Learn English

By David Boughton

Learning a language is the same as any other skill; it takes practice, dedication, and the necessary tools to be successful. It is a memory skill, and must be constantly practiced. The trick is to find opportunities to apply your knowledge. Below are some ideas that can help you learn English quickly and effectively.
Being an Active Student

The first thing to do is take full advantage of the resources you have and the devices you are using to learn the language. For many this includes English classes. To take advantage of these classes, you must be an active student. Always be prepared for class and ready to learn. Do all the homework and have questions ready for your teacher.
Investigating the topic before class is another good way to be prepared. When a class is reinforcing what you have already seen, the information will be much easier to understand.
Preparing for class also includes being mentally focused with an open mind. If you are preoccupied with something else, such as work, then you are not ready to learn.
You need to take advantage of everything your class offers. Be sure to ask questions when you do not understand, or even when you do. Make sure to confirm with your teacher that you have understood the information. Also, do not be afraid to ask for extra practice or exercises from your teacher.
Finding Time to Practice

Immersing yourself in an English speaking environment is the best way to learn, but of course this is not possible for everyone. Many people who are learning English are living in non-English speaking countries. However, it is possible to surround yourself in your own English speaking world. Think and speak in English even if it is only with yourself. Use every spare moment you have to practice your pronunciation. Do you sing in the shower? Well, now you can sing in English. Likewise, you can use the time waiting for the bus, getting ready for work, or even walking to practice your English. You will allow your tongue and mouth to practice the sounds, which will make you more comfortable with the language. Try and think of new ideas in English and have a conversation with yourself. If you don't know how to say a sentence, then you have found something you need to learn.
Use the new vocabulary you learn. Even if it is only with yourself, find examples to use new grammar or vocabulary. If "traffic light" is your new vocabulary word, then you can say it to yourself every time you see one. This will get these new vocabulary words into your long-term memory.
Try to learn a new word every day. Trying to learn too much vocabulary will only make you forget everything. The goal is to learn a few words at a time, but to learn them properly and permanently. Remember the idea is to try and get these words into your long-term memory.
Take advantage of the world around you
There are many resources around you that can be both enjoyable and help you improve your language skills.

Movies and television provide a great opportunity to improve your listening skills. They also help you with your pronunciation and conversational English. Most English classes and textbooks do not have enough conversational English, and movies and television are a great way to learn this skill.

Books reinforce grammar and vocabulary lessons. They are an excellent way to review everything you have learned. They will also help you improve your writing and your formal conversation. By reading books, you see several correctly used phrases and sentences, which you can then turn into useful conversation and writing. Also, magazines and newspapers are very helpful to build your vocabulary.
One important tip is to read out loud. This will help you with more skills than simple reading. While you are reading you will also be practising your speaking and your listening. Therefore, you are using two more important language skills.

Music also improves your informal English, and is a fun way to practice listening skills.
Overall, entertainment can be an easy and fun way to practice English. It is something that you can do without stress, or without worrying about studying. Simply watch, listen, or read, and that is all you need to do. Although you may not often understand, subconsciously you are retaining the language.

One of the biggest problems with language students is that they lack the confidence to practice. Don't be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes are what help you learn. Use every chance you have to improve your speaking. The more you talk, the better you will speak. Like any activity, your muscles and brain need to adjust to the new movements, and practice is the only way to do this.
There are many opportunities to speak; you only need to find them. When you are traveling find any opportunity you can to practice your speaking. Or practice with a friend who is also trying to learn English. It is amazing how much you can help each other.
Do not be afraid to use your English knowledge in your office, at school, in the street, or anywhere. Always remember that you are responsible to keep up your speaking.
Just as it is important to practice your speaking, you must also practice your writing. You can do this by extra homework, or simply by writing anything. Write about your weekend, or about a movie you saw. Try writing about the past, future, and present, to practice all the grammar you know. Have your teacher or someone else check your work to correct your mistakes. This is a great way to improve your English.
Learning English is a difficult and time consuming adventure. Therefore, it is important to maximize your time and your efforts in order to learn effectively. By using some of the ideas above you can begin to learn English much more quickly.
David Boughton is the director of an English language school and founder of http://www.learnenglish-online.com/.

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