10 Tips for Effective ESL Learning From Capstone Tutors

As an ESL student, it’s important to consistently improve your learning strategies. Here are the Top 10 Tips from CapstoneTutors.com to advance your ESL learning ability:

Watch movies and TV with subtitles (and know when to stop using subtitles)

Movies and TV do a great job helping your English skills. Watching with subtitles or watching what you have already seen in your native language, in English, is a great way to get better.

It’s an entertaining way to pick up on visual cues from the characters. Their tones and facial expressions paired with the words they are saying will help you gain better understanding.

You can also use the internet to find videos about what you are interested in (your hobbies or work-related things). It’s easier for you to understand what you’re already familiar with!

Speak English every day

Speaking English daily will help your confidence while speaking the language, and will increase the amount of learning that you achieve. The more you practice, the faster you will become fluent.

Try setting up scenarios with friends so you can practice your new vocabulary and phrases in different settings. Not knowing what your friend will say next is a great way to practice quick thinking.

Confidence is the key to sounding natural and feeling good about what you’ve learned. Keep speaking out loud, even if you only know a small amount. Even if it’s only to yourself, speak as much as possible!

Actually speaking English helps it stick in your head much better than only reading or writing it. Always be seeking out native speakers to practice with. They are the resources that will help you improve the most.

Putting yourself in situations to have normal conversations with native English speakers will be amazingly beneficial for your confidence and speaking skills. Of course, it all depends on where you live. Are there any clubs or organization where English speakers meet? Join them and be exposed to real, everyday English!

Learn 30 new words every day (and actively take note of new vocabulary)

Every day, choose new words to learn. Repeat each word multiple times to reinforce the memory of those new words.

Highlight words that you don’t know when you come across them. Search for the words in an English dictionary (not the translation!). You’ll learn much more from reading the definition.

Once you have a basic understanding of the word, read sentences that use the word for context. This will give you a more complete understanding, and will make you feel more confident when using the word yourself.

Try choosing five new words that you would like to learn and master each day. Once you’ve chosen, write the words and their meanings on paper at least ten times each. This daily task will only take 30 minutes, and will greatly improve your knowledge of English words.

At the end of the week, review all 35 new words and make sure they’re all committed to your long-term memory!

It’s also important to actively take note of new vocabulary, whenever you come across it. When you learn a new word, it’s often so enjoyable that you think forgetting it would be possible.

However, it’s very difficult to make something stick the first time. Carrying around a notebook or using a tool like Evernote will help you overcome this.

Whenever you hear or read a new word or phrase, write it down and make sure to use context (write it in a sentence).

The next time you run into the word, you’ll have a better chance at remembering it since writing it down in context is better for memory.

If you still don’t remember it, you’ll have a quick way of finding the meaning since you wrote it down. Either way, you’ll save time and learn more!

Develop the four language skills simultaneously (listening, speaking, reading, writing)

Focusing on all 4 language skills at the same time is very important when learning a new language. Listening, speaking, reading and writing are all crucial for your knowledge. Learning all of them will give you more confidence and a deeper understanding.

If you only know how to read and write (like some traditional teaching methods focus on) then you won’t feel confident to speak English or listen to others speaking.

Instead, make sure to find a tutor or conversation partner that will focus on all 4 skills, simultaneously.

Get a book of English jokes

Joke books are surprisingly useful language learning tools. It’s important to get an understanding of the English culture when developing your conversation skills.

Humour is very culture-specific. A joke in one country might not make sense in another. You can practice tricky concepts like puns and idioms by reading joke books. You will find them entertaining, and you will get a better understanding of how English speakers have a fun time.

Learn from a certified ESL tutor

Guided instruction paired with a safe place to practice is the ultimate combination for fast and effective English language learning. However, it does not replace the need to immerse yourself in the language during you daily life and to practice speaking regularly with friends or conversation partners.

A personal ESL tutor is meant to work in harmony with your day-to-day life, providing new vocabulary and communication techniques while practicing with you and teaching you how to apply and continue your learning outside of the lesson.

At Capstone Tutors, our job is to assess your language level, personality and learning needs, and then match you with the certified ESL tutor that fits your exact profile. Think you might need a tutor? You can get a Free Assessment today at CapstoneTutors.com!

Remember why you’re learning English

Sometimes, students get overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do in order to learn. When you catch yourself complaining about your workload, make sure you look at the big picture.

If you’re learning English as a business professional, it’s important to remember that improving your English skills will give you better job opportunities.

If you’re a young learner, you need to remember that you have an important international examination at the end of the year. It’s crucial to never lose sight of your reason for learning English.

Pinpoint your weaknesses (learn from your mistakes)

Often, students will tell themselves and others that they’re great at writing but poor at speaking. Some students have great listening comprehension, but get nervous or confused when they’re called upon to speak.

As a student, you must be aware of what you need to practice. Focusing your effort toward improving your weakness is the fastest and most effective path to growth as a language learner.

Ask a lot of questions

Curiosity propels language learners to fluency. You’ll soon generate an abundance of questions as you start to learn English. Don’t let your doubts paralyze you. It’s important to be curious and to resolve your doubts or questions!

If you have a tutor, ask them. It’s as simple as that.

If you’re learning alone, don’t worry. You can find answers online by going through blogs, language learning websites and forums. You can also connect with other language learners and ask them! You won’t regret it.

  1. Start with what you really need

If you always remind yourself of your motives for learning the English language, you will progress much faster. If you’re going to an overseas conference, practice conversation starters. If you’re taking a year off of school to travel, learn the vocabulary of travel and tourism.

If you’re going on an international student exchange, focus on vocabulary related to what you’ll be studying. You’re likely to end up confused and unmotivated if you dive into language learning without being connected to your real purpose.

We hope this helps! If you’re interested in learning ESL from a professional tutor, you can reach out to CapstoneTutors.com!

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