Babies start from zero; they know absolutely nothing about language when they are born. They learn English by being completely immersed in it, by listening to their parents and relatives talk around them they pick up the skills they need to start talking themselves. Not only that, they learn the rules of grammar and the meaning of words through observation of their use in real life. It’s a method that has been successful all over the world for thousands of years.
Now let’s look at the way students are taught by the English teacher in school. Students are given a list of words to copy down from a blackboard, and are given rules about grammar and punctuation. English speaking is infrequent and the lessons are in abstraction, they don’t necessarily convey the context in which it should be used. This is about as far away from the way babies learn as we can get. This classroom setting doesn’t allow for students to experiment with what they’ve learned and try it out in new spontaneous ways. The only words they come across are the ones that have been given to them by the teacher. If, in contrast they were in an immersive environment surrounded by people who are speaking English in real-life situations, they would come across many new words and would have to figure out what they meant given the context in which they were used. This actively engages their minds in learning the language and figuring out the best way to use the words they know.
The keys to the way babies learn language are immersion and engagement. So from this we can say that the best way for students to learn English or any language is to be in an immersive and engaging environment, where they are surrounded by opportunities to hear the language used in real-life scenarios, or to move to an English speaking country. There are many problems with this. First is the inconvenience; very few people can simply abandon their lives and move abroad just to learn English. Second is the cost; it’s very expensive to live abroad, there’s travel, accommodation, food, bills etc. Third is immigration, it’s not that easy getting a Visa these days, especially just to learn. Fortunately for all of us, there is another way to get all the benefits of learning English abroad, without any of the downsides I just mentioned: