Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Advice From an English Language Tutor: Be an Active Learner

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 @ 08:30 AM

English language tutorAs an English language tutor in Boston and New York, many of my students have asked me how they can improve their English so that they can work in the United States or get a job using English when they return home. I believe that an important key to learning English is being an active learner. What does it mean to be an active learner? It means that you actively seek out ways to practice outside of class, you ask questions in class and you are dedicated to learning English no matter how frustrating it might be at times. In this post, I will give you 6 tips about how to be an active English learner.


How to Become an Active English Learner: 6 Tips


  • Set Objectives and Goals: It is very important to have English learning goals. Why are you learning English? How will you use your skills? Your English language tutor can help you set your goals. Remember, for your goals to be effective, they must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Read more about setting goals.


  • Create your English Learning Network: Part of being an active learner is seeking out ways to improve outside of your English classes. It might take a little bit of work, but you can create an English learning network to practice English every day. Your network can include your roommate or neighbors, your colleagues at work and your language exchange partner. Learn how to create your network...


  • Be Curious about English: In my English tutoring and classroom teaching experience, the students who asked the most questions always improved more than the students who did not ask any questions. If you are confused about a word, in class or outside of class, just ask someone and take on an active learning role.


  • Be a Language Detective: To be an active learner, you need to investigate yourself as the learner- what is your cultural communication style? What kind of environment do you need for studying? You also need to investigate the English language-look for patterns in the grammar and figure out the connection between English and American culture. Read more about how to be a language detective...


  • Understand your Learning Style: Being an active learner means understanding your strengths and weaknesses and using that information when you study. Are you a kinesthetic learner? a reflective learner? a verbal learner? a visual learner? Find out what your English learning style is...



And the most important strategy for becoming an active learner is....


  • Be Consistent and Dedicate Yourself: I truly believe that attitude is the key to becoming fluent in English. To be an active learner, you must be positive about learning English and you must dedicate yourself to your goal. Consistency is the key- working with an English language tutor each week is important. You should also find your own opportunities to speak and practice. If you don't learn as quickly as you expect, don't give up- it is all part of the process and learning English takes time but you will get there if you are consistent and dedicated.



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Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English

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