It’s everyone’s goal when they come to ECS Scotland: ‘I want to improve my English’.
But what is improvement in this context? And how can you measure it?
The Cambridge English dictionary defines improvement as ‘an occasion when something gets better or when you make it better’. Depending on how you set your goals, improvement could be a big jump or small steps. And what is a slight improvement to you could feel very significant to someone else.
Let’s think about a situation as an example of improvement.
The first thing to remember is don’t compare yourself to anyone else! Your benchmark is yourself.
What do you want to improve? Maybe you often feel shy in meetings, so you don’t say very much.
What would an improvement look like? It could be asking a question.
You have to prepare for improvement, so try these 3 steps.
Before your meeting:
write down 5-7 questions you could ask. Practise asking them out loud. Practise again. And again. You’re there because you’re an expert, so you have a right to ask questions!
During the meeting:
keep your list of questions with you, and cross off your other questions as they are answered. Then ask one that is left. If all of them are answered before you have a chance to ask, that’s ok - you’ve practised your listening skills!
After the meeting (this is the most important step!):
congratulate yourself for your successful participation. You listened, perhaps took notes, supported your colleagues. If you asked your question, well done! If it received a useful answer, that’s a bonus!
Improvement is one small step after another, not one giant leap!
You can’t expect miracles, but at the same time, you can’t expect it to happen if you don’t prepare for it.
And if you do a little bit every day, in the future, you’ll be able to look back and see that you’ve improved a huge amount.
Get in touch with your own experiences of improvement. What tips do you have for other students?
Senior Teacher @ ECS