10 Tips on How Learn English Quickly
Everyone wants to learn English. It’s the de facto language of international business, media, tourism and foreign relations. When two people form non-English speaking countries meet each other, English is often the shared language they use to communicate. And schools across the world teach English to young children so that they’ll be ready to use it later in life.
But learning English is no small feat. In fact, learning any language is the most cognitively demanding activity that you can perform. Although there are many independent variables for every learner’s situation, becoming competent in a foreign language requires a lot of attention and dedication.
International students who come to English language schools want to find the best possible ways to improve their English. So here are LASC teachers’ top 10 tips to improving your English quickly.
Get a library card
So what are you waiting for? Get a library card from your local branch, and start exploring the aisles. What’s important here is reading things that you find interesting.
“There is massive evidence that self-selected reading, or reading what you want to read, is responsible for most of our literacy development. Readers have better reading ability, know more vocabulary, write better, spell better, and have better control of complex grammatical constructions. In fact, it is impossible to develop high levels of literacy without being a dedicated reader, and dedicated readers rarely have serious problems in reading and writing.”
– Dr. Stephen D. Krashen
The world famous linguist and education researcher, Dr. Krashen, brings us these words based on the extensive findings in his fields. Sustained voluntary reading constantly arises as the most efficient and effective way for people to build their vocabulary, spell better, and control their grammar. The magic number for how much reading needs to be done to start leading to these positive effects is just 15 minutes.
This should come as great news for any language learner! You might think, “Fifteen minutes of reading a day? That’s it? I can do that while eating breakfast!” And you’d be totally right.
Keep a language log
Keeping a language log is an excellent way to keep track of all the new vocabulary you’ll be picking up once you start reading more. A few things you may want to note are the word, your own definition of the word, and a sentence with the word in context. By making this kind of language log, you will personalize the words and make them your own. When the word comes up again, you’ll get another reference to build upon your knowledge.
“How’s it going?” “Nice weather today, right?” A few simple expressions can help you interact with strangers in natural, authentic communication activities. It’s normal for strangers to say things like this to each other, so try to build up the confidence to say a few words to the cashier next time you check out at the grocery store. Another good situation would be when you go to a restaurant.
Have you heard of the University of YouTube? No, it’s not a real English school for international students. But YouTube is full of channels that can help you improve your English. You can search for actual video lessons or “flipped classroom” videos. You can search for TED Talks or other lectures. Or you can catch up with your favorite late night TV show hosts and their monologue videos. Remember to practice listening with and without the subtitles.
For younger students especially, total immersion is a highly effective way to build natural linguistic and communicative competence in a foreign language. For adult international students, ESL schools are a great option to improve English skills and spend time exploring a new environment at the same time. Make the most of it by getting involved with local or special interest communities.
Ask natural questions
When you listen to someone speak (in an ESL classroom, during conversation with friends, to an admissions manager at a school, anywhere!) ask questions to clarify information. Even if you think you know the answer, listening to someone say something in a different way can be good communication practice for you. “Come again?” “Do you mean …?” “What do you mean by …?” are some good phrases to get started.
Listen to non-native speakers
If you’re going to return to your country after living abroad, there’s a good chance that you’ll use English not just with native speakers, but with other non-native speakers with accents. Accents are not a bad thing! There are plenty of famous people who use English successfully with an accent. Ever heard of Javier Bardem? Christoph Waltz? Sofia Vergara? Jackie Chan? The list can go on as long as this article!
Learning to understand foreign speakers is just as important as understanding native speakers. It’s more important to learn the rhythm and intonation of English, not the ability to make every sound.
Make foreign friends
As soon as you can, try to socialize with foreign friends who don’t speak your native language. This is another great opportunity for immersion because you’ll have to negotiate meaning to communicate effectively with your new friends. Making friends can improve your experience at an English school for foreign students as well.
Don’t give up
As mentioned, learning a language is one of the most challenging mental tasks anyone can attempt. It’s natural to feel like you’re stuck sometimes or that it’s simply too hard to make any progress. This happens to everybody learning a language even if they go the top ESL school in the USA and study all the time with the best teachers. The best way to go forward is to keep climbing, keep reading, keep connecting with other people in English so that you can push yourself to the next level.