Learning new languages is a rewarding experience. However, for those who are just starting to learn English or any other language, it is quite challenging to develop a learning strategy that suits you best. Many of us even don’t have any clue of where we should start. But don’t you worry, though. Because you’re in the right place! Here are a few things you should know when learning English as a second language.
Set specific goals
When we embark on a new language learning journey, we tend to be kind of optimistic about the target language. We set vague goals like “Be fluent in English”, “Be able to speak English like a native speaker” etc…, which may lead to our lack of motivation instead of encouraging us to try harder. It’s true that we often feel happier when we achieve our goals and know exactly where we stand on our journey. Therefore, you’d better break your ultimate goal down into smaller, more achievable ones so that you can keep track of your progress and stay motivated all along the way.
Have you ever heard of “SMART goal“? SMART goal setting is a productivity methodology that helps you achieve your goals by keeping yourself focused and motivated.
Make sure your goals follow these criteria:
– Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
– Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
– Achievable (agreed, attainable).
– Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
– Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Write down at least 5 reasons why you want to learn English
Some people may think it is pointless writing down every reason why they want to learn English. We all know how important English is today. So what is the point of writing them down? Well, let me make it clear. Once you write down reasons why you decided to acquire the language in the first place, you’ll know where to start and surely feel motivated afterwards.
Just sit down for some minutes, take time to think about what you can do if you are fluent in the language and write it down. When you understand why you want to learn the language, you will easily find your perfect learning approach.
Know what you want to learn and focus on it!
As I’ve just said, once your goals and your purposes are clear, you will know exactly what you need, or rather want to learn. All you have to do now is focus on it entirely. Do you want to learn English to travel overseas? Then watch travel videos, read travel books, and learn travel vocabulary in the context, instead of focusing on complicated grammar or lengthy, academic vocabulary.
Now you have a clear goal for your study. Let’s dig deeper for more things you should know when learning English.
Read for pleasure
Reading books in the language you’re learning is one of the best ways to quickly improve your language. Not only does it introduce you to new words but also help you learn vocabulary in context. The more exposed you get to the language, the faster you master it! Remember that when you start to learn English, you should only begin with something simple such as children books, manga, magazines and as you get better, move on to more difficult ones. But whatever you read, don’t forget to choose some kinds of books that you are interested in.
And another point is that when you are reading, don’t stop at every word you don’t know to look it up in the dictionary. Instead, try to challenge yourself by puzzling its meaning out without a dictionary. In fact, you’ll easily guess the meaning of a new word when you see it in its context.
Learn vocabulary in context
One of the most important things when learning English is to learning vocabulary in context. This means that you learn every new word by seeing how it is used in a sentence, in a particular context. This method is approved to lead to better comprehension. Many of us tend to memorize a list of individual words. We write down every single word that we think is useful. We spend hours creating long lists of vocabulary, noting them down in our notebook and then never take a look it. Unless you have an extraordinary memory, this approach doesn’t bring positive results. In fact, it’s a waste of time and effort.
One of my favourite tools to learn vocabulary in context is eJOY ENGLISH APP. This mobile app features more than 10000 videos on various topics. You can choose any video to watch and learn new words. Now with eJOY app, you can easily save new words to your wordbook and review them later. Every word has its own context so that you can understand better its meaning without much effort.
Why don’t you try it?!
Listen, listen and listen
Listening to English songs is one of the most highly recommended ways to improve your English. This method will help to enhance our speaking skills, together with listening skills. Even if you don’t understand everything, immersing yourself in English by listening to English speakers is an excellent way to improve your English skills. Watching English movies or TV Shows is also a great approach. There are tons of great TV Shows and movies that can entertain you and help you learn English at the same time.
Last but not least, it’s okay to make mistakes!
Don’t try to be perfect in learning new languages. The truth is that no one is perfect. We make mistakes every now and then in life. And you know what? That’s when we learn and grow. Never screw yourself up when you make some mistakes. It’s common for language learners to make mistakes when it comes to learning a new language. And believe me, in most cases people will not judge you for every mistake you’ve made while learning languages. On the other hand, they will even praise you for your effort and encourage you to keep trying. Learning a new language takes time and great effort but once you feel confident with it, a lot of opportunities and wonderful things will make their way to you.
There are a lot more things you should know when learning English. Whichever method you choose to employ, keep in your mind that learning English is a journey, an on-going process, rather than a destination. Just KEEP ON KEEPING ON!
Before you go, share with us about your learning stories. We love to hear.