Tips for Language Learning
Improving your English is often a matter of having an effective learning strategy. There are many ways in which you can make the experience of learning English more enjoyable and productive for yourself as a student.
Language learning can be fun!
Learning English need not be a matter of learning lists and continuous testing. Indeed, this approach can be dull and counter productive, as it can be boring and therefore off-putting.
Effective learning engages the mind of the learner, the lessons are fun and make language exciting. Learning English should be an active process in which the learner takes part and is involved with his or her own learning journey.
Adding a few English idioms and slang phrases into your English learning can help to inject the language with life and individuality, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new slang words you hear – just be careful not to use them in formal situations!
Learning English for life
Learning can be a long and slow-moving, drawn out curve of knowledge accumulation, or it can be an intense short burst of information cramming.
In learning English, the learner will most likely want to be able to use English for the rest of his/her life and so the best choice of learning method will be a slow and long-lasting one.
This means building a solid foundation of knowledge step by step on which to build new language skills. This will help you to improve your English language skills for life!
How to Learn Vocabulary
An EFL classroom setting may not be enough to make the new words stay in your memory if you are only getting to speak and write the new words you have learned intermittently.
You need to try to use the new words outside the classroom as often as possible in order to remember them. This matter of regular production is vital to your learning. Browse our resources for more tips on how to learn vocabulary effectively.
Improving your English can be difficult if you often forget new words. Learners tend to forget words because they have not had a strong enough impression on the memory. You cannot improve your English if you constantly forget new vocabulary as soon as you have learnt it.
If words are learned in a random manner, with no real connections made between these new words, it is very easy to forget them. This is because they are stranded on their own with no linguistic context. Therefore, you need to …
Put new words into context
Tips for language learning always include using appropriate context. Words need to be put into a useful context in order for them to become meaningful and therefore memorable. If your teacher teaches new vocabulary in lists without putting the words into context, you need to try to find your own contexts.
For example, ask how the words would normally be used. If you think of situations in your own life where the new words could be useful you will be more likely to remember them and your English language learning experience will improve dramatically.
Practise your English
Practising your English language is key to becoming a more advanced student. Try to expose yourself to large amounts of authentic English text, such as newspaper articles, books of an appropriate standard, short stories, songs, poems, films and television shows.
This way you will see the new words used in a variety of ways in different contexts. This makes the words come alive and you will be able to see their different usages.
It is easy to improve your English in this way because as you see and hear the words being used they will acquire a more meaningful position in your vocabulary and will be more available to you to use in your own communications.
By practising regularly using all different contexts, your English language knowledge will improve greatly without you even realising.
In order to learn successfully and easily, students need to develop a good attitude towards learning. Learning English more effectively comes from a developing confidence in your own language ability.
Confidence needs to be built up through successful study and the achievement of small learning goals; the student needs to tell themselves they can learn this list of English vocabulary and that they do have a good memory.
Negative attitudes can certainly have a detrimental effect on language learning. Remember why you started learning English in the first place and keep that reason fresh in your mind in order to maintain your motivation.
In order to improve your English language skills, alongside a positive attitude, you need to develop your study skills. This means seeking to learn in ways that are actually helpful and allow the memory to pick out the important information.
Long hours will not necessarily help to aid memory, indeed, it is important to take regular breaks and split up the learning process. Small chunks are easier to remember than long pieces of text.
Improving your English language means improving your study skills so that the words you do learn stay in your memory and those study sessions are productive in quality as well as quantity.
How to be a good learner
Good learners are aware of their learning and consciously try to regulate it by regularly reviewing and practicing the language they have acquired, trying out different strategies for learning and remaining aware of semantic relationships.
You can improve your English language skills is you consciously try to become a better learner. Effective learners pay more attention to spelling, collocation and the context in which they discover new words.
In contrast, poor learners are more passive in their learning and do not pay close attention to words and word relationships. Improving your English language skills means developing these good study habits.
Tips for Language Learning
Improving your English requires consistency. There are many ways to say the same thing in English, so it is best to pick one and remember it. If you mix parts of different phrases together the result may be incomprehensible.
As your English improves, you will be able to add more variety of expressions to your repertoire but to begin with learn your favourite way to say one thing and stick with it.
The English present perfect tense can be difficult for non-native speakers of English. For example, ‘I have been on holiday’. You can avoid the present prefect tense altogether by using the simple past tense plus a time. For example, ‘I went on holiday last month’.
Common English slang and idioms are useful to be able to recognise and understand in social situations, but are best avoided in formal situations as they can be inappropriate or even rude when used wrongly!
What are your tips for more effective learning? Share your ideas in the comments box!