Rose
Professional Teacher
What is the best way to learn a new language?

A student recently asked me this very common question. Here is my response. After reading, please respond with your opinion. What has worked for you?

 

The best way to learn a language is through immersion. Even if you don't live in an English-speaking country, you can surround yourself with English. Listen to spoken English on TV, radio and in movies as much as possible. Hearing the language in context will help your ear adjust to new sounds and rhythms of the language. It will help you learn more quickly, even if you don't understand anything to begin with. Have the radio on in English during all your free time so your ear can get used to the sound.

Read as much as possible and make note of new words. Practice 5-10 new word groups a week. Use flash cards, practice writing new words in sentences until you can remember them.

Write as much as you can, and have a native speaker make note of your most common mistakes to focus on. Practice grammar activities in online sites which provide instruction material and quizzes to test your understanding.

Find two or three native speakers and do a language exchange. Find some speaking topics and use the questions so you don't run out of ideas on what to talk about with your partner. (Google "I-TESL-J speaking topics")Practice speaking as much as you can, and make sure your partner corrects your most common grammar and pronunciation mistakes. Make note of them and practice them on your own.

In order to be successful, you should practice speaking for at least an hour at least three times a week. Of course, if you can, you should practice a lot more than that. That is the bare minimum. Think of how much time little children spend learning their first language. You should be doing the same thing.

Websites like http://www.esl-lab.com/index.htm, livemocha.com, duolingo.com, and lingq.com are great for personal practice.

Use your down-time wisely. Take an English book, podcast, or flashcards with you wherever you go. Whenever you have a minute or more of time when you would be just waiting or not doing anything, take it out and practice with it. All those one-minutes add up to a lot of time over a week or a month. You'll be surprised.


If it looks like a lot of work, it is because it is =) The more time you put into learning, the bigger your rewards will be. Don't give up! You can do it!

Jun 19, 2014 1:31 PM
Comments · 20

That's absolutely right! But there are one or two things I would mention too. Enjoy doing your English exercises and don't be afraid of making mistakes while practicing your speaking skills. 

July 19, 2014

I think immersion is key while also finding fun material and keeping up your motivation.

September 28, 2014

I totally agree with you. The most common excuse of my students is 'I don't have enough vocabulary and I feel insecure while speaking.' So I also suggest them to do what they love like listening to songs, playing fun games and speaking with someone in English. I think we need to avoid feeling bad and frustrated while struggling at first. It'll be faster to learn a foreign language if we keep trying.

September 27, 2014

You have to add after words "Don't give up! You can do it!" sentence "I believe in you!'

 

September 25, 2014

I think this should have been posted in the " articles " section

August 23, 2014
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