Since we are all individual learners and have different methods of learning and retaining information, there is no ‘best way’ to learn anything. When it comes to learning English, everyone has different backgrounds, goals and preferred learning styles. Your preferred learning method will depend on the way you have become accustomed to studying.
Maybe you are a visual learner or maybe you retain information through listening. Your learning style will depend on the amount of time you have available, your learning environment, and whether you have specific learning needs or requirements. However, there are several different methods that you can try out to see what suits you best.
How do I know what the best way to learn English is for me?
So, you’ve committed to learning the English language and now it’s time to work out which learning method works best for you. Generally, the best way to retain information is by using a ‘blended’ learning approach, where you practise English in lots of different settings, using different methods.
As well as benefitting from face-to-face teaching in a classroom, you can talk with English or English-speaking friends, download an English language learning app and practise on the go, use a physical workbook or watch movies or listen to music. For some people, its easiest to learn through role play and engaging in conversations and for others, they prefer to complete written exercises and see things on paper. If you’re looking for different English language learning methods to try it, these are some of the most popular:
Effective English Learning Methods
- Learn in a classroom
Following a structured learning plan in a classroom is the best foundation you can have when it comes to learning a new language. Arguably, this is one of the easiest ways to learn English because the pressure of planning and organising what you need to learn is taken away from you. Your teachers will create a plan that increases in difficulty as your skills begin to improve. A classroom setting also allows you to meet other people who are learning to speak English, so you can exchange tips on best learning practices.
- Study on your own
One of the most important factors when it comes to learning a new language is discipline. You must set aside time to get your head around different language rules and expand your vocabulary outside of your classroom environment. Although you may begin your studies with a similar level of English skills as your classmates, there will without a doubt be different things that people need more time to get to grips with. When practising at home you can use a variety of tools like books, English comic books, magazines, music, films, YouTube, the internet, or going to a café and listening to others speak English and trying to learn new words or phrases.
If you have moved to the UK to study, it is likely that you will be thrown into a lot of situations where speaking English is your only method of communication. Although this can be daunting at first, it is one of the best ways to speed up the learning process. Since you will be able to pick up slang and colloquial terms used in England, you will learn things that you may not get from a textbook or a classroom setting.
- Practise and study with friends
If you’ve relocated to one of The Language Gallery’s schools in England, you will likely have made some connections with native English speakers. Why not try hosting a language exchange session, maybe you can meet someone who would be interested in learning about your native language too? Alternatively, you can organise in small groups with other English learners on your course, giving you additional support outside of the classroom and allowing you to learn from other people with the same level of English language skills as you.
- Build a good foundation with an app
Apps are an affordable and convenient way to improve your vocabulary and grammar. This is a great tool for beginners who are looking for some extra support. Many apps have fun and engaging games making the learning process more diverse and allowing you to practise on the go.
With a combination of these learning methods, you are sure to enhance your English speaking and writing skills in no time. Make sure to talk with your classmates about what methods work best for them, as you might find some new learning skills that you haven’t tried. In the meantime, some additional tips to get familiar with the English language are:
- Talk to your pet in English – you might feel silly at first, but try and learn some general phrases in English and use them on your cat or dog. This way you can get used to speaking the language without feeling any criticism or judgement!
- When it comes to picking study times – learn what time of the day works best for you. If you're not a morning person, don't try and study in the morning.
- Set a long-term goal for yourself. This could be a test every few weeks or a more specific goal like “learn to order dinner in English”. This way you will be working towards a set goal.
- Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning a new skill – you should be proud that you’re learning another language rather than embarrassed you haven’t perfected it yet.
- Try reading a book that you have already read in your own language. This will make it easier as you will have a rough idea what is going on in the book.
- Practise online tests – there are lots of free online tests and apps you can take advantage of.
- When you first learn a new word, make a note of it in all its other forms. For example, slow (adjective), slowness (noun), slowly (adverb).
- Find your favourite English-speaking band and learn as many songs as you can.
- Make flash cards with words or grammar rules you can’t remember and stick them around your bedroom.
- Use online flashcards such as “quizlet”.
- Network, network, network! If you make the effort to mix with English speakers in your city, you will pick up the language much quicker.
- Ask your teacher if you can have permission to record classes or lectures. This will not only help with going over lessons taught in class, but you can practise your pronunciation and intonation based on your teachers.
- Write, talk and read in English whenever you can. The more you use the language the more confident you will become.
- Practise through singing. This is helpful for improving intonation, pronunciation and learning about rhythm.
- Lastly, keep learning fun. If you are enjoying your experience, you’re more likely to retain information and stick to your studies.
Make sure to ask for feedback when you learn English, whether that’s from a teacher, a native English speaker or an application that can mark your answers! In a classroom environment, you can get feedback on a variety of aspects of your communication, not just on grammar and vocabulary, but, expression intonation and your use of phrases, idioms etc.