ESL Tips

How to Learn a Language Quickly

1.    Find your own way to take charge of your learning.

2.    Organize information: keep a notebook with important notes about the things you are learning both in class and outside of class.

3.    Journal: keep a free writing journal where you express your feelings in English.

4.    Be creative; experiment with grammar and words.

5.    Make your own opportunities for practice by using your language skills inside and outside of the classroom.

6.    Learn to live with uncertainty by not getting frustrated.

7.    Continue to talk and listen, even if you don’t understanding every word.

8.    Use memory strategies to recall what you have learned.

9.    Make errors work for you and not against you.

10. Use knowledge, including the knowledge of your first language, in learning a second language.

11. Use contextual clues to help you in comprehension.

12. See the genuine use for learning English and how it applies to your life.

13. The world is your classroom: Take the skills you learn in class each day and apply them outside of the classroom environment.

14. Always practice your reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills.

Speaking: Strategies for Success

1.    Ask for clarification (what?)

2.    Ask someone to repeat something (Excuse me? Could you repeat that?)

3.    Use fillers (Uh, I mean, Well) in order to gain time to process what the person said

4.    Use conversation maintenance cues (Uh-huh, Right, Yeah, Okay, Hmm)

5.    Get someone’s attention (Hey, So)

6.    Uses nonverbal communication to convey meaning

Vocabulary: Understanding the Meaning of Words

There are three basic strategies that a reader can use to understand the meaning of an unfamiliar word.

1.    Identify the structure of the word; that is, analyze the different parts of the word.

2.    Look up the word in the dictionary.

3.    Use the context of the word to understand its meaning; this is one of the most important and useful ways to  understand the meaning of an unfamiliar word.

  • In order to understand the Context of a word, examine the sentence(s) or paragraph in which a word appears. Often, the sentence or sentences around the unfamiliar word will offer an indication of/or clue to the word’s meaning. These indications or clues are referred to as context clues.

Reading: Develop Good Reading Habits

1.    Read the entire text or section on your first time through it—even if you don’t understand some of the words. On your second read-through, you can look up any difficult words.

2.    If you are using your finger to guide your eyes along, be sure to keep your finger ahead of your eyes.

3.    Read the text in small chunks; try to read phrases or sentences rather than single words in isolation.

4.    Always keep reading—both in class and at home.

Learning Strategies: Sharpen Your Skills

70 practical tips for improving your English

This article has some suggestions on developing self-correction skills and starting to use more accurate English, all without the help of a teacher

Ideas and tips to help you improve your pronunciation outside class

  • Key to College Success About 10 pages of sincere advice about how to be successful in college. You must read it if you are preparing to study in the U.S.
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