creative and hungry of knowledge
The most common problem faced by foreign students in learning English is retaining the mastery of new vocabulary. Many students try very hard to memorize new vocabulary that they get from each unit of the English lessons and they succeed in memorizing, but not for long. In three or four months they can no longer remember the meaning of their newly acquired vocabulary. They have lost their mastery of the words. Why is the memory so short? Why can they not master the words for life? The most logical reason for this short span of mastery is because the words have not been deeply rooted in their mind. How can the words stay for a long time if they are not regularly used? It takes some efforts to keep the words staying in the memory for a long time.
This is actually one English to Arabic of the reasons why many students fail in mastering English although it is presented as one of the main subjects taught at school beginning from the first year of junior high school up to the end of the third year of senior high school (a 6 year-period of studying). There is no efforts of reinforcement of what is learned at school in their daily lives. The situation is different from what is happening to the students in a country where English is used as a lingua franca. English mastery is reinforced outside of school because it is used as a means of communication beside their mother tongue. In such countries, English is not considered a difficult subject.
One of the efforts to have the newly acquired vocabulary reinforced is by taking English lessons at the private English course outside school hours. The results of my study showed that the senior high school students who had a good mastery of English were the students who, in addition to studying English at school, also studied English at a private English course. In addition to taking extra English lessons outside school hours, having regular exposure to English magazines was also instrumental to having a good mastery of English. When I was a student I regularly read an English magazine entitled Window on the World. I relied on this magazine for materials of vocabulary development. I learned new vocabulary which followed each of the reading text presented in the magazine. These are examples of voluntary efforts of reinforcement of English lessons given at school.
One of the weaknesses of the way of many students learning English is to rely solely on the materials provided by their English teacher. Smart students should be creative and hungry of knowledge. They will not limit themselves to the materials provided by their teachers only. They will buy additional English books and English magazines, and borrow books from a library to enrich themselves with more materials and expose themselves with various types of English materials. To be rich in vocabulary, one should read a lot of books. If one relies only on one book his vocabulary will be limited to those words used in that book only. In fact, one should regularly challenge himself to increase the magnitude of his vocabulary by reading books of higher level of difficulty and taking standardized tests to asses his own level of mastery of English vocabulary.