How to Improve English Language Proficiency
Being a good student and going to class is essential, but it is also important to enjoy English activities outside of the classroom.
This is especially important during school breaks. As teachers, we need to encourage students to find something they like to do in English.
Before holidays, I ask students to look at the following list and choose a new method to study English over the break.
On the first day back, I ask them to give a mini-presentation, around 2 minutes, on what they did over the break to study English.
This assignment has motivated my students to keep up their English during the break and to think about English as a means of communication rather than a subject that is only studied in school.
They also enjoy listening to each other's ideas when they return to class.
10 Ways to Study English Outside the Classroom
1. Go Online
There are so many resources online in English. If you are interested in travel, then read about places to travel. If you like comics, or anime, find English language websites next time you want to read one. Whatever your interest, you just need to do a search and look at the English websites.
2. Join an English Conversation group
Check local listings for English-speaking groups in your area. If there are not any, then start your own group. English-speaking groups meet on a regular basis (e.g., every day for thirty minutes after school or after lunch) and have discussions only in English.
Speaking with others helps to practice all the English you have previously learned and improves overall speaking skills.
3. Watch English TV programs or movies
Watching TV programs and movies is a good way to practice listening skills and to get to know more about the culture of English speaking countries. If you have a video, try stopping every few minutes and summarizing what you see.
4. Listen to English Songs
The words to songs or lyrics can be found online. Listen to your favorite songs while reading the lyrics to improve listening. Try summarizing the song to help with comprehension.
5. Listen to English books on CD
Many popular books can now be found on audio CDs. Put the CD on your MP3 player and listen while walking or taking public transportation. Put the CD in your car and listen while driving.
6. Listen to the Radio
In every country, there are English language broadcasts. Find out the English stations in your area and actively listen to the broadcasts.
7. Read English Books
Reading English books helps to visualize authentic vocabulary and grammar. Read a chapter underlining words or phrases you do not understand. Then, after you finish reading, go back and look up unknown words in the dictionary. Reading can also help you understand the culture of English-speaking countries.
8. Read Magazines
Reading magazines helps to learn contemporary phrases and expressions. Magazines can be more exciting if you are interested in pop culture such as fashion, food, or sports.
9. Read Newspapers
Reading newspapers helps to keep you up to date with events that are happening around the world. High quality newspapers such as the New York Times or the Guardian are good for learning new vocabulary and expressions. Try reading the story and then summarizing it for practice.
10. Keep an English Journal
Have a notebook reserved only for English writing and challenge yourself to write for 15 minutes every day. English Journals are good to help improve your vocabulary and to keep a list of expressions that you would like to use.
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