Mirroring to be Fluent in English

I firstly recognized the term "mirroring" in neuro-linguistic programming book. After contemplating, I realized that mirroring might be beneficial for those who want to be fluent in English. Here is how.

Mirroring simply refers to immitating the way someone speaks English. The best figure is, of course, native speaker of English. However, in some countries in Asia, the availability of native speakers is insufficient - especially those who are credible in teaching English as foreign or second language.

Fortunately, in nowadays era, Youtube provides abundant resources. Why don't we take advantage of this?

Language learning theory states that immitating becomes one of the best method for fluency. It is similar with how a baby learns his language.

In immitating, one just need to focus on expressions or sentences. There is no need to have any question on how the expressions are formed grammatically. Grammar will be acquired naturally. In many cases, people do not really aware of grammar - especially when the language is spoken.

Youtube

In Indonesia, majority of English teachers are Indonesians - non-native speaker of English and they have never been to English-speaking country. Consequently, points they teach in English lesson rely more on grammar. If speaking becomes the focus, the spoken examples given will never accurate.

Point that I would like to emphasize here is that Youtube might be a solution for those who want to familiarize themselves with spoken English. Youtube provides abundant authentic materials - material that is not created for learning purposes but can be beneficial for learning.

One can simply hit www.youtube.com and put some keywords on search bar - such as review of a product. If it is possible, activate English subtitle to includes more senses in learning. By doing this, one would apply auditory and visual senses in learning which is effective. The more senses included in learning, the more able someone in acquiring the lesson.

Podcast

This is my secret weapon in acquiring English expressions. I can even say that listening to podcast gives me more opportunity than reading English book.

Podcast allows the listeners to learn while doing other things such as driving, riding, jogging, and cycling. If you need the transcript, you can simply visit the webpage where the podcast is hosted. Some podcasters usually provide the transcript for free - some others require you to request and some others need you to pay the transcript.

Mirroring the speaker

Either you prefer Youtube or podcast, both allow you to do 'mirroring' or 'immitating'. Listen to what the speaker says and directly mirror him. If it is difficult for you, take your mirror and say something in front of the mirror. Imagine one you see on the mirror as the one who mirrors or immitates you. You just need to do what someone you see on the mirror does.

What should be mirrored?

In my point of view, there are at least 4 points that should be mirrored - they are:

Pronunciation

How words are spelled is essential to be mirrored. English is a language that has special pronunciation. Meaning that some letters - when they are formed in words - are pronounced differently, such as letter ‘a’ as in ‘back’ and ‘hard’. It emphasizes that each language has its uniqueness. The key to this is just listening with noticing. The more you listen, the more able you will be in pronouncing English words.

Intonation

When talking about language, there are some aspects that determine fluency or factors that when they are met, the one who meet them is called fluent. The first point that one assesses is intonation. The closer the intonation to native speaker, the more fluent someone will be treated. It is suggested for those who want to follow this fluency training to focus on intonation without paying attention towards grammar. Just follow as you listen.

Face expression

Verbal language must be supported by non-verbal language. Face expression sometimes tells more than a sentences. It psychologically targets one’s heart. In emphasizing an intention, it is important to include appropriate face expression. In some cases, your speaking partner would treat you by looking at your face expression. Sometimes, your speaking partner does not believe your words. Meaning that face expression is more convincing than the words themselves.

Body language (non-verbal language)

Body language is also essential to be mirrored. It might include hand gesture. If you watch influential person delivering speech, his hands would move to emphasize his points. Although it is universal language, it is regarded important to learn the appropriate body language. The most effective way to learn it is through mirroring.

How long does it take?

Fluency needs time and extra efforts. It is not possible to be reached only in one night practice. Be patient. Just watch as many videos (or listen to audio) as you can and do 'mirroring' or 'immitating' consistently.

How to begin?

Watch videos or listen to audio that you are familiar with the topic. If you love playing musical instruments, you may choose topic that reviews the latest gear. Or if, for example, you love automotive, you may seek video or audio that discusses about machines.

This trick is very effective since your prior experience can help you in understanding what the speaker discusses. You can intuitively understand the points while you acquire the language.

Research Idea

If you are interested in points explained in this post, you might think about how these points could be beneficial for you. Doing a research study on ‘how effective is mirroring towards fluency’ is a great idea since it is possible to be explored qualitatively, examined quantitatvely, or through mixed method. If you prefer qualitative study, you may explore how your participants learn through video or podcast by observing and interviewing them. It is important to explore how they experience their mirroring and how they think about improvement they could make. If quantitative study is preferred, experimental study would be the best method. You may, for example, involve your participants into pre-test, give them some videos that suit their level and order them to mirror or immitate the speakers on the video, and conduct post-test. After conducting these procedures, you should then compare the result of pre-test with post-test. However, be so careful with the way you assess the fluency of your participants since fluency is rather difficult to be assessed.