Shadowing as your English learning isn’t effective

G’day, mate. Today, I am going to talk about the reason why shadowing as your English learning is not effective. Ultimately speaking, emulating a native speaker’s accent, vocal pitch, intonation, or even speed are nonsense for those learning English itself. We are non-native, or never be a native speaker, so why do we need to do this? Keeping in mind the fact that we should aim to master “Globish” that is universally understood amongst all types of English speakers around the world.

I’m not whingeing about the learning concept of Shadowing unless you’ve entirely mastered all the basic grammar rules, correct pronunciation as well as basic active vocabularies, in which case it could be relatively effective to get used to a native-speaker’s rhythm.

The reason why shadowing technique does not work out for you are: if

  1. you haven’t understood grammar rules, it’s hard to get even a big picture of what a native speaker is talking about.
  2. you haven’t refined all the essential IPA pronunciations, what a native speaker is saying will mostly be heard like “noise”, so that it’s simply gone from your ear immediately.
  3. you have’t got any basic active vocabulary and usage, it’s hard to understand the meaning of the words a native speaker is using.

Ok, then how do I solve this problem? It’s really simple. Reviewing all the essential grammar rules, refining pronunciation and acquiring basic active vocabularies. How simple is that? But, it might take a looooong time, I reckon. Yes, indeed.

But, it depends how much you can commit yourself on a daily basis. After mastering these three categories, you can start ‘read aloud’. It is a good training for checking your pronunciation, grammar rules as well as vocabularies. So much easier and more effective than just nonchalantly shadowing in the long run. If you think it’s not good enough to boost your confidence, then you can embark on ‘repeat sentences’, which means that you immediately repeat the sentence once a speaker’s stopped saying a sentence. It’s not just a good practice, but fun whether your working memory does function or not. Everyone can train yourself until reaching a certain level, no matter how good or bad you are.

All in all, shadowing is not my recommendation as my past empirical evidence could support my arguments. If anyone is concerned or not sure about ‘how-to’, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or leave your comments here. Upon request, I’m offering a personalised English learning program.

Thanks for reading today!

Have a good one!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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