How Can I Learn English?

Learning any new skill can at first present many challenges. Sometimes, a single challenge can deter us from continuing something we initially wanted. To combat this, it is crucial we implement useful habits and achievable targets. Learning a new language takes time and effort, we have to acknowledge this first! So, where do we start when wanting to learn English? Here are some tips from Panda Learn to our dear readers, enjoy.

  1. Know Your Motivation – This tip may seem a little obvious, but if you don’t have a good reason to learn a language, you are less likely to stay motivated in the long run. No matter your motivation, once you’ve decided on a language, it’s crucial to commit. Set yourself some challenging yet achievable goals. By doing this, you’ll feel you’re progressing, which will, in turn, motivate you to continue learning the language of your choice. So it’s a win-win situation! Rewards are great motivators! Don’t forget to treat yourself when you achieve your goals. If you have one really productive day of studying, why not take a break the next day as a reward? Or set yourself a goal for the day. If you achieve it, go and treat yourself to a nice slice of cake or something you’ve been craving.
  2. Set time for learning – If you’re serious about learning a language, it’s important to make a plan for how much time you can commit to learning. Schedule learning around your day. Most of us give the excuse we have no time. But once we reflect on our day, we realise we do! Even setting aside 10 minutes in the evening to read and review new vocabulary is extremely helpful! To get results, we need to be consistent.
  3. Leave Your Comfort Zone – Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, being corrected, and trying again. This is the same with any new language, and mistakes and errors are part of the journey. If you managed to say something, and someone else understood what you meant, then you’re successfully using the language! Willingness to make mistakes means being ready to put yourself in potentially embarrassing situations. This can be scary, but the only way to develop and improve. No matter how much you learn, you won’t ever speak a language without putting yourself out there: talk to strangers in the language, ask for directions, order food, try to tell a joke, etc. The more you do this, the bigger your comfort zone becomes, and the more at ease you’ll be in any new situations.
  4. Practice with a Tutor – Friendly native speakers can help you improve your skills and build your confidence. Conversing with native speakers will, unsurprisingly, increase your ability to speak to native speakers! They tend to talk much more quickly than non-native speakers, so understanding them can seem daunting at first. That’s why it’s important to get familiar with native speech habits, so you won’t find it challenging to understand your target language outside an educational setting.
  5. Read to learn English – The more you read English text to yourself or aloud, the more confidence you will have. If you feel nervous, start by practising at home then, move on to reading in front of an audience and asking for their feedback. Of course, it’s also enjoyable to read some wonderful stories. E-readers and tablets make learning English even easier because if you don’t know a word, you can click on it to read the definition. Others recommend listening to and reading simultaneously as an excellent way to enhance the learning process.
  6. Add Music – There is no need to go further to choose what music to listen to. The advice is to start with the songs you already listen to. Find the lyrics you love. We hear our favourite songs dozens of times a day, but we do not pay enough attention to the content and meaning of the words. Repetition is one of the most important factors in learning a foreign language. The joy of singing along to songs you love makes it easier for you to pick up the correct pronunciation. Learning how vocabulary is used in sentences is a key part of learning how to speak in the real world. You can’t learn isolated words in your target language and expect to become fluent.
  7. Watch TV Shows/Films – If you are someone who loves to watch movies and shows, now you have an even better excuse to watch them! There are just so many benefits of watching movies and shows when learning English (or any language). To start with, if you find you want to pick-up a particular accent, watch your favourite actor/actress and try to imitate them. Additionally, you will be able to learn an abundance of contemporary expressions. By choosing something that interests you, you’ll truly soak up a lot of learning from listening and observing. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our list –
  8. Record yourself – This is a great way to review your own speaking. I particularly encourage this to students who are preparing for speaking exams (IELTS). Maybe you can try recording a video/audio diary of your daily life or record yourself imitating someone. After, listen to your recording. Do you think you could improve? If yes, try again. Over time it will be nice to listen back and hear your improvements.
  9. Keep a notebook – When taking classes, it’s important to have a book in which you organise all your class notes. Treat your English learning journey the same. Write down any new vocabulary, meanings and synonyms. Make notes on grammar rules and create example sentences where you use these rules. If you’re struggling with the pronunciation of a word, break down the word as you hear it e.g. Listeninglih-suh-ning
  10. Have fun! – Lastly, remember that learning English should be fun. It unlocks so many exciting and rewarding opportunities for you too. From the tips above, you’ll see that there are plenty of fun ways to study English, that don’t just involve memorising grammar rules. Find a method that you enjoy the most and stick with it.

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