Three golden rules to improve your English


                                       ENGLISH … with the help of animals and nature

If you are a mum or dad, you might be familiar with this situation: your son or daughter only starts studying for his or her English exam a couple of days prior to that. He or she seems to be bored, frustrated and is constantly complaining about the huge amount of material he or she has to study. As a consequence of all this studying there is no time left for hobbies, sports or just for spending some time in the garden. Usually studying English this way and on such short notice never helps. Frustration increases, because there is simply no improvement in sight. And you keep asking yourself: is there no other way to learn English?

       Of course there is. Try to make animals, natural surroundings, sports and some other “still secret ingredients” integral parts of your learning process and your English will improve by leaps and bounds. This article will focus exactly on these helping hands and will give you THREE ESSENTIAL TIPS AND TRICKS of how to make your English learning not only a success but also a real experience.

      Let me first of all introduce myself: My name is Tanja Neumayr MA and I am an English & Sports teacher, a certified animal-assisted coach and a cranio-sacral therapist. I am the founder of “The English Academy – Animal-assisted English Learning” and I run our animal-assisted centre for learning and health in the picturesque Waldviertel in Lower Austria. Learn more about all my qualifications and our family farm HERE. I taught teenagers, young adults and grown-ups of all levels, from beginners to post-graduates, for almost 20 years in higher vocational colleges. And during all these years of teaching English I have learned one thing: learning must be fun and full of action and positive emotions. The best way to defeat your motivation and entire learning process is to hate what you should learn and to sit cooped up in a boring room all by yourself.

      So, now let me give you my THREE GOLDEN RULES right away:


Tip number 1:


Animals, plants, trees, water, fire, … all these elements are so essential to our brain and to the learning process itself. These elements will make your studying not only a positive experience but also a real transformation. Fauna and flora will make you feel energetic, strong and ready to study. English will become “green” and alive when you are supported by animals and nature. So, next time you study English, simply go outdoors, find your favorite place or go for a walk and take your English stuff with you. You can easily revise words and phrases as well as read or learn how to write a specific type of text while walking. You can even write a text while sitting under or on a tree, in between enjoying a perfect view. Anything is possible, believe me. I also do pony and goat trekking with my AnimalEnglish students and play vocabulary games while trekking. In addition, animals keep motivating you to communicate and talk in English. There are millions of ways to learn English but GO OUTDOORS.


Tip number 2:


Moving your body will also bring some movement into your learning process. Walk, dance, jump, sing or even do gardening but at the same time study English. You might ask yourself if this works? The answer is, “Yes, it works perfectly well”. I still remember many situations with my college students (aged 15 to 19) when we started our outdoor learning sessions in spring. We often went into the woods, we went hiking and afterwards we sat around an open fire, chatting, discussing issues and finally singing … and of course all this in English. During such “wild outdoor sessions” I was not teaching, I was just there and helped when  help was needed. My “outdoor students” had a clear and well-structured list of tasks to do. They could decide themselves when, how and with whom they wanted to do their tasks. We usually had two goals: to finish the tasks AND to reach our hiking destination, always a perfect location where to rest and have a break. My students hardly ever complained about the workload. On the contrary, they were proud of what they could achieve. Still nowadays when I meet some of them either on fb or at a prom night, they keep saying how wonderful those moments were. And you should see their bright eyes. Now I do “Wild AnimalEnglish sessions and workshops” on our farm now and my students really enjoy learning English in the “wilderness”.


Tip number 3:    


I think tips 1 & 2 have already shown you what I mean by “fun and joy”. It is so important to integrate positive emotions into your learning process. Modern brain science shows us that this is the only effective and lasting way to learn and remember. The concept of AnimalEnglish is based on modern brain science and makes use of exactly these factors in natural surroundings. However, this does not mean that my students cannot cope with the amount of material they have to study for their exams, especially for their finals (Matura). Not at all. Integrating fun and joy means that you can cope with even more material because with increased motivation that comes from a relaxed setting, you retain all the material more quickly.