My personal experience...
So many students complain that they'd like to practice their English but they don't have enough time.
Other high-performing businessmen and athletes manage to squeeze in a lot of activities into one day. What's their secret?
How do you spend your commuting time? Is your commuting time WASTED time or GAINED time?
When my son was only three years old I chose to send my children to a very good school which was about half an hour's drive from where we lived. Now many people I know criticized that choice, saying that we would have been wasting our time two hours a day because it was a 30-minute drive one way and that was only one of the many disadvantages. In reality it turned out to be gained time because, on the two laps with my children in the car, going to and returning from school, when they were young, we sang songs, spoke to each other, told each other stories, practiced various languages and as they grew we also did spelling as well as times tables but what was most important is that we spoke to each other about our concerns, our worries and in particular, any questions about life they had we discussed: the existence or not of Father Christmas, human reproduction, smoking, drugs and all things which were concerning them as they grew up.
In that commuting time I managed to also teach them what I thought were the values of life so we built a really deep relationship through commuting and talking together - we were strapped in the car, we couldn't escape from each other and we really got to know each other; I got to trust them and they got to trust me. It bonded our relationship and I know that if we hadn't had this commuting time we wouldn't have built such a strong relationship because I would have done my own thing in the house, with all my household duties, whilst they would have gone to play and it wouldn't have been such an opportunity - so if you use this commuting time wisely, it is only gained time.
Not only was it quality time when we were together, but on the journeys where I was alone, on the way to pick the children up or coming back from having dropped them off, I used the time to discover the joys of audiobooks. I had really never used audiobooks and that's when I started discovering how exciting they are! Then I started learning Spanish and realized the advantages of language learning in the car, so for me commuting does not only have the disadvantage of the hassle - sometimes I'm stuck in a queue - commuting isn't only something negative, it's something positive.
So that's why you, who I'm sure are very busy, as I always have been, can take advantage for your language learning too because you can listen to podcasts, you can sing songs in English, you can listen to various audio books in the language you're studying and take advantage of audio courses where you listen, where you repeat and even if you don't want to do any of that, you can just talk to yourself in the language you're studying - for most of you that'll be English: talking to yourself will help your jaw get used to forming the words in the language you want to become fluent in and, best of all, nobody can laugh at your mistakes! As a result you'll feel very confident and the more you talk to yourself in this language, even if you're making mistakes, it doesn't matter, you improve your fluency.
That's why I think that taking advantage of commuting time means that when you get home you've done your daily dose of teaching yourself a language or practicing it and then when you're home you can dedicate your time to relaxing, doing sports, spending time with your family and that's very important, to have the feeling that you've done something for yourself, without stealing time from the things that you love, which are not necessarily language learning. This is why I've developed this course where you can, while you're in the car, listen, repeat and practice your fluency, practice your listening comprehension and practice your grammar because the exercises, over the weeks, gradually revise the grammar from easy to difficult including phrasal verbs and typical expressions.
These are all things that you can do, in particular, in the car whilst you're commuting - I recommend you don't just use the time for listening to music and chatting to your friends on the phone but actually as a kind of training for yourself. Now take advantage of it, see the positive side of it! I teach a lot of doctors; I teach a lot of people who are really, really busy and don't have much time but do commute. These courses are especially useful for people who have a very busy schedule so if you think that you'd be interested, download these courses I developed especially for you busy people - try them out. It's only ten minutes a day every day and you can listen, repeat and practice all your skills - the only skill that isn't really contemplated is writing but that you can practice in the comments box here below. This course was actually conceived for listening and repeating; so download it - the first week is absolutely free – if you find it's useful then you can go on my website and check out if you want to buy one or more weeks of the subsequent course.
Turn commuting time into GAINED TIME and enrich your life!
I hope you found these tips useful,
your fluency guide,
P.S. Check out my podcasts to download & listen to whilst commuting if you have no time to watch my videos!
Would you like regular English learning & teaching ideas? Subscribe to my blog so you don't miss a post!
My name is Susan Brodar, born in London into a multilingual family and brought up bilingual English / Italian.