My learning experience in Illinois

Being well-educated is becoming more and more important in today’s world. Due to innovation and invention in technology, only high-skilled people will be able to afford a satisfying life in the coming decades. Some experts even predict the disappearance of the middle class. Thus, learning is becoming mandatory and not optional. While it is important, the pedagogy chosen is more important. Choosing a bad method to learn is almost the same as learning nothing, because it will require too much endeavor. Therefore, people should choose the right method to optimize their learning. That’s one of the best things that I’ve learned throughout my learning journey in Illinois. I would qualify it awesome, and I want to share with you why this new compelling pedagogy has impressed me.


First of all, I have been taught about short-term and long-term memory. One can use the first to store information or new knowledge rapidly but just for a short amount of time. For example, if I study 10 vocabularies, I can retrieve and recall all of them in 5 or 10 minutes later, but after that, I may forget them. If I don’t want this to happen, I will have to rehearse and review those vocabularies many times. By doing this, the information will be transferred to my long-term memory. Once it is there, I can recall it anytime I want. And that’s the main purpose of school and learning. If I can’t recall the information when I need it, it is like I’ve never learned it. By having this simple information, I am able to improve better and quicker.

Second, I’ve learned some interesting tips to improve my English skills. As there are a variety of languages in the world, English is the common one that allow us to communicate to each other. I’ve learned that vocabularies are an important factor for English proficiency. It affects reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Thus, learning vocabularies is very important. Does it mean to study all the vocabularies in the English dictionary? Of course not,  I’ve learned two main lists of vocabulary to study to be able to understand over 90 % of academic texts. These lists are AWL and GSL.  I find it motivating to know how much I have to learn to expect improvement in my English skill.

Third, I’ve learned some good techniques to improve by learning from mistakes. I was very impressed when our teacher give us homework with the answer key and ask us to correct ourselves. I think this method is universally good and also matches perfectly with the goals of learning. Improvement comes by making fewer and fewer mistakes. Another evidence that I can give for learning from mistakes is when they video tape my oral presentation and then I was asked to evaluate myself. From the very beginning, I felt very uneasy and uncomfortable to do that kind of exercise, but at the end I found it very beneficial.  That gave me the opportunity to see myself performing. Even though I judged myself sometimes awkward, but when I acknowledged how horrible I am, only improvement can come after.

To sum up, my experience in Illinois is pretty exciting. It was an opportunity for me to master my English skill as well as my overall understanding of the world. If you are already a student in the University of Illinois, I wish you a good continuation, but if you are not, why don’t you think about it.




One response to “My learning experience in Illinois”

  1. Marc, I’m glad to hear you’ve had a positive experience studying here at the IEI so far. In fact, we teachers feel lucky to have you and the other Fulbright Scholars in our classes. You are all excellent students because you are highly motivated, intelligent, diligent, and enthusiastic learners! It’s also good to know that you have embraced some of the learning principles and methods discussed in our classes. These can help you in your future learning too. I’m sure you did a great job on your oral presentation in Kristin’s class – she is an excellent teacher. The self-evaluation part is always hard, but quite beneficial. I hated watching a video of myself teaching when I was a student teacher. However, like you, I learned a lot from it. Keep up the good work you are doing so far!


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