English is the second language in the Philippines but growing up in the province means limited time of practicing English. We only use it within the four corners of a classroom. Our subjects: Math, Science, History etc. were all taught in English and students would have to read, write and speak English in class. My English teacher in first and second year of high school was not an easy one. She was strict and often embarrassed students with their wrong answers. She would religiously refer to our grammar text book which she seemed to have mastered through her numerous years of teaching practice. She would furiously send out students who forgot to bring their books. It was a horrifying two hour class with her. She would normally start the class with what she calls a "Quickie Talk". It's a warm-up activity where we have a glass bowl that has pieces of paper with different subjects and questions written on it. She would randomly choose five students to pick one paper and talk about the subject in one minute. Everyone was nervous as she called out names. When my turn came, it was a moment and a question I would never forget. I read, "Why does your feet smell and your nose runs?" I spent the whole minute staring at the ceiling wondering... Why?! I was sent out after that. I felt bad and confused, still thinking about the ironic logic between body parts and senses. A few minutes later, I met two more classmates outside. All our tension and frustration were turned into laughter after sharing the silly questions we got. As the classes progressed, our teacher started telling jokes and the class eventually became comfortable. It was not something I treated badly but rather I saw it as a challenge to become better. I realized that she wasn't a terror teacher after all. It was her way of getting the attention and respect of teenage students like us.
Each person has various ways of learning and has their own different motivation. I don't think one method works for everybody but having a good foundation in a school is important to start with. It gives you an overview of how everything works. It equips you when you are faced in an English speaking situation. It makes you confident for knowing how to compose a sentence and not just memorizing a phrase book. I credit sixty percent of my English knowledge in my academic background and still doesn't stop there. It will always be a work in progress. You don't have to interact with an English speaker to learn and widen your vocabulary. Listening to songs, watching a TV series or movies in its original language, reading books, magazines or even short articles already make a big difference. Perfecting a language takes time and effort and attaining a hundred percent is a life long process that will always continue.