Learning English is more than sitting in a classroom listening to your teacher. If you do more than that, you will learn faster. If you take responsibility for your learning, you will improve more quickly. Here we list 5 ways that you can improve your language by yourself.
Practise all 4 skills – Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking
Students often forget about Writing and Reading because they are harder. Or some nationalities find Listening and Speaking more difficult, so they focus on Reading and Writing. The skills are all linked, so, for example, reading improves your writing, writing improves your reading, reading improves your vocabulary, and having more vocabulary improves your listening and speaking. So try not to avoid any of them. The one that is the hardest, is the one you should be working on the most.
Use a Vocabulary Notebook
Write down new words in sentences, so that you can see the meaning. Try not to write lists with a translation next to each word. Research tells us that if you record the word in a sentence, you are much more likely to remember it. When you learn a new word, try to learn all its forms. For example, when you learn the adjective ‘happy’, immediately try to find out what the noun is – ‘happiness’. Similarly, the adverb is ‘happily’. That way, you learn 3 words, not just 1!
Revise, Revise, Revise
By tomorrow, you will have forgotten 50% of what you learnt today – isn’t that a scary thought? It is so important to refresh your memory of things you have learnt in the past. And by ‘past’ we mean, yesterday, two days ago, a week ago, 3 months ago and even a year ago. Your vocabulary will rapidly improve if you do this.
Read Graded Readers
Read for fun! Student tell us that ‘normal’ books are too difficult so you can read Graded Readers. These are normal stories that have the very difficult words taken out of them and they are especially designed for English learners. Remember, reading improves your writing, your vocabulary and even your grammar. Read Teacher Alex’ tips about improving your reading.
Here at ELC, we have a library just for our learners.
Don’t rely on a dictionary
It is so tempting to translate every word that you don’t understand but if you do this, you won’t remember the word. So, tomorrow you still won’t know what the word is! Try to guess the meaning of the word from the words around it. If you must use a dictionary, use an English to English dictionary that explains the word, rather than just telling you the meaning in your language.
Next week we will give you 5 more ways to improve your English on your own. And remember, Rome was not built in a day: this means that it takes time to learn English, so relax and enjoy the ride.