Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Improve your English: 6 Strategies for Success

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Tue, May 03, 2011 @ 09:13 AM

improve your englishWould you like to improve your English? Today I will offer 6 strategies for English language learners.  Some students are more successful at learning English than others. Why is this? Some people believe that the only important factor is natural language learning ability but I don't agree with that.  Your success with English depends more on your attitude and your commitment than your natural language ability.  I have been working with English students from all over the world for the past 6 years. I have seen that it is not always the student with the most natural talent that improves the most. So if you think that you are not a "natural" language learner, here are 6 strategies that will take you much further than talent or natural ability. Give them a try and let me know how they work!



6 Strategies for Success in English


  • Have a positive attitude toward learning: a good language learner knows that learning a language is enjoyable. Even if your goal is to pass a test or get a better job, try to remember that by learning English, you are entering a new world of possibilities in your life. It is hard not to be positive about that.


  • Have a sense of humor and laugh at your mistakes: no one ever learned a new language without making mistakes. When we start learning a new language, we are like children. We have to try new words and see if they work. We have to be free to experiment. You are always going to make mistakes. Try to enjoy the process and laugh at yourself once in a while.


  • Actively seek out ways to use English outside of class by attending social events, reading the newspaper or listening to the radio: Most of your English learning happens outside of the classroom. That's because the new vocabulary, pronunciation or grammar point that you learn in class has to be practiced if you want it to become natural. I highly recommend joining a meetup group or another social event. You can also immerse yourself in an English environment by only watching tv in English and reading newspapers in English.


  • Take responsibility for your own learning by asking questions and bringing new ideas to class: It is very important to work with an excellent English teacher, but ultimately, you are responsible for your own English learning. You need to be active with your English learning in class and outside of class. Ask questions if you are confused. If you want your teacher or English tutor to change the lesson format, don't be afraid to ask.


  • Persevere with your English learning: When you are learning English, try not to become discouraged easily.  Language learning is a process. It is an adventure! Don't expect perfection. When you make a mistake with a new word, get inspired to learn the correct word and make that word a part of your vocabulary.


  • Be patient with yourself: Patience is crucial to your language improvement. Some people find it easy to be patient with others but hard to be patient with themselves.  If that is a problem that you have, try to avoid comparing your language skills with other people. Everyone learns at their own pace. Don't be your own worst enemy. Notice the small improvements and reward yourself.




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photo credit- noticelj

Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English

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