Kat's Tips 17: The 5-Min A Day Plan

Kat C
文章: 378
註冊時間: 週三 9月 08, 2010 10:31 am

Kat's Tips 17: The 5-Min A Day Plan

文章 Kat C »

Dear all,

As promised, here're some more tips on more effective English learning: less time, more fun, and better results!

5 minutes a day beats one hour once a week.

Research shows that learning language in relatively small chunks over an extended period of time (distributed learning) is more effective than doing large chunks of material at one time (massed learning). So whatever you do, use English at least 5 minutes a day! Don't underestimate how much the mere 5 minutes can get you. Most learners go for days without even a word of English, and only "study" for hours when they go, "oops! I'd better get back to it." By then their English has gone rusty – again! :ccry:


So what kind of English practice can you do everyday? The number one thing to remember: You have to "speak" in all of them. Asian learners, under the prevailing pedagogy, tend to be able to read, write, and listen better (in that order) than to speak. The four respective skills, though helpful to one another on some level, cannot replace one another. Speaking uses muscle memory (of your mouth, lips and tongue). It's like playing basketball. You can watch a million hours of NBA games and still not be able to shoot hoops. Watching a million Hollywood movies will not get you to speak well! So let's bring “speaking” to the top of our agenda. And start “repeating”!

1. A movie trailer a day

Movie trailers are not just fun to watch, they're made to sell a movie in the shortest time possible. They're succinct, enticing, and current. Play a trailer and REPEAT AFTER THE VOICE-OVER.

Helpful site:





2. One Idiom a day

YouTube is your friend! Just search “Idiom” and you'll find endless lessons and fun videos. Sample different “teachers” or stay with one. Again, REPEAT EVERY WORD AFTER THEM!

There're idioms that almost nobody uses anymore (it rains cats and dogs), or are derogatory (go Dutch), or have been overused (so-so). Pay attention to TV shows for those high frequency idioms.

Old proverbs are not useful in everyday conversations. They're all about conventions and giving advice, and can make you sound preachy. :mrgreen:

Helpful site:




I can't watch them all so they're just the first three that sound good. Try more!

3. One TED Talk (5-min clip) a day

TED is amazing, and it's got anything and everything you want from a “speech”. The key is to not only listen to the talk, but pick a 5-min cut to repeat after them. Less is more!

Other than the original TED, I highly recommend downloading the NPR Ted Radio Hour podcast onto your iPod or cell phone. They group Ted talks on a similar topic and interview the speakers. I feel that they delve even more deeply into a particular subject. Listen (and silently) repeat, say, on the subway everyday, and you'll feel the difference in your speaking. (*The use of “say” is common in everyday speaking as well. It's like “for example”.)

Helpful site:



4. One Song a day (one verse)

There's nothing like learning to sing a song you love. You don't get tired of it. And it stays with you. Granted, songs tend to be either poetic or slang-filled. But being able to sing an English song well is tremendously rewording.

So pick one on YouTube with lyrics and go through the verses. Just one verse (verses are sections of different lyrics to the same music) and commit it to memory. Record yourself and compare it to the original. You're a star!

Here're some oldies that are great starters if you don't have any favorites (or if those favorites are too fast and difficult yet). They're also common at KTVs so you get to show off your hard work. :sun:

Helpful site:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzDCBgJ ... fW2e-Zt7t-


So these are my 5-min A Day Plan recommendations. Now repeat after me: Repeat after them!


Iris Wu
YOYO member
文章: 905
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: Kat's Tips 17: The 5-Min A Day Plan

文章 Iris Wu »

Great tips!
For us, I think the challenge is how we can be persistent with any of these 5-min a day plans. Maybe we can find a partner (or a couple of partners), work together, share the learning results and remind each other not to slip away after brief period of enthusiasm.