Your are going to read some extracts about learning English. Read the texts carefully and complete the tasks.

We asked various students to tell us about their experiences of learning English. We’ve printed four of them below. Are any of these similar to your own?

Stefan Thierry (Switzerland)

My first experience of learning English wasn’t a very happy, useful or productive one. The teacher was pleasant enough, but her lessons were an endless cycle of rigidly controlled choral drilling based on listening and repeating what we had heard.

Either that or writing down, then being tested on, verb tenses and grammatical structures. (1) … I tactfully tried to explain this to our teacher. (2) … I gave her a good reason two years later on a class trip to England. She had taken us into a shop where we were told to order ourselves something for lunch: when it came to my turn, I just froze: (3)

Nadine Laudebat (France)

My English teacher was a very rare person, one of those few teachers who was not only passionate about her subject, but who could interact on the same level as her pupils. (4) … Each of her lessons was a riot of colour and sound, a hectic, disorganised 45-minute blast of a foreign language communicated through songs, comics and films, and everyone in the class got involved. (5) … By the end of my first year, I could speak confidently on a variety of subjects, from the antics of various cartoon characters to the best way to prepare shepherd’s pie. (6) … What really mattered was that I was able to communicate in the language.

Jesús Márquez (Chile)

I started learning English when I was 13 years old, but learnt very little for the first two years. The teacher tried to make our lessons as interesting and as varied as possible, with role plays, discussions and plenty of innovative activities, and while I didn’t find the language particularly difficult, at that age I just didn’t see the point of it. I then got into computer games, and that changed everything. Most of them at that time were produced in the USA, and required the player to have a certain command of English. To really enjoy them, I needed to know what some of the words meant! So I began to study English with a renewed sense of purpose, and found to my surprise that I actually enjoyed the challenge of learning a new language. I also found to my surprise that I actually enjoyed the challenge of learning a new language. I also appreciated the mental discipline it instils in you, and the advantages this can have when you finally need to make your own way in the big, wide world.

Marta Wójcik (Poland)

I’m addicted to English, and have been since I first started learning it at school ten years ago, even though our teacher seemed to spend more time reminiscing about her time spent in London rather than actually teaching us anything! I’d like to say I’m fluent in the language now, and it’s true that there have been occasions when I have been mistaken for a native speaker. However, I know I have some shortcomings, and I’m working hard to overcome these and develop my skills. I would love to join a proper English course so that I could improve in a more controlled environment, but these are expensive, so instead I’ve joined an international English-learners’ website, where other members from around the world point out and correct your mistakes.


Six sentences have been removed from the article. Choose from the sentences below (AG) the one which fits each gap (16). There is one extra sentence which you do not need to use. For the remaining questions, choose from the viewpoints (A–D). The viewpoints may be chosen more than once.

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