Please include tips and website to use.
THE BEST WAYS TO LEARN ENGLISH GRAMMAR (OR ENGLISH IN GENERAL)
When ESL students think about studying English, they usually believe they must read lots of boring books, learn a lot of vocabulary words that they will probably never use in their lives, and stay up until the early morning so that they can become “good students”. I’m here to tell you that this may work only for some, but many of my previous students complain that they begin to feel like robots. I felt the same when studying Chinese at university, and began using different techniques in order to really enjoy, appreciate, and love the language I was learning.
Studying a boring book for many hours will turn you into Mr. Boring.
Don’t let this be you.
Like any good meal, you need spices. Making your lessons exciting and interesting are like adding the right amount of salt, pepper, and oregano to your dinner. When people work out, some prefer routines in the gym, and others prefer to establish a routine that doesn’t feel like a workout. By doing so, you can avoid brain drain and progress faster in your studies.
Here are some tips and great ways to pick up a language:
1. PUT DOWN THE BOOK, AND BACK AWAY SLOWLY! I often feel terrible when studying for long hours at a time, unless it is something interesting. If you feel the same, it’s probably because you have been staring at black and white pages for over five hours, which usually hurts your eyes. The average person can only pay attention to something for 8 minutes before losing focus. For children, it’s half that time, so keep this in mind when you teach a lesson, or study a chapter. Your brain is already somewhere else after 15 minutes, and much faster if you have just finished a long, hard day at work.
Don’t let this be your daily routine. On the other hand, Ikea will love you for it.
I recommend finding an interactive lesson that will make things more exciting. I personally am a fan of video games, so I use online materials. On my laptop, smartphone, and tablet, I use Babbel and Livemocha. It has a wonderful interactive display that allows me to talk, match words, and test my knowledge, which helps me to remember everything that I’ve learned. There are other apps you can use, but I prefer the free ones, and I also recommend using apps like Feedly, Delicious, or TuneIn Radio to listen to all of your favorite songs, audiobooks and news.
This also allows me to learn wherever I go, so there’s no need to set a time every day in order to study. Teachers normally recommend learning a language frequently, in 10-20 minute sessions, which is better than studying one thing for hours, which is why I like Babbel’s new software. I also personally hate routines unless it is necessary, so when studying a language, I prefer to do it freely. I can study on the bus, subway, while walking, and in a coffee shop. It’s doing wonders for my Italian, which is still terrible, but I have finally had my first conversation after only two weeks of studying.
2. DON’T DO EVERYTHING ALONE!
They say that, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and certainly, just one person didn’t build it. You need people that can help you achieve the level you want, and it’s probably the reason why you decided to spend time and money with an English teacher. Don’t be “that guy” who learns English, spends half of his money on lessons, and forgets everything because he didn’t use it outside of his classes. Language in a work in progress, and in this case, it means you have to work if you want to make progress.
Use what you’ve learned. Otherwise, you will make a very expensive mistake.
It is important, very important, that you find groups of people that speak the language you are learning to help you. They can help you understand the parts of speech, grammar, teach you words you won’t find in a dictionary, and help correct your speaking and listening as you go. Listening is one of the most important parts of the “Big Four” parts of language learning (Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Pronunciation) and there’s no way to use a language if other people sound like they’re speaking an alien language to you. By doing this, you can avoid the trap of learning in a vacuum, meaning, by yourself, without much understanding of dialect or context.
Besides, it’s a great way to meet new friends that can teach you much more than just language. They can teach you culture, etiquette, and can introduce you to more friends. They are also willing to learn things about your culture and language as well. You may find your next job and connect with CEOs (we call it networking) who can assist your career. Besides, many people tell foreigners that it is also a good way to meet a girlfriend or boyfriend. If you’re looking for that special person, then go for it.
3. GET OUT THERE AND EXPLORE!
After you have gained enough confidence to speak basic or intermediate English, it is important to USE it. I always explain to students that it is more important to develop fluency than accuracy. People will still understand you, even if your sentence is not completely correct.
Nobody’s perfect. Even if you’re not fluent, you can still get the job done.
Grab the nearest paper or online forum of your city for events in your city and make yourself known! Join cultural events, join organizations like InterNations where you can meet other expats, and go to sporting events. Take martial arts classes. Learn how to paint. Do whatever you can to mix language learning with something that you are passionate about, because this is the key to using language. You will learn much faster if you are happy with your activities.
Remember these three things guys, and most importantly, learning is neither a journey nor a destination. It is YOU, and how you choose to express yourself. You will learn much more than grammar when you appreciate the art of communication. Like working out, you can’t just stop when you finally become healthy. STAY healthy, and have fun while you’re doing it.