Thursday, February 14, 2008

Five Top Tips for Learning English as a Foreign or Second Language


There are Many Ways
While there are almost as many combinations of ways to learn English as there are English language learners, one thing is for sure. That is that no single method or combination of techniques or methods is “best” for everybody. With that said, I’d like to offer you these top ten tips for learning English as a foreign or second language.

1. Immerse yourself in English whenever possible
If you’re trying to learn English while still living in a non-English speaking country or foreign environment, you’re already a bit “handicapped”. You need to try to surround and immerse yourself in English as often and as much as possible through music, TV, radio, videos, friends and whatever else you can.

2. Talk with other English speakers
Where are the English-speakers where you live? Where might English-speaking ex-pats “hang out”? Where ever and whenever you can seek out English speakers and engage them in conversations. Loin clubs, organizations or attend meeting and social gatherings where English speakers congregate or might be found.

3. Practice in some way each and every day
However you can manage to do it, you absolutely MUST practice everyday. You can easily use a wide variety of methods to accomplish this. Watch a video or television program in English. Listen to music on the radio, talk shows or news in English too. You can chat with an English speaker, native or not. Read the news, sports results or celebrity gossip online in English. Slide into an English language chat room or forum of interest to you, in English, of course.

4. Develop a Taste for the Culture
It’s almost impossible to separate language from culture, so use it to deepen you knowledge, skills and understanding of the English language. Do you know how to play baseball? How about hockey or Cricket? Well then, how’s your knowledge of Lacrosse, American football or even basketball for that matter? Are familiar with regional foods of the USA, Canada, the UK or Australia and New Zealand? Boning up on the culture will invariably get you to learn more English in context using content-based learning.

5. Don’t Emphasize Just One Skill
Contrary to what some schools, institutes and English language teachers advise, I don’t recommend “focusing on one particular” English language skill. When you practice speaking or reading aloud, your listening comprehension skills improve. If you listen and repeat a spoken discourse selection, your speech in English will also improve – sometimes dramatically in a relatively short time. Reading will improve writing skills and writing practice will aid your reading comprehension abilities.

Use These Tips
Use these tips to help springboard your English language learning efforts and you’ll soon begin to notice an increase in your communicative abilities. If you have any further questions, problems or need an additional “boost” just drop me a quick e-mail. I’ll be happy to help.


For some of my greatest tips, tricks and techniques for quickly and easily learning virtually any of the world's 6912 living languages just go to:
http://www.escapeartist.com/e_Books/Learn_a_Foreign_Language/Learn_a_Foreign_Language.html

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to lynchlarrym@gmail.com with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? Contact the author by e-mail for a prompt response.

6 comments:

Amanda Arana Mendoza said...

I've great your tips to teach. It's true that there is no a single method to do it.
I must use the tips not only for students, but also to improve my communicative skills.
I'll take advantage of our classes to talk more English.
Now I realize I've emphasized reading and iths been a big mistake.
Here there are not frquently opportunity to talk to native English speakers but virtual wordl gives a lot of ways to do it.
I'll ask for the free interesting book.
Thanks a lot.

Julio said...

I find your tips most interesting and especially useful for the setting most of our students live in since they have almost no chance to use the language outside the classrooms. With this information I confirm I am on the right track of what I am doing in my classes and know for sure that my students will continue to benefit from the new experiences and knowledge acquired during the course of this specialization.
Also, I have always believed that learning a language requires a lot of dedication and time if you want to succeed in it, for which I will continue encouraging my students to take more initiative and start using some of the strategies you propose.

claudia arce said...

I‘ve read your tips to teach. Its right there isn’t a single method to teach English o other language. I think it’s necessary apply these tips with my students and me too. With this information I realize to improve the English level, it’s necessary to practice speaking with the people what you are sharing your daily life: students, classmates and family.
Also I consider that learning a language must use four abilities: speaking, listening, reading and writing but it requires lot of dedication.
Although we are in a country where there aren’t often the opportunity to communicative to native English speakers so that must try to practice the English through music, TV, radio, videos, or friends.
Therefore I’ll apply your tips with my students and in my daily life

Gladys Arboleda said...

About the tips you provide us for improving our English, I agree when you express that it is very important to focus on the four skills. When we work on one skill it is true that we develop the other ones at the same time, probably in an unaware way, where listening comprehension is linked with speaking and reading with writing practices are related also. About the methods or techniques, I think we have to choose the one more confident for our interests and needs, but especially immersing in an English environment as possible as we can. If we live in an English country, no less than a year, we probably get better opportunities of fluency and proficiency in the language, from than others that don’t have this opportunity. Personally, I haven’t had this possibility, but I try to surround and immerse from myself in an English environment, as you have advised, for example, listen to music, and see videos and movies in English. Other important practice in this process I put in practice, is trying to speak everyday with two bilingual students I have in class and reading articles from internet. In conclusion, as much as possible as we can, it is very important, necessary and outstanding to state the proper and suitable time to practice English language emphasizing in the four skills.

Gladys Arboleda said...

Gladys Arboleda: About the tips you provide us for improving our English, I agree when you express that it is very important to focus on the four skills. When we work on one skill it is true that we develop the other ones at the same time, probably in an unaware way, where listening comprehension is linked with speaking and reading with writing practices are related also. About the methods or techniques, I think we have to choose the one more confident for our interests and needs, but especially immersing in an English environment as possible as we can. If we live in an English country, no less than a year, we probably get better opportunities of fluency and proficiency in the language, from than others that don’t have this opportunity. Personally, I haven’t had this possibility, but I try to surround and immerse from myself in an English environment, as you have advised, for example, listen to music, and see videos and movies in English. Other important practice in this process I put in practice, is trying to speak everyday with two bilingual students I have in class and reading articles from internet. In conclusion, as much as possible as we can, it is very important, necessary and outstanding to state the proper and suitable time to practice English language emphasizing in the four skills.

Larry said...

Providing an "English-Only" environment can actually be much easier than you might imagine. With the radio or CD player, have music and songs in English only. Post signs, notes and written material on walls and objects around the room, etc. Play videos, movies and other audio-visual materials in English only - with NO subtitles if that's possible. Read newspapers, magazines and websites that are in English. Get your news from CNN in English if available. Try to talk on the phone with friends, classmates and others in English only whenever possible. These suggestions are only a starter, you'll come up with many more if you just put your mind to it - and, Voila! an English-Only environment will soon surround you. Please see my article post on this topic.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch