Getting English Into Your Life

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
If you are reading this you should feel very privileged, at your fingertips lies the biggest resource an English learner could ever wish for: the internet.

It brings together such a mass of information that it is difficult to quantify it. Like the omnipresent Wikipedia it is a fallible source of information, but its very vastness also allows us to double check and contrast anything we come across. It is up to us to maximise its potential and minimise the impact of its weaknesses.

All learners of English and those for whom English is a second language should integrate some reading, listening and writing into their daily routines. Speaking (that most important of exercises) can be very hard to do on a very regular basis, and this is something we must make up for.

News websites can be great places for the more advanced learners, and some news websites (such as the BBC) keep their articles so succinct that even intermediate learners can read them without having to over stretch themselves. Then there are never ending supplies of videos, podcasts, radio streams and other media available for listening.

It is also very easy to find structured / formal exercises for listening, reading, and grammar / writing. Get out there and find them.

It is essential for English learners to maintain their motivation and consistency. This does not mean that you have to stress or tire yourself out, quite the opposite in fact. Try to make your English exposure enjoyable, watch comedy programs like “The Simpsons” or any other programs you enjoy. Try to make it fit in around your life, and not the other way around.

Remember, you are not alone. Use forums to discuss doubts and compare opinions. Sign up to courses where you can practice speaking and where a structure will be provided if you need it, but never forget that most learning has to take place in your own time and in your head. Make use of everything you can and make it part of your life.


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