Now I’m no mathematician which is why I teach English, not maths, and maybe also why my equation uses letters rather than numbers. However, I believe that if you follow this method, you will never stop improving your English. So, do you want to know what F x A = GC means?
F stands for fluency, which is being able to communicate your ideas easily without hesitating. Often, when learners speak, they worry too much about whether what they are saying is correct. Many times students start a sentence with a couple of words (e.g. ‘I live at…’), and then pause and look at me questioningly, asking me to tell them if what they have said is correct. Most of the time I have to tell them to just keep talking because 1) I don’t yet know if they have made a mistake or not (e.g. ‘I live at Tokyo’ is wrong, but ‘I live at 125 Queen’s Road’ is correct), and 2) it doesn’t really matter if you make a mistake when you speak. A good teacher will correct you when necessary, but will not necessarily correct every mistake. ‘But why not?’ you may ask. Well, if you are corrected every single time you make a mistake, you will never be able to speak fluently because you will always be being interrupted by your teacher! A good teacher will let you speak to give you confidence that speaking fluently can be just as effective in communicating as speaking accurately.
This brings me on to A: Accuracy. Accuracy is being correct. Of course your goal is to speak good English, but you do not have to sound like a grammar book. For example, there is nothing wrong with using ‘May…?’ for requests (e.g. ‘May I open the window?’), but actually, as a native English speaker I NEVER use it! Does that make me rude? No, it just means that I use everyday English, not schoolbook English. (When I want to make a polite request I say, ‘Do/Would you mind if…?’, or ‘Would it be OK if…?’) Also, most of the time your goal should be to to express your meaning so that the listener (or reader) understands. If you say ‘I live at Tokyo’, people will understand, and this is better than saying ‘I……………..live…………….in……………Tokyo.’ However, I am not saying that accuracy is not important, but maybe you would be surprised at the amount of grammar mistakes native English speakers actually make all the time! Also, the majority of people who use English, use it NOT as their first language, so in reality, pretty much everyone who uses English makes mistakes!!! Improving accuracy is about learning patterns and rules and those annoying exceptions to rules. But, I always tell my students that it’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, it is better to be able to speak more fluently with a few errors, than to take forever to decide whether your next word should be ‘in’ or ‘on’!
The key is to get the balance. If you don’t know the word, try to explain it, or ask. I’m not saying don’t use a dictionary, but if you are always diving in to it, remember that your listener will always be waiting for you which does not make for ideal communication.
So, Fluency x Accuracy = Great Communication, and that is your ultimate goal as a language learner.