel. This is what I like to call the Ferrari of language learning – the Effortless English method.

As I noted earlier, Effortless English is a system I developed over a period of several years of teaching and research. Through trial and error, I’ve been able to improve and adapt this method to suit the needs of learners all over the world. As long as you bring the proper psychology and emotional fuel to the method, I guarantee you’ll arrive quickly at English fluency.

For purposes of clarity, I have broken the Effortless English method into seven steps. I refer to these steps as the “seven rules.” In this chapter, I’ll introduce these rules and briefly explain how they work. I’ll also describe how this section will be organized so that you can get the maximum benefits from studying English each time you sit down.

Each of the seven rules is a piece of “profound knowledge” that will completely change the results you get with English. Professor Edwards Deming described profound knowledge as a new idea, strategy, or distinction that powerfully changes the quality of results. Profound knowledge is often a simple change that creates a big improvement.

Each of the seven rules is simple, but when used each will produce large improvements in your English speaking. Used together with strong psychology, the seven rules speed your travel along the road to fluency.

I should warn you that this method is completely different from the hidden curriculum you have used in the past. Remember, Effortless English doesn’t depend on traditional methods. Instead, it is designed to follow the natural order of language learning seen with small children.

:: Babies Know Best

In fact, babies and small children are the best English learners in the world! They easily learn to speak like a native speaker, with excellent grammar, vocabulary, fluency, and pronunciation. Instead of studying textbooks, perhaps we should look at babies and how they learn English.

When a baby first starts to learn English or any language, it mostly just listens. In fact, for many months, the baby or child will only listen without any real speaking. This period of listening is called the “silent period” by linguists. During the silent period, the baby is learning to understand the language. Of course, when a baby is silently learning the parents do not get worried. They don’t teach baby grammar. They don’t get angry if the baby doesn’t speak.
What do the parents do? They simply talk to the baby using very simple English. They use actions while they talk. For example, they point to Mom and say, “mama, mama,” over and over again every day. Eventually, the baby realizes that “mama” is the word for his or her mother.

Eventually, the baby will begin to speak. Perhaps one day they finally say “mama.” What happens? Do the parents correct the baby’s pronunciation? Do they try to teach the baby grammar? Of course not. Rather, everyone goes crazy with happiness because the baby said one correct word (usually with bad pronunciation). Everyone is smiling and laughing. Speaking English is a very happy time for the baby!

During the next few years, the baby will continue focusing on listening. Its speech will gradually become better. The baby will use more words. Its grammar will improve, even though it never studies grammar rules! The baby’s pronunciation will improve. And yet, for many years, its listening will still be better than its speaking. The baby will understand more than it can say.

This is the natural way of learning English. As you can see, it is very different than the way you learned in school. In school, you focused on reading textbooks from the beginning. Perhaps you were forced to speak very soon, even though you were not ready. You focused on studying grammar rules. When you made a mistake, the teacher corrected you.

Unlike the baby, you did not improve quickly. You didn’t improve your grammar naturally and effortlessly. Your pronunciation never seemed to get much better. And your speaking always seemed too slow. For you, English probably was not a joyful experience. English was not a playful and natural experience that you loved.

Clearly there is something wrong with the traditional way of teaching English in school. Clearly we need a better method, a method that closely follows the natural way that humans are designed to learn a language.

The truth is, your brain is an incredible language-learning machine. When you have strong psychology and an effective method, you learn English quickly. Even better, when you follow a natural approach, you enjoy the process of learning because you are no longer fighting against nature and your own brain.

You have learned Effortless English psychology. Now it is time to learn the engine, the method, of Effortless English. Each of the seven rules is an important part of this method. Each rule is a new way to “play English.” As you learn and use the seven rules, be sure to maintain a playful attitude. Be flexible. Have fun. Enjoy this new process of learning.

The seven rules are interconnected and work synergistically. “Synergistic” means the rules are more powerful when used together than they are individual. Each rule makes the other rules stronger. Together they form a powerful method for achieving fluency and skill with English.

:: How to use this section

The purpose of this section is to help you learn to speak English confidently and fluently. Now that I’ve explained the psychology of Effortless English, my goal is to make the material in these pages as practical and useful as possible. In the next several chapters, I’ll be explaining each of the seven rules of Effortless English in detail. I’ll also be including more motivational tips, teaching examples, and sample practice exercises to assist you on your road to fluency.

As you learn each rule, you’ll get another piece of the Effortless English method. Together they form a complete learning system. At the end of this section, I will teach you how to put these rules together to create your own daily individual learning plan. You’ll learn exactly what to do, each day, to achieve spoken English mastery.

Enjoy the ride.

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