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How To Improve your English

10 months ago
Language learning takes a lot of time and even more patience, I should know, I speak 3 languages. Spanish, French and Swedish.
So what can we do to make language learning happen quicker?
I teach English at a University in Spain and over the years I noticed that my students weren't progressing as quickly as I thought they should.
So I developed a "Self Help Programme" for my students to keep in contact with English between classes allowing them to improve really quickly.
So lets get started!!!!!
Tip 1: Regular English Classes.
By having a regular "one to one" online class your teacher can keep motivated and focused on where you need to work a little bit extra.This could be grammar, listening etc.
Also by following learning method you can see how you advance.
Tip 2: Go Over What You Did In Class.
Review what you did in Class as soon as possible after the class finished so it's still fresh in your mind. Write down new vocabulary and make sentences with words that you think you could use and send them to your teacher who I'm sure is very happy to correct them. Be selective! If you don't use the word in your language than you are not likely to use it in English.
If you did a new grammar aspect and you're not 100% sure, have a look on internet for other explanations that may help. Also write sentences using the new grammar and send them to your teacher but always write sentences that are relevant to you.
Think about "Error Correction" from your teacher. It helps if you write it down during the class and go back to it after class and think about how you could correct it.
Tip 3: Word Pronunciation
Who really understands phonetics? I've found the best way for my students to learn how to pronounce new words is to hear them being spoken, but how can you do it at home?
http://www.wordreference.com/ is where you can hear real pronunciation on line in different accents, this is my favourite.
Tip 4: Record Yourself Speaking
Record yourself on your Smartphone, Computer or on a tape so that you can compare your pronunciation of words and sentences and the real pronunciation. It's very common that you don't think you have a "Pronunciation Problem" as you don't usually listen to yourself. It's a great way to spot where the problems are.
Tip 4: Learn New Vocabulary
Do you find yourself using the same words again and again. This is when you feel you're not making any progress and begin to feel less motivated. YOU NEED TO READ!!! I encourage my students to read articles on internet that they are interested in. It could be that you love rugby, so read about it, but try to mix with other subjects to get a variety of new vocabulary. It isn't a good idea to look up every new word in a dictionary, better to be selective. Words that repeat, words you think are important and try to use your initiative. I don't recommend books as they can be too long & use similar vocabulary throughout the book.
I recommend http://www.bbc.com/ to my students as there is a great variety on this page also https://www.theguardian.com/uk for more advanced students.
Tip 5: Routine
Get into a routine of bringing English into your daily life. Have a look at the News in the morning while you're having breakfast. You may like to watch it or listen to it on the radio.
On the bus home from work read something that you earlier downloaded onto your phone. You don't need to do something every day but the more contact with English the better.
Tip 6: Less Time More Frequency
Rather than spend all day reading, writing sentences for your teacher, listening to music etc etc you need to pace yourself.
15 minutes a day is much better than 6 hours on one day. If you do a little but often you won't get bored and you'll stay motivated.
Tip 7: Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Don't spend all day reading or working with grammar. You need to mix it up on the same day. Maybe some grammar work in the morning when you can and then in the evening listening to a song on https://lyricstraining.com/ where you can do a gap-fill exercise.
Tip 8: Watch English Series
From an early level B1 I encourage my students to STOP USING SUBTITLES! in your language or in English. Why?? You need to work with your listening which in turn helps improve your speaking. I know at the beginning it's difficult, but watch a series you have already seen in your language or with subtitles. You won't understand everything but the most important is that you follow the story and you enjoy it. It'll take a while but it is one of the best ways to improve your speaking. Obviously, the best is with your teacher but watching series is enjoyable and it works. One of the students speaks really really well, with an accent from New York, I asked him when he lived there. He told me that he had never been to New York. So I asked him how come he had an accent from NY, he told me that he loved watching the Series "Sopranos" which was set in New York and he had seen the whole series. Trust me, I can tell who watches series and who doesn't by their speaking. GOOD SPEAKERS OF ENGLISH WATCH SERIES.
Tip 9: Use Your Smart Phone
Put some Apps on your phone to help you keep in contact no matter where you are. As we saw earlier that Variety Is The Spice Of Life, so mix it up on your phone. Try the apps out if you don't use them get rid of them. I suggest one for grammar, one for the News, a Newspaper you like, etc etc, basically anything you like that you are going to look at regularly.
Tip 10: Podcasts
A podcast is an audio program, like a radio show, that is posted on the Internet for you to download and listen to via your computer, tablet or Smartphone. So if you don't have internet on your phone you can still use the podcast as you can download them to your phone. You can listen to stories, sport, programmes, etc etc. They really are great to listen to when you go for a walk or in the gym, on a train, plane etc.
Well, I hope you put some of these tips into your daily routine if you do you'll find your English taking off. Enjoy...