Kraboo top tips for learning English
We are asked many times what’s the best way to learn English. The internet is awash with tips from 1000’s of websites, and if you take the time to read them they are pretty much saying the same thing in all of them. Our top tips for learning English may or may not be the same, but this is what we promote to our students. In no particular order here is our list.
Newspapers, websites, blogs, books, magazines etc etc etc. There is so much reading literature on the web or to hand that the mind boggles at how much there actually is. Reading is a fantastic way of learning English. It is done at your pace, and allows you to enhance your knowledge of other subjects. If you own the book, magazine or newspaper, we suggest, you should highlight or underline any words or phrases you don’t understand. This will help you identify them again so you can look them up in a dictionary.
Listen to native speakers, yeah we know its obvious but you would be surprised how many don’t actually use listening as a tool when learning. English has many different sounds, tone changes etc. By listening to a native English speaker it could help you get a better feel for some of the sounds. Listen to English music, podcasts audio books etc, all of these will help you understand English better.
Watch everything, if your really serious about learning English and being able to communicate in English well, then this tip is mandatory. As with listening, believe it or not, we want you to watch native speakers speak. It could be your teacher or a friend. Watch the mouth area, watch the shape they form with their mouth to say words, but try not to make them uncomfortable by staring at them like a crazy person. But seriously, watch them speak. Watch English tv shows, music videos, movies etc but try it with out subtitles. This will help you concentrate more on what they are saying. If your having trouble understanding them then put on the subtitles if you can, but do this with English subtitles.
4. Practice practice practice
OK! so this sounds obvious we agree, but you would be surprised at the amount of students we teach that only use English in the classroom. When you finish your English lessons, don’t just walk out and immediately speak in your own native language, you must practice with someone. That someone could be a classmate or a teacher. Keep practising for as long as you can, it will help with your retention of what you have just learnt.
How did people like Jack Ma (founder of Alibaba) learn his English? Through determination and practice, he used to cycle for 40 minutes from his home to a hotel where he knew tourists would be, so he could practice with them. He did this for 8 years.
If your serious about learning English then practice, practice and practice some more.
When learning new sounds, practice in front of a mirror. Firstly, it helps you not get embarrassed by making weird and wonderful sounds in front of your friends. Secondly, you will be able to see your mouth shape. Is it the same as your teachers was when they did it?
5. Ask questions
Asking questions is super important for learning English. If you don’t understand something then ask. As teachers we always ask at various points of a lesson, ‘Does anyone have any questions?’ Don’t be afraid to stick up your hand and ask. English is hard to learn. It has more rules than most people know. Even native speakers don’t know what some words mean, let alone spell them. So, please ask questions.
6. Go abroad
Now this may not be feasible for everyone, but if you get a chance to go and study in English speaking country, then do it. This is one of the best ways to become fluent in English. You get the chance to fully immerse yourself in to the language and even the culture.
7. Don’t translate everything
As teachers one of the most frustrating things we see is students using mobile phone apps or computer aided translation software. Whilst we love these programs, they aren’t always correct. For example, translating Thai into English can be especially tricky and even more so for a computer. It mostly produces incoherent sentences which need translating themselves.
Too many times we have read work, or listened to students who have used translation software to do the work for them. We hear and read incorrect grammar, spellings and so on constantly when students are using these platforms.
8. No one is perfect
No matter who you are, you will make mistakes. Even us as English teachers make mistakes. The key here is to learn from them, admit them and avoid them later. We see many students who start well, but when they make a mistake, they become quiet or disinterested in the lesson. well, what we say is, “DON’T”. We all make mistakes, we can all get a little embarrassed from time to time, but what we need to do is remain positive and learn from our mistakes. Don’t allow a silly mistake to dent your confidence.
For some, being confident is easy, for others, not so easy. The only way to become more confident in using English is following these tips and believing in yourself. We as English speakers, actually love it when some speaks to us in our language, or asks us how to say something, or like the Jack Ma story, use us to practice in general. Not only does this help with your confidence, you are getting the chance to speak and listen to live people from different parts of the world with different accents. We are human, and as humans we make mistakes, if you accept this then you will become more confident.
10. Be motivated
Nothing is better than being motivated. Sometimes you have to sit down and think why? Why am I learning English? What will I get from it? Will it enhance or improve my life? These are just some of the questions you should ask to help motivate yourself. Our view is this, English is the international language choice of many countries. If I am travelling and I can’t speak the local language I revert to English, as do 99% of people. Businesses around the world communicate in English. Your job prospects become broadened if you can use English. Some will get a higher salary because they can use English effectively. The list is long on why we should be motivated to learn English.
To sum up, learning English is not easy, but with some motivation and direction, it can be a pleasant experience. It shouldn’t be a chore or painful to learn, if it is then your doing it wrong.