10 Ways to Improve Your English, From an English Teacher

Alex Case has worked as an English teacher and teacher trainer all around the world. He has also published English teaching books, articles and materials for all levels of learners. And now he offers all students a top 10 list of ways to improve your English:

1. Label things in your house or office with post-its

When learning English, the easiest vocabulary to learn is the vocabulary of things you see and use everyday. If you can write the names of things around you on slips of paper and stick them on the real thing, this is a great way of learning useful vocabulary. If you can leave them there over the following days and weeks, this is a very easy way of revising the vocabulary until it is properly learnt.

2. Listen to English music

Even listening to music while doing something else can help a little for things like getting used to the natural rhythm and tone of English speech. Although the more time and attention you give to a song the more you will learn from listening to it again in the future.

3. Sign up for a regular English tip

Some websites offer a weekly or even daily short English lesson sent to your email account. If your mobile phone has an e-mail address, it is also possible to have the tips sent to your phone to read on the way to work or school. Please note, however, that such services are not usually graded very well to the levels of different students. They should be used as a little added extra or revision in your English studies rather than as a replacement for something you or your teacher have chosen more carefully as what you need to learn.

4. Read English language entertainment guides

Nowadays most big cities in the world have an English language magazine and/or online guide to the movies, plays, exhibitions that are on in the city that week. Reading this in English is not only good value, but it could also guide you to places that English speakers are interested in and where you might hear some English spoken around you.

5. Have English radio on, while you are doing your housework

Even if you are not listening carefully, it will help you get a feel for natural English rhythm and intonation and help you in learning English.

6. Say or think what you are doing in English as you do your daily tasks

As you are doing your chores, try creating sentences describing what you are doing, e.g. ‘I am unscrewing the ketchup bottle cap’. This gets you used to thinking in English without translating and can be a good way of seeing what simple vocabulary that is around you every day you don’t know. 

7. Keep a list of language to learn (e.g. a vocabulary list)

Even if you don’t often find time to go through your vocab list and it keeps on building up, just the act of choosing which words you need to learn and writing them down on a special list can help you learn them.

8. Learn as many words as you can of one category (e.g. animal words)

Learning English words thematically together can both expand your overall vocabulary and make them easier to learn by forming links between the words in your brain.

9. Occasionally talk to or email your friends in English

Many people find this a bit false or embarrassing, but if you think of it as a study club or a learning English club and set a particular time or place, it is no different from studying maths together.

10. Set goals

Deciding how many hours you want to study, how many words you want to learn or what score you want to get in a test are all good ways of making sure you do extra study.

These are just 10 of Alex’s 70 ways to improve your English. Read the full list on UsingEnglish.com.

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