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  Fluentenglish.com > English > "Can I become fluent in spoken English thro' self-study?"
  Self-study facts: Page 6 of 7
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Living and working in an English environment
For adult learners, an English environment will only become an effective training ground if they’ve already mastered fluency techniques. Yes. This fact will become clear to you as you read on.

This route will take years
Of course, it’ll certainly be very helpful if you can live for a long period of time in an environment where people only speak English. Yes, for a long period of time. There’s no doubt about it. You’ll then be able to keep on listening to spoken English and you’ll find yourself forced to have conversations in English. And this listening experience and speaking experience would give you a sort of real-life training. And this training would help you learn to speak fluent English. But don’t let this fact mislead you or give you a wrong idea.

Mind you, just because you spend your time for a short period (like 3 or 6 months) with people who speak English, that alone is not going to give you the skill of speaking English fluently. No. Not at all. Of course, that’ll help you pick up a few formulaic expressions and common phrases. But don’t think that it’ll give you the fluency skill.

If you want to achieve fluency by living and working in a place where people only speak English, that’s going to take a long time. That’ll take at least 5 years, if the English environment is ideal. Otherwise, it’ll take longer.

Now, can adults (from countries where English is not the first language) afford to leave the place they live and work in and go and spend that much time in an English speaking country or area – purely for achieving fluency in English?

And even if they do this, the end result will not be as satisfactory as that Prof. Kev Nair’s self-study books can produce. No. So if you have the opportunity of living and working in an English-speaking country or area, this is what you should do: You should first master the fluency techniques Prof. Kev Nair’s self-study books teach, and then put those techniques to use in an English environment. You’ll then be able to reach a high level of fluency within a short period of time.

English environment in second-language countries
First let’s consider the kind of English environment you get in a country where English is a second language (and not the native language).

Suppose that you live or work for several years in such a country among people who often speak English. Of course, you’ll then have the opportunity of listening to English spoken by others. And you’ll also find yourself forced to speak in English in various communicative situations. But do you think such an experience is going to make you able to speak English at length and spontaneously? In a short period of 3 months or 6 months or one year?

Even if you live and work in such an environment for several years (say 5 years or more), the chances are that you’ll only become able to communicate certain essential things in English – through one-line or two-line utterances. That too, in routine or repetitive communicative situations – and not in new or unfamiliar situations. The chances are that this sort of experience in listening and speaking may not take you to a stage when you can call yourself fluent – in 5 or 10 years. If you want to call yourself fluent, you must have the skill of speaking English easily and continuously, at least for a few seconds at a stretch, in almost all the real-life situations you face every day.

English environment in English-speaking countries
Of course, the situation would be quite different if you can live for a few years in a country like England or America – where people speak English as their native or first language. If you live in an English-speaking country for about 5 years or more and if you’re able to have conversations with the English-speaking people there regularly, then you’re likely to become fluent in everyday conversational English. Yes, in everyday conversational speech. That too, not in a short period of 3 or 6 months, but in about 5 years — or more.

But even then, you may find it difficult to become fluent enough to speak English in detail and spontaneously – to describe or explain things or to argue or to have a serious conversation. If you want to reach that stage, you’ll need to learn fluency techniques deliberately.

Of course, you’ll have a lot of speaking and listening experience from the English environment you live and work in. But without the fluency techniques (that Prof. Kev Nair’s self-study books teach) to guide you, all that experience is likely to get your fluency skill to develop in a disorganized and haphazard way.

All this also depends on the type of environment you live and work in. If you live and work in an environment where you have to make heavy use of oral English, then you’ll become quite fluent. Otherwise, you’ll only become fluent in communicating your essential needs and in performing everyday functions in English. And mind you, you’ll be able to communicate in good English only if you live and work in an educated environment. If you live and work in places where living and working conditions are bad, and where people speak non-standard English, the English you’ll learn to communicate in will also be non-standard English. This then becomes a liability, rather than an advantage.

Without fluency techniques, English environment alone won’t help
Now here’s something you should think about: Even if you go to England or America, how are you going to start communicating in English – if you’re not already fluent at least to some extent? If you’re already somewhat fluent, then of course, living and working with educated native speakers of English will certainly help you become more fluent — over the years. But if you’re not already somewhat fluent, won’t your progress be difficult?

So remember this: Even if you’re someone who has the opportunity of living and working in an English environment, the thing you should do first is to learn the fluency techniques that Prof. Kev Nair’s self-study books teach. You should do this whether you live and work in an English-speaking country or a country where English is not the native or first language.

So you can see that Prof. Kev Nair’s self-study books meet a pressing need.

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In this section
1. Alternatives to self-study route, not really practical. 5. Helping learners in difficulty
2. Classroom instruction, not really effective 6. Living and working in an English environment
3. Fluency techniques and real-life situations 7. Fluency techniques: The only quick and easy route
4. Face-to-face instruction and feedback

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