Here are ten tips that I've learned about how to learn a language. I learned these tips from my time living in Latin America when I learned Spanish the uphill way, without a teacher and with total immersion. I wish I had had a Verbling teacher back then! Hopefully these tips will help you out in addition to your Verbling teacher, so here they are:
Can you do impressions of people? Listen to the tone and rhythm of how an English speaker says "Hi, how ya doin?" or "Lemme see that" or "Just gimme a second" Try to imitate them. Even getting that one phrase in the perfect tone and rhythm will make a huge difference in the way you speak! And it's fun.
Stop and take notes. Write down phrases and words you hear. Pause the TV show or movie you are watching to write down something new you learned. (Subtitles in English are great for this-- you can copy word for word.) Make a vocabulary and phrase list and put it on your wall next to your mirror. Think about the words and repeat them. Don't be scared to be a nerd and take notes!
~Give yourself Massive Exposure to English
Massive exposure means daily, diverse exposure to a language. Combine your Verbling classes with music in English, TV, movies, podcasts, articles, books and having conversations as often as possible. Ask your Verbling teacher for good recommendations. Massive exposure to English over time leads to being fluent in English.
Instead of saying "I'm not good at English," or "I don't speak English," say, "I am still learning English." The person you are talking to has a better chance of slowing down and engaging you in conversation. If you say you can't speak English, you might lose the chance to practice in a new situation.
~Listen When People Correct You (or when they repeat what you said using different words.)
I know. It sucks to get corrected. It's a blow to the ego. It's even rude in many cases. But if you can turn that attitude around and listen carefully to how an English speaker corrected you or repeated what you said in simpler words, you can learn from that moment. Breathe. Take it as a lesson, and say it the simpler way next time.
~Do One Thing a Day that Scares You
In life and in language learning, do one thing a day that scares you. If you are shy, choose one thing a day to break through the shyness. Have the conversation with the barista at the coffee shop. Ask a stranger for directions. Ask someone to repeat what they said if you don't understand. Join a group at meetup.com or a gym and talk to the people there. Talk to the cashier at the grocery store. There are opportunities to speak English everywhere if you take them. You didn't need that fear anyway.
~If You Want to Talk, Listen.
Speaking is the active skill connected to the passive skill of listening. You can't speak if you don't listen. So tune in when people around you are speaking. Pay close attention to what they say and exactly how they say it. Get the sound of English stuck in your head like a song gets stuck in your head. Listen if you want to become a good speaker.
~If You Want to Write, Read.
Writing is the active skill connected to the passive skill of reading. You can't write if you don't read. So read the news, read articles, essays, stories, poems or a good book if you want to become a good writer.
~Be Patient, Be Constant.
It won't happen quickly, and you might not even notice it happening at all, but if you keep up on daily practice and exposure to English over weeks, months, and years, you WILL become fluent. But it won't happen tomorrow. You have to be patient and constant.
Don't do boring things if you aren't enjoying yourself. If reading grammar textbooks is too boring for you, read a romance novel or an empowerment book instead. Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening are all ultimately fun activities, so you make sure you are enjoying yourself as you do them! You are 100% more likely to stick with your language learning plan if it's something you enjoy.
Remember, you WILL be fluent. Enjoy the road on the way to get there.