Satyendra: How I Improved English?
This is a guest blog by Satyendra Pandit.
English is the most important language of the interconnected globalized world. It is vital for professional success. India has benefited from globalization in the IT and BPO sectors primarily because the Indian youth is I T savvy and competent with English. As a young person in this information age I consider myself not just an Indian but a global citizen and advise all of you to think likewise. Like me so many of you are weak in English. It is a big handicap. The weak blame the circumstances for their shortcomings while the strong and proactive work to overcome their weaknesses. I consider myself a proactive man and have improved my English. I am not perfect but can manage to express myself orally and in writing. Here I share my journey of learning English to benefit people with similar background like me.
I come from a humble family. My father is a security guard and it is very difficult for him to run our family. We are living in a one room of a slum area in Kolkata. Being a slum boy, I never found a culture where I could speak English.. I completed my secondary and higher secondary education from a Hindi medium school. In my school, English teachers were unable to teach us the basic concepts of English grammar because they themselves did not know. I was taught English in Hindi.
The idea of translating sentences into English from Hindi created discomfort and it was difficult to learn the basics of English. This discomfort continued till I reached the 2nd year of my engineering. In college life, I felt awkward among English speaking people. It badly affected my confidence. The weakness in English and consequent reduced confidence caused me to fail miserably in three consecutive SSBs for NDA. These failures further dented my confidence. I started to think that SSB was only meant for English speaking candidates. Weak English and low confidence never allowed me to display my knowledge and other skills.
Joining No Frills Academy
It was August 2017, when I read blogs written by Col. M M Nehru, which talked about Eklavya and Arjun and the story of a Dharavi slum boy. These two blogs inspired me to contact Nehru sir. He helped me and asked me to improve my grammar and vocabulary.
Strategy for English Improvement
Writing Ability: Essential
- First of all, I went through basics of grammar. For that, I took help from the book by Wren & Martin. This book helped me to improve my knowledge of tenses, which enabled me to frame correct sentences. I also focused on articles and prepositions and their correct usage.
- After spending a couple of weeks of reading grammar books, I moved onto reading the newspaper on daily basis. In the beginning, it was difficult to understand the editorials due to my weak English. I consulted the dictionary to learn the meaning of words that I did not know. This exercise helped me to understand the formation of sentences and structuring of paragraphs. After reading the newspaper, I started to write one article on my own daily. It helped me to improve sentence formation as well as my vocabulary.
- For improving my vocabulary, I consulted a book called “Word Power Made Easy” written by Norman Lewis. This book helped me to understand the differences between similar words. It also enriched my vocabulary.
Till now I have discussed my approach to improving my writing skills. Now let me talk about my approach to improving my oral communication skills.
- For improving my oral communication skill, I became an active listener. I started to watch “Ted Talks” on YouTube. It helped me to gain wide knowledge on different topics of my interests. Hollywood movies and TV series like Dexter enabled me to get familiar with their conversation style.
- Apart from just becoming an active listener, I started to communicate in English with my friends. Initially, I felt very awkward, but later I became habituated. Practicing in front of a mirror gave me more confidence. These things helped me to regain my lost confidence.
Lists of Books I Read
During the journey of improvement of English, I started to write articles on current and several geopolitical issues. I also read some books on these issues. Some books that I read during this wonderful journey of improvement are listed below:
- “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, by Robin Sharma.
- “International Relations In The 21sh Century”, by Pushpesh Pant.
- “Challenges to Internal Security” by Ashok Kumar(IPS).
- “Indian Shastra: Reflection on the Nation in Our Time” by Shashi Tharoor.
- “Half Girlfriend” by Chetan Bhagat.
You Can Do it Too!
I would like to say that learning English is not very difficult. It, however, requires perseverance and patience. These qualities, unfortunately, my generation often lacks! We want results in 2 weeks or we give up! With regular and consistent effort anyone can improve his/her skills in English. In my opinion, good English helps an individual to build his confidence not only to communicate but also overall in life.
Lastly, I would like to thank my Dronacharya Col. M M Nehru, without his help and blessings it would not have been possible to maintain faith in myself and I might have given up.
I hope that the sharing of my thoughts will inspire other young people like me to improve their English! I have not cleared SSB as yet but am confident of clearing it now!