It's a new year and this is the time when everyone thinks about their goals for the coming year. Did you have success with your English in 2011? Are you satisfied with your current level? If not, it's time to think seriously about what you can do to reach the level of English success that you need for your career and your life in the United States. In today's article, I will present five things that you absolutely MUST do if you want to improve your English in the new year. Don't waste anymore time wishing that you could speak better than you can! Check out the points below and get started!
5 Things You MUST Do this Year for English Success:
- Recognize that YOU are in the driver's seat: You are responsible for your own improvement. Learning a language is all about your mindset. If you are not happy with the results you have achieved so far with your English, it's time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Who are you leaving in charge of your success? Who are you blaming for your lack of success? Are you actively seeking out opportunities to speak English in your everyday life or are you waiting for opportunities to come to you? Be a proactive English learner!
- Check your attitude: When it comes to learning English, is the glass half full or half empty? Most of the successful language learners that I have met have had an optimistic and positive attitude toward learning English. A good English learner considers learning an adventure. He does not dwell on mistakes. He learns because he wants to be able to communicate with English speakers, he is a risk taker and he is not a perfectionist. Before you make your English learning plan for the new year, adjust your attitude and you will get more mileage out of the time that you put into it.
- Create an English-only Environment: We know that learning English takes dedication! Ironically enough, even though our students are living in the US, they are in cosmopolitan cities like Boston or New York, where it can be hard for them to immerse themselves in English. If you are speaking your native language more than English, it's time to make a change. Here are some ways to do it: Get your roommates or family to commit to speaking only English in your home on certain days of the week (or all the time!), stop reading the newspaper in your native language and read it in English only, listen to English radio stations (NPR, BBC) and watch movies in English. There are many other ways that you can immerse yourself in English, but you get the idea. Now choose one of these methods and get started!
- Learn 1 New Vocabulary Word Each Day: You should be learning a lot of new casual expressions and idioms when you spend time with native speakers. You can also increase your formal vocabulary by visiting sites like Merriam Webster's Word of the Day. This site is great for advanced ESL students. Set it up as a favorite on your browser and start expanding your vocabulary every day!
- Work on your Cultural Competence: Remember that language is always linked to culture. You will find it easier to become fluent in American English if you "get" American culture. Not only can cultural competence help you learn English, but it will help you become more successful in the US in general- in your career, at home and in your community. And being successful in the US is really the goal isn't it? So learn more about how to improve your cultural competence this year!
Want to learn more? Keep in touch!
photo credit: vmaurin