One of the most common questions I get asked as an English Language teacher, is what students can do to help get ahead and improve their fluency in English. When I was teaching face-to-face before the pandemic, I noticed two types of students in my classes: those who just turned up and only answered when called upon; and those who did the homework tasks I set and spoke only English in class, no matter how many mistakes they made. I’m sure you can guess which type of student improved faster?
Practice is the key: feeling confident to just use the language as much as possible and not be afraid of making mistakes. Native speakers are very tolerant and really do appreciate learners trying to speak their language, even if they’re not so great to begin with! It shows a respect for culture which is highly valued.
Apart from speaking the language as much as possible, there are four other tips that ESL students can follow which are guaranteed to help them improve their English!
Immerse Yourself in the Language: Surround yourself with English as much as possible. Engage in conversations with native speakers, watch movies or TV shows in English, listen to English music, and read books or articles in English. This immersive experience will enhance your language skills and help you adapt to the language more quickly. In Australia, both the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) produce programs about places, people and cultures from all over the world. Foreign language programs will have English subtitles and English programs will often have the option for subtitles in your language if you’re watching from a Smart TV. You can also stream both these TV stations and ABC has a national radio service with programs in many foreign languages as well.
Build Vocabulary: English has a vast vocabulary, so it’s essential to continuously expand your word bank. Set aside time each day to learn new words and their usage. Use flashcards, vocabulary apps, or online resources to help you memorize and practice using new words in context. At Voyager School, our English language courses use video to teach and practice concepts learned, online quizzes for students to test their understanding, plus downloadable worksheets (for most lessons) that students can print out and complete. There are always answers provided.
Develop Strong Reading and Writing Skills: Reading and writing are vital aspects of English education. Read a variety of materials such as newspapers, magazines, and books to improve your reading comprehension and vocabulary. Additionally, practice writing in English regularly by journaling, blogging, or participating in online forums. Seek feedback from teachers or native speakers to enhance your writing skills. Our IGCSE ESL exam prep course contains practice exam questions which are marked by qualified teachers – included in the monthly membership subscription!
Seek Support and Resources: Take advantage of the support and resources available to international students. Many universities have writing centers, language labs, or tutoring services dedicated to assisting non-native English speakers. Attend workshops or language courses specifically designed for international students to improve your English language skills and gain academic support. At Voyager School, we’re always here to lend support and advice about any of our courses.
Remember, learning a new language takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and stay motivated! By following these tips and dedicating consistent practice, you’ll improve your English skills and excel in your English education.