Efficient English Language Learning – 6 Powerful Methods

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Many people around the world want to learn English as a second language. It can be very useful for people who want to travel abroad, to do business abroad, to speak in public, or just to read books or watch videos in their original English language.

However, many such people find out that English language learning can be more difficult than they imagined. This is a common sorting of activities, in increasing difficulty level:

  1. Reading – You have time to think and to consult a dictionary.
  2. Listening – Not much time to think, but not much need to consider grammar or vocabulary, and can understand things from context.
  3. Writing – Need to formulate a grammatically correct sentence using the correct vocabulary, but you have time to think and consult a dictionary.
  4. Speaking – The hardest of them all. Not much time to think, and you need to construct a correct sentence with proper vocabulary. 

For people who want to take English language learning seriously, we describe here 6 powerful methods for efficient English language learning. Some of the methods are more traditional, some are more modern, but all of them complement each other and together they will take you to the next level.

Finally, you will find that the concepts presented here apply to learning many other foreign languages as well.

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Get a Good Textbook with Audio Recordings

 

his is a traditional approach for people who want to learn English, but it should not be neglected. Having a good English textbook ensures that you have proper structure to your English learning, and that you cover all the necessary grammar rules.

Make sure you get a textbook that is intended for people who want to learn English on their own (without a teacher). This ensures that the textbook will contain enough explanations to make you understand when, why, and how to apply the English grammar rules.

The English language learning process is made much easier when you apply the concept of repetition. For that, it’s very important that you get a textbook that is accompanied by audio recordings. Not only will you hear the proper pronunciation of words, but you will also be able to play the recordings repeatedly (e.g., while driving or taking a walk), thus subconsciously absorbing new words and phrases.

Finally, it’s best to get more than just one English language learning textbook. Different books emphasize different things, take a slightly different approach, use a different vocabulary, cover slightly different topics, and so on. Using 2 or 3 books will help you learn English much better. Just make sure you finish one book before moving on to the next.

To emphasize, all these books should be on the same level. You will be starting from scratch again. Starting over again seems like a mentally-difficult task, but since you already know the material to a certain degree, it will be easier, and will help reinforce and extend the knowledge you already have.

Find a Good Teacher Who is a Native Speaker

 

This is another traditional approach that we all know from school. For some people, having an English language learning textbook is going to be enough. Other people learn better when they have a teacher to assist them and keep them on schedule, and for them, this is a must.

In fact, even people who learn well on their own may benefit from interacting with a professional teacher occasionally, to resolve questions they have acquired over time.

If you want to learn English with a teacher, you can choose to have English lessons online, or somewhere around you. You must, however, make sure you choose following:

  1. Private lessons – While more expensive than group lessons, private lessons are tailored for you, and allow you to advance much quicker. Couple this with a good self-learning textbook, and you’ll see results quickly, which will save you money in the long run.
  2. Native Speaker – Your teacher must be a native speaker of the English language. You need to learn the proper pronunciation of words, as well as small details that non-native speakers don’t know.
  3. Professional – It’s very tempting to go online and choose the cheapest “teacher” that is available, but that doesn’t mean the teacher is going to be any good. It’s better to pay a bit more and hire a good teacher with good credentials, experience, and a proven track record (many good reviews).

It’s important that you use the interaction with the teacher to resolve any questions you may have had while studying on your own. This is the main benefit of having a teacher – to answer your questions. You can get almost everything else elsewhere for free (or for a very cheap price).

Watch TV Series or Movies in English

 

Learning by assimilation is a very powerful method of learning. By surrounding yourself with the English language everywhere, you make your English Language Learning process much more efficient.

Some people listen to music in English, but it’s very difficult to properly learn English from songs. First, it’s hard to understand the words. Second, the words that are used may not be common, or may be distorted, so they could fit the song. The grammar may be wrong as well.

A much better alternative to listening to music is to watch TV series or movies in English. But like everything, there’s a proper way of doing that, which will maximize the value for you.

First, find a movie in English that you like that is made for kids. The reason is that the language is going to be much easier for you to understand (don’t worry – it will still be difficult). The reason that we must choose a movie that we like, is that we’re going to watch it many times.

If you have never watched this movie in your language (or with subtitles), watch it now, to make sure you know well what exactly is going on in the movie and what the dialogues are. This will not help your English much, so we’re going to do this just one time.

Next, watch the movie in English, with English subtitles. At this point, you will mostly be reading and not really listening and absorbing the English that is being said. Your brain will not try to interpret what you hear, but rather read what you see. That is why you should only do this 2 or 3 times.

Finally, watch the movie in English without subtitles at all. You will be forced to listen and interpret what is being said, and your brain will help you by remembering the context and the words used from the times you watched the movie with subtitles. You should be doing this many times.

You don’t have to do this all at once. Every once in a while, watch the movie. You don’t even have to watch it till the end each time. In fact, you don’t even have to watch it at all. You can play it in the background while you do other things, just so you can hear the dialogues in the back of your mind.

Over time, you will notice that you start to understand more things, and that you know by heart complete sentences or even dialogues. This will tremendously help improve your English language learning progress.

You can do this with one movie, or with two or three movies. If you try doing it with too many movies, you will not get the same effect.

Additionally. note that watching a series episode by episode will not be as effective as the proposed method, as there will be no repetition. The whole point is absorbing phrases in the English language through repeated hearing of the same phrases.

Efficient English Language Learning - Girl Reading a Book

Read Books in English

 

A very good way to grow your vocabulary is to read books in English. Pick some books for children that have something that resembles a story, and not something that looks like a poem, or that rhymes. This will make sure you get to read proper English that was not modified to fit some sort of template.

Although you will pick English books for children, you will find that reading them is a lot more challenging than you would imagine. This happens for two main reasons:

  1. In general, books use a higher level of language than the commonly spoken language.
  2. When you speak to someone face-to-face or when you watch a movie, there’s no need to describe the environment, what the characters are doing, or what intonation they use. You can see and hear all of that yourself.
    In a book, however, you don’t have all of that. The book needs to describe everything, so you would understand what’s going on. That’s why you will be exposed to common words that you have never heard before, simply because there was no need to say them.

Make sure you pick a book where you already know at least 70%-80% of the words used. Otherwise, you will not really be able to read the book properly, and it will just be a frustrating experience. You need to learn English in small doses, so you can cope with it.

Additionally, don’t stop on every word you don’t know and try to translate it. Understand things from context and move on. You won’t remember that word anyway. Only translate a word that appears many times in the text and is already “stuck” in your mind. That way, you’re sure to remember it.

If you go and translate every word you encounter, you will damage the flow of reading the book, and you will not have a nice experience. Translate only what you must, or words that keep on appearing and you already remember them (but don’t know what they mean).

Reading English books is an essential part of serious English language learning, so make sure you make it part of your studying routine.

Find a Language Partner and Speak English

 

Speaking is by far the most difficult part of English language learning. You are forced to apply all of your studies in real-time, and formulate a proper sentence using whatever limited vocabulary you may have.

For that reason, it is common for people who learn English to have a proper grasp of the language, while not being able to speak fluently. It is a completely different process of thinking, when you have to put your thoughts into words, in a language you still don’t know very well.

For that reason, it is important to start speaking as early as possible. The easiest and cheapest way to do that is to find a native English speaker online and do a language exchange, where you help someone practice your language, and in return you get your share of English practice.

This is a very important step of the English language learning process, especially if you don’t currently live in a country where English is the native language. Such a language exchange helps you overcome the speaking barrier, which exists for all people learning a foreign language.

Talking to a native speaker has two more added benefits: 1) You get to know how people commonly talk today, and what slang words mean; and 2) You get to know more about the culture and traditions of the country the native speaker is from.

Keep in mind, however, that your partner’s ability to answer your questions may be limited. Most native speakers can’t really explain complex grammar rules – they just (hopefully) speak proper English naturally.

If you have questions that your language partner can’t answer, you will either need to look online, or consult with your English teacher.

Use a Language-Learning App

 

Many English language learning apps exist, but their ability to really help you learn English properly is rather limited. Mostly, they are useful to grow your vocabulary, and possibly to learn the proper spelling of words.

Learning grammar using an app usually doesn’t work very well, and good English textbooks generally provide a much better learning experience in that regard.

One very good thing about apps, though, is that you can use them when you have some idle time, like when you’re taking a ride, waiting for an appointment, and so on. In that regard, they are a useful complementary item to your English language learning process.

Don’t expect an app to get you to a very high level of English on its own, though. It always needs to be coupled with texts, audio recordings, and possibly even video. Some of the more expensive apps may offer such an experience, but it may still not be as thorough as using the other methods we described before.

Efficient English Language Learning - Girl Holding a Portfolio

Summary

 

We described in detail 6 powerful methods for efficient English language learning:

  1. Using a couple of good English textbooks accompanied by audio recordings
  2. Getting private English lessons with a professional teacher who is a native English speaker
  3. Repeatedly watching movies in English without subtitles
  4. Reading English books for children
  5. Having English conversations with a language exchange partner
  6. Using an app to learn English

If you combine most or all of these methods, you will find that they complement each other and bring you results rather quickly. The compounded value from all the methods together will increase your language-learning abilities far more than you can expect.

You must make sure, though, to stay consistent and try to learn English every day. English language learning is made much easier by constant repetition and assimilation of English words and phrases, even subconsciously.

If you put your mind to it, you will see good results quicker than you imagine.

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