No one wants to take it slow and learn English step by step. Human nature works this way, and we’re naturally curious and impatient. A whole year may seem like an eternity, but it’s never a good idea to rush the process that needs caution and dedication.
My experience taught me that rushed knowledge never sticks for good.
Looking back, I think about how different my life would be if I hadn’t encountered so many indirect English teachers. I’ve been studying English with an unusual approach my whole life and didn’t even realize it. Now it’s your turn to follow a noble path of learning a second (third, fourth, etc.) language.
Set a goal and create a plan
You can never be too careful, especially when you’re trying to improve your skills. The language learning process needs to be regular, and you need to stick to the steps and guidelines.
It needs to be realistic. Don’t look forward to something unimaginable, like implementing new words in English as Shakespeare did (although that’s entirely possible today).
Start by indicating small goals. Adopt a journal where you will be tracking your goals, plan, and development.
The plan needs to be sensible.
- Don’t make it too hard, because your mind won’t be able to take so much and it will quit on you soon.
- Don’t make it too easy, because you won’t see any progress.
Plan regular sessions with yourself. Create a space that you will call a classroom. Call it a one hour lesson and add not only books but the videos, video games, TV shows, crosswords and other.
Practice makes perfect. I love to repeat this phrase in my training to let the students know that regularity does the work and the struggle is worth it.
Imagine you want to lose weight. One push up or one healthy meal won’t do the trick. Everyone knows that weight loss requires dedication, consistency, and time.
Use that same principle while learning a new language. You can ram the words in your head to learn vocabulary, but nothing learned that fast would stay in your head. Make your sessions regular, and practice English every day, even for 30 minutes.
Make your surroundings speak English
You might think it’s a rhetorical guide, but you can make everything surrounding you (computer, smartphone, books, manuals, electronics, etc.) speak English.
I would use to set my favorite action game on my smartphone in German to learn different phrases and words while doing what I loved. That’s how you trick your mind.
- Watch your favourite TV shows like Game of Thrones, Chernobyl, How I Met Your Mother and others in English. Don’t go for the dubbed version.
- Read the signs you meet in the streets in English, repeat them to yourself.
- Browse English-based forums and meme pages when getting ready for bed.
Implement popular teaching methods
Deliberate practice means improving some of your skills by repeating them and testing your development over and over again.
I noticed that this technique especially helps me to learn new phrases.
Have you ever noticed that you know all the lyrics to your favourite songs? It happens because of deliberate practice — you listen to these songs over and over again.
Practice on your weakest points and repeat them until you realize that your knowledge is firm.
Write your way through fluency
Do you know how I managed to survive four years of tough studying at the university? I wrote my way to graduation. I wrote down what I couldn’t remember, what I couldn’t understand, and I managed to learn them by giving the material visual form.
Practice English with the others
Join communities and forums like English Forward to actively communicate with the others. It will help you further develop your vocabulary, communication skills and even give you a chance to meet someone interesting.
Talk to yourself in English
Hearing your English will help you become fluent. Speak out loud, say whatever you want just say it in English.
Want to know a fun way I learned to speak better English? I would create a cooking show when I was alone and cooking for myself. Take my example and make your favorite action a TV show. Explain everything to your “audience”, show them how you prepare food (draw something, read something, etc.) and practice on someone who won’t be able to judge you.
You have a whole year ahead of you!
A whole year of possibilities is yet to come, and you have so much to learn. But don’t be afraid. Communities and friends can help you achieve your goals and make it more fun.
Marita is a Copywriter and Content editor with four years of experience in digital marketing. She’s a freelancer from the heart and enjoys consulting other freelancers. She’s doing online tutoring to teach others English, Georgian and Russian, and very much loves to spend her free time learning other languages.