In today's post, Lizzie Davey, an international traveler and language learner, will offer you some hints and suggestions about how you can maximize those ten free minutes that you get during your coffee break to improve your English.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to practice a language, particularly if you are busy at work all day and just want to switch off when you get home in the evening.
You don’t have to spend hours each day pouring over language books to get anywhere though. In fact, short sharp bursts of language learning for ten minutes or so each day is really beneficial, and when better to do this than at a time when your brain is fully awake and in working mode, like on your coffee break?
Most people use their coffee breaks to check Facebook, make personal calls, or gossip with colleagues, but this is prime time for practicing your English. Here are a few ways you can make the most of learning English on your coffee break.
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1) Listen to a podcast
Podcasts and audio books are great for improving your listening skills, learning new vocabulary, and practicing your pronunciation.
Find one that suits your level and put it on whilst you relax with a hot cup of coffee.
Alternatively, you can find a radio station in English that you like and listen to that for a few minutes.
Check out some online podcast resources here.
2) Read the newspaper
In the same way that listening to a podcast improves your listening skills, reading the paper improves your reading skills.
It doesn’t have to be a paper that you choose to read, though; you can also read your favourite English website or blog.
As long as the text is in English, you can read anything.
After a while you will notice that you start to pick up new vocabulary and begin to have a better understanding of sentence structure.
3) Write about your day
We’ve covered reading and listening, so this task helps to improve your writing skills.
Take a small notebook to work with you and quickly write down some information about your day; write about what you have done already, what you will be doing that evening, what you are going to have for dinner – anything!
Look up any words that you are unsure of, and re-read your previous entry before starting a new one to keep the language fresh in your mind. You could even take this idea further and write your shopping list in English or your to-do list for the afternoon.
4) Listen to music
Music is a great tool for learning English; it introduces you to new vocabulary and helps you to improve your pronunciation and sentence structure, plus it’s not very taxing on the brain.
Lots of people listen to music all day whilst they are at work, so try putting a few English songs onto your playlist to keep the language fresh in your mind.
5) Play a game
There are so many English language learning games on the internet these days, all of which are quick and simple; perfect for you to have a go at on your coffee break.
Choose a game that you find challenging though, which will encourage you to learn something from it.
Alternatively, find a word game in English online, like a word search or a crossword and try and complete it.
6) Chat online
If you love social media, follow some English people on your networks and interact with them during your coffee break.
Check out what they are writing about and start up a conversation with them in English.
Or you could log on to a social language learning site and have a ten minute chat on Skype with a native English speaker.
7) Chat with your colleagues
If you work with English people, you have one of the best resources to learn English.
This is a great way to pick up some new vocabulary, practice your conversational skills, and learn more about your colleagues at the same time.
Author bio: Lizzie writes for GEOS Languages Plus and Languages Abroad. She is currently learning Spanish and writes about the language learning process and the things you can do to make it fun and easy.