Learning a second language can be a challenging yet hugely rewarding task.
After our early childhood, the majority of the neural pathways in our brain have already been formed.
In order to ensure you get the most out of your English language studies, you need to make sure you are employing effective studying techniques both inside and outside of the classroom.
Studying inside the classroom is fairly straightforward as you will be guided by your teacher, tutor or lecturer.
But today, we want to talk about what happens as soon as you leave the classroom.
What techniques, skills, or activities can you employ that will help you gain a better understanding of English, particularly conversational English?
It’s not necessary to pull out your textbook and bury your nose every minute of the day. In fact there are a ton of ways you can learn English outside the classroom – ways which won’t even feel like learning!
There are a lot of helpful tips and techniques to help you learn English that you might not use so much in the classroom.
Learning English comes down to more than poring over your textbooks. You need to learn to use the knowledge you have in everyday situations and apply what you know to your life.
Are you studying English? Find a study buddy to learn with!
The best thing you can do when you are learning a second language is to find yourself a friend who speaks the language.
The more time you spend with them, the better you will become at understanding and speaking English.
You can grab dinner, go for a walk together, get a coffee or just hang out.
All you need to do is take advantage of the knowledge your friend has of the language you are trying to learn.
The good news is that if you are studying English courses, Melbourne and Brisbane are both full of people whose first language is English.
There are so many people around who you can befriend. All you need to do is take advantage of the knowledge they have had their entire life.
The best way to do this is to make a rule that you can only speak English to one another. This is a really great way for you to start enunciating properly and to find out where the gaps in your own knowledge are.
As the conversation flows you will very often learn words and phrases that you weren’t previously familiar with.
You’ll even learn funny sayings that you might not ever hear in the classroom!
Here are some questions you can ask your English-speaking friend:
- What does “_____” mean?
- Sorry, can you please repeat that?
- Sorry, I don;t understand what you said
- Can you please speak a little slower?
Another great alternative is to buddy up with a fellow classmate, and when you’re together outside of class, make a rule that all your conversation has to be in English.
Stuck? That’s OK – do what you need to do to say or understand a certain phrase, and try to learn from it. Practice, practice, practice
Learn English by watching movies
It is amazing how much you can learn from watching a movie you love in the language you are trying to learn.
It’s worth noting that when you start out with this technique, you might like to choose a movie that you know well.
This is because you will be able to remember a lot of the lines on your own: when the main character says their iconic opening line in English, it’s likely you’ll know from memory what they are saying in your own language.
In the beginning, you might also find it a little easier to switch on the English subtitles, too, as you develop your listening skills.
This is a really good way to pick up on the grammatical differences between your own language and English. It will help you to become familiar with when to use determiners like ‘the’ and ‘a’.
You will start to understand the correct order of words in English, which is often different to other languages.
One of the key benefits of using this technique to learn English is that it will greatly enhance your listening skills: not only will you be able to read and speak English, but once the subtitles are switched off, you will also improve your ability to interpret and understand English aurally.
Practice English by reading out loud
It’s not enough to simply read words, learn spelling, and nurture your listening skills.
You’ll also want to perfect your pronunciation! What better way to do that then by reading out loud?
Whether it’s a glossy magazine on a topic of your interest or a book that you’ve already read in your native language, reading out loud will not only help you master tricky pronunciation, but will also help you learn and recognise sentence structure.
Reading provides the opportunity to practice English regularly, and at your own pace.
Go out and practice the language in the real world!
Go to a restaurant and practice placing your order.
Go to the movies and purchase your ticket and snacks.
Take a guided tour (in English!).
Ask shop assistants about items of clothing, sizes, and colours.
Whatever you do, try to incorporate the language into your day-to-day activities.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Above all, ensure you make learning English fun!
Sure, there will be times where you feel frustrated that you can’t think of a word or used the wrong pronoun, but at the end of the day, you’ll make mistakes – they’re an inevitable part of the learning process!
Making mistakes and learning from them will do wonders when it comes to building your confidence in a second language.
Enrol in Academia’s English courses in Melbourne and Brisbane
Academia provides a variety English courses in Melbourne and Brisbane to suit students’ various needs.
Our English courses are endorsed by NEAS (National English Language Testing Accreditation Scheme) and provide both academic English courses as well as classes for those planning to sit the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
Click here to discover why you should study English with Academia or explore our website for further information on our three English courses.
If you have any more questions or want to chat to a friendly career advisor, fill in this form or give us a call on one of the numbers below.