How to Improve Your English
To be frank: there are several ways to improve your English.
Don’t think of this as “ways” but rather “avenues” to improve your English skills. I have listed out four pillars which you must absolutely focus on: listen, write, speak, and read. These are the things that best encompass the totality of language competence; practice them and you’ll be well on your way to improving your English Skills.
It should, however, go without saying that these suggestions can only take you so far. If you want the most thorough and effective way to prepare for ESL, you’d be wise to look into tutoring — taking lessons and learning from a teacher are some of the most potent ways for you to improve your English as a second language.
Listening is vital, you no doubt already know this. Through listening, you are able to immerse yourself in understanding how words are spoken, how things are pronounced, enunciated, etc. It may seem passive but listening is most certainly an active and deliberate behavior on your part — you must put effort into it.
Here’s a handy little list if you’re wondering about what sorts of things you should be listening to:
- Podcast, these are great because they allow you to hear genuine long-form discussions and, best of all, there’s a podcast for practically every subject or interest out there
- TV/Movies, many casual forms of entertainment have been shown (albeit anecdotally) to radically improve the language capabilities of non-English speaking viewers.
- The News, not only is it a great way to stay informed but it also provides you with a simple and concise form of English meant to deliver a message as efficiently as possible
- Again, listening is not passive. However, that doesn't mean that it can’t be fun — it’s just a matter of finding things that you want to listen to that will also serve the purpose of helping you to learn English faster.
Writing is also a major aspect of language that you need to grasp. It will improve your English grammar, it will improve your English vocabulary, it will improve your English. Period.
Sure, it may seem a bit intimidating but, for now, you merely want to start small with your writing capabilities and work your way up gradually. Here are some things you can try to improve your writing:
- Journaling, it's a great way for you to begin conceptualizing your thoughts and feelings and projected them outward in English (it also boasts quite a few mental health benefits as an added bonus)
- Write down words and phrases that you hear and would like to retain
- Comment and discuss on places like Reddit
These are all great ways to bolster your skills as a writer while also being relatively casual and stress-free.
You’ve no doubt thought to yourself, “how do I improve my English speaking?” Simply put, it’s really just a matter of finding someone who you can talk to. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, or teacher, what’s most important here is being able to practice your abilities.
If, however, you seldom have anyone to speak English with, you can also do a couple of things on your own. Namely, speaking and recording yourself. This is a great way to assess your skills and objectively look at ways to improve.
Reading is the highest intensity of all the 4 pillars. It’s something that you need to diligently work towards in letting your brain acclimate to processing words (and perhaps even characters) that it’s never seen before.
With that being said, you ARE reading this. All things considered, you must be doing fairly well in the reading department.
In order to further improve your skills, you might want to consider picking up some reading materials of your choice and dedicate a good hour or so a day towards reading in English. You don’t have to read 500 pages a day like Warren Buffet, but give yourself some dedicated English reading time each and every day.
Like I said, these are essentially the 4 pillars of a language. If you want to begin the process of improving your English you’ll need to focus on these in some capacity.
You can choose to tackle them however you’d like: whether it’s one at a time or all at once. It really all depends on how confident you are with each aspect of the language but be aware enough of your strengths and weaknesses to know what you need to prioritize.
Connie Benton is a passionate traveler, freelance writer, and guest contributor. You can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.