To master the English language in rapid time, you must work hard and smart. If you want to give yourself the best shot at high quality language acquisition, you need to know the secrets of picking up the information at speed – and of course, retaining it.
Learning a new language does wonders for the brain! Source: Giphy
To kick-start the knowledge-soaking process, here are 11 tips to help maximise your learning experience.
1. Get stuck in!
Don’t hesitate, just speak! The more you sit and mull it over, the more difficult you’ll find it to speak. Make sure you take up every opportunity to communicate in English. Note the number of times you contribute to your English class and try to double it next time you go.
If you put in the effort now, lit will pay off later on. Source: Giphy
2. Don’t apologise
Saying “I’m sorry but I don’t speak English” because you’re afraid of making mistakes is an absolute no-no.
Remember – you’re learning, and that means you’re allowed to make errors or form half-sentences at first. Instead of simply saying you don’t speak English and shutting down the chance to try, offer phrases such as “I’m sorry could you repeat that/slow down/say it differently?”, “Could you explain that?” or “I’m not English, could you say that again?” Turn the situation into another opportunity to practice.
— Interactive English (@interactiveeng) 31 May 2019
3. On that note – don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
Fear is a barrier to learning – and an unnecessary one at that. If you’re holding back because you’re afraid people will laugh at you, or you’ve got perfect grammar comprehension but can’t actually hold a conversation, you’re simply slowing down your progression.
Remember that absolutely everyone who has ever learned a language made mistakes, felt silly and thought they weren’t as good as others in the class. Mistakes and errors are all just part of the process you must go through to learn. If you’re going to be a great English speaker, you need to make plenty of them!
Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? Watch Kee divulge the differences between ‘mustn’t’ and ‘don’t have to’! Give us 60 seconds and we’ll give you the English!
— BBC Learning English (@bbcle) 3 July 2018
4. Don’t give up
As with any new skill you learn, there will come a time when you want to give up. No one is born a natural English speaker when it’s not their first language but, like any skill, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. Think of yourself as an athlete in training – you need to put in the practice hours if you want to get over the line.
👋 Do you hate saying ‘goodbye’?
Me too! Sometimes it’s necessary though.
Here are a few ways to do it!#bbclearningenglish #otherwaystosay #englishvocabulary #goodbyes #speakenglish #englishtips #learnenglish #vocab pic.twitter.com/wI9gqPVU2W
— BBC Learning English (@bbcle) 31 May 2019
5. Don’t translate ‘word for word’
If you’re translating every single word you hear into your native language, again, you’re slowing down development. Instead, tap into words you already understand and use all contextual clues happening in the conversation, from gestures and facial expressions, to images and actions.
Context and expression can give away a lot. Source: Giphy
6. Listen to everything!
If you only listen to technical examples with strict grammar structures or find yourself trying to master single words on their own, it will be much harder to improve.
In terms of learning and retaining, it’s far better to understand sentences and phrases as this is what gives you fluency. You can do this by listening to English films, TV, audiobooks and radio – you’ll be able to pick up an understanding of actual conversational English rather than just book learning.
Conversational English will be far more beneficial out in the real world. Source: Giphy
7. Make notes
Keep a notebook with you – or use a notes app on your phone – so you can write down any unknown phrases you hear.
Whether it’s because you don’t yet understand something or you think it’s a good phrase you’ll want to use again, making a note means you’e much more likely to remember later on.
Information you write down can be easily retained. Source: Giphy
8. Set yourself targets and have clear goals
To maintain perspective and stay motivated, bear in mind why you chose to learn English in the first place.
What are your targets? i.e. Do you want to study in English? Did you just want to learn a new language? Is it to make things more convenient when you travel to English-speaking countries?
if English is not your first language: at what age did you learn it?
for me it was around 9? but i mean, till this day i’m obviously still learning new words and get corrected on stuff i’ve apparently been pronouncing wrong 🙃
— vader (@elizabethhdre) 29 May 2019
9. If it’s broke, fix it!
When you hit a wall with your learning, it’s time to embrace change. The more methods you can incorporate into the learning experience, the faster you’ll learn. Try everything: online learning sources, podcasts, digital radio, films and TV, chatbots, listening to English music – the list goes on!
10. Remember that your learning needs are individual
Yes, you need a textbook, but you don’t have to stick to it religiously. The textbook structure simply will not provide all the tools and support you need. Textbooks take a one size fits all approach that can be used as a useful resource, but it’s important that you structure your learning around the things you need to know.
“Picturing Writing” is a fantastic way for all students, especially those learning English, to continue developing vocabulary and play around with different literacy devices. Grade 1/2M @CRES_HRCE doing personification this morning! “The sun plays hide and seek with the hills” pic.twitter.com/K3KNxfDk2E
— LeeAnnBrownell (@lbrownell19) 4 June 2019
11. And finally…stay positive!
If you’re constantly telling yourself you’re no good and you can’t speak English then you really won’t improve. This is the learning process. It’s won’t happen overnight.
Recognise negativity, identify the problem and give yourself a break! You can acknowledge that it’s tough but tell yourself to keep trying and stay positive. Anyone can learn English with enough time and effort – and that includes you!