How to improve your English skills
Learning Skills | Grammar | Vocabulary | Listening | Speaking | Reading | Writing
Our most important piece of advice is: "Do something (anything).
If you don't do anything, you won't get anywhere.
Make it your hobby, not a chore.
Above all have fun!
Oh, and don't be in too much of a hurry. You're setting off on a long journey and there will be delays and frustrations along the way. Sometimes you'll be in the fast lane and other times you'll be stuck in traffic, but there will also be lots of interesting things and interesting people along the way. Take your time to really enjoy the experience.
There are many ways to improve your level of English, but only you can find the right way for you. Here are a few tips that might help:-
Learning is a skill and it can be improved.
Your path to learning effectively is through knowing
- your capacity to learn
- processes you have successfully used in the past
- your interest, and knowledge of what you wish to learn
If you are not motivated to learn English you will become frustrated and give up. Ask yourself the following questions, and be honest:-
- Why do you need to learn/improve English?
- Where will you need to use English?
- What skills do you need to learn/improve? (Reading/Writing/Listening/Speaking)
- How soon do you need to see results?
- How much time can you afford to devote to learning English.
- How much money can you afford to devote to learning English.
- Do you have a plan or learning strategy?
Set yourself achievable goals
You know how much time you can dedicate to learning English, but a short time each day will produce better, longer-term results than a full day on the weekend and then nothing for two weeks.
Joining a short intensive course could produce better results than joining a course that takes place once a week for six months.
Here are some goals you could set yourself:-
- Join an English course - a virtual one or a real one (and attend regularly).
- Do your homework.
- Read a book or a comic every month.
- Learn a new word every day.
- Visit an English speaking forum every day.
- Read a news article on the net every day.
- Do 10 minutes listening practice every day.
- Watch an English film at least once a month.
- Follow a soap, comedy or radio or TV drama.
A good way to meet your goals is to establish a system of rewards and punishments.
Decide on a reward you will give yourself for fulfilling your goals for a month.
- A bottle of your favourite drink
- A meal out / or a nice meal at home
- A new outfit
- A manicure or massage
Understanding how you learn best may also help you.
There are different ways to learn. Find out what kind of learner you are in order to better understand how to learn more effectively..
The visual learner
Do you need to see your teacher during lessons in order to fully understand the content of a lesson?
Do you prefer to sit at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. people's heads)?
Do you think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flashcards, flipcharts and hand-outs?
During a lecture or classroom discussion, do you prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information?
!Learning Tip - you may benefit from taking part in traditional English lessons, but maybe private lessons would be better.
The auditory learner
Do you learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say?
Do you interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances?
Does written information have little meaning until you hear it?
!Learning Tip - you may benefit from listening to the radio or listening to text as you read it. You could try reading text aloud and using a tape recorder to play it back to yourself.
The Tactile/Kinesthetic learner
Do you learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around you?
Do you find it hard to sit still for long periods?
Do you become distracted easily?
!Learning Tip - you may benefit from taking an active part in role plays or drama activities.
Travel to an English speaking country:-
- England, America, Australia, Canada, South Africa, one of them is only a few hours away from you.
- Specialist holidays are available to improve your English.
- Take an English speaking tour or activity holiday.
Spend your time on things that interest you. If you like cooking then buy an English-language cookbook or find recipes on the net and practise following the recipes. You'll soon know if you have made a mistake!
Start networking with native speakers / teachers and other learners.
Don't restrict yourself to seeking out native speakers. Think about it, the likelihood of needing to speak English with non-native speakers is statistically much higher.