Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

4 Ways NOT to Benefit from your English Class

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Dec 05, 2011 @ 09:19 AM

English class New YorkAre you moving in the right direction to improve your English? If you are taking an English class and you are not improving as quickly as you expected, you need to make some changes. Taking regular lessons with a qualified teacher is important but some people benefit from that investment of time and money more than others. The amount that you are able to improve is directly related to what you do outside of class. Are you taking the time to practice the new vocabulary words that you learn in class? Are you practicing with native speakers every day?  In this article, I will suggest 4 things that you might be doing or might not be doing and how those things are holding you back from moving to the next level with your English.



4 Things that Are Preventing Your Improvement in English:


  • You are only spending time with people who speak your native language: Are you doing this? If you are really serious about improving your English, you have to immerse yourself in English. You have to speak every day, not just during your English class. For more ideas on how to do this, read this article on how to create your English learning network.

  •  You are not committing to a specific time to practice every day: Meeting with your English tutor a few times a week is crucial but you also need to schedule regular times to practice the new skills that you learn in class. You can do this by setting up an English language exchange or attending a meetup every week where everyone will be speaking English. The key here is regular practice!


  • You are setting your expectations too high, then giving up too soon: Many international professionals start private English lessons with high expectations. They expect that after a few weeks of classes twice per week, they will reach their goals. Well, English classes can certainly help you reach your goals more efficiently but you need to be realistic about your expectations. The best way to do this is to set SMART English learning goals. Also, keep in mind that improvement comes from steady learning and dedication to practicing outside of class. Like many things in life, learning English is a marathon, not a sprint!


  • You are a perfectionist: I have studied 3 foreign languages and I have learned that the fastest way to fail at learning a language is to be a perfectionist. Really, if you have the attitude of a perfectionist while learning English, you will never reach your goals. Instead of being a perfectionist, be patient with yourself and have a sense of humor.  Also try being a risk taker!




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Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English

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