ECP coach Ali gives you 8 ideas to improve your English
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Here are 8 areas in which you can dramatically boost your English just by making a few small changes:
Before you read the complete article, look at this vocabulary and find it in the text:
instead: in place of this
guess: to try to know something by using your imagination
do so: to do this (the thing mentioned before)
board games: games played around a board on a table
Bob’s your uncle: problem solved
challenge: to give sb a task to see if they can do it
whether: if (or not)
no good: not effective, useless
Listen to the audio
TV: when you watch a series in English, the initial goal shouldn’t be to understand every word, but rather to train your ear. Forget about having a good time, and instead, focus on what you can gain from the experience. This means you can read the subtitles if necessary, note down new words and phrases that you’d like to remember, and watch one scene or episode several times to see how quickly your ears adapt!
Technology: if you have your phone, your Facebook or your laptop in your first language, you might like to change it to English! It may take you a few days to get used to the new appearance, but it will get you thinking in English much more quickly and it will teach you new vocabulary in a practical context.
Reading: instead of simply reading in English, you could try my method: read just one paragraph or one page, and pay attention to all the words you don’t know. First, see if you can guess what they mean from the context. Next, look them up in a dictionary and write a list of the new words and their definitions. After this, read the short text again and see how much you understand this time. You should go back and read the text as many times as necessary until you can do so without looking at your notes.
Socialising: find people who want to speak English, find one or two board games in English, and Bob’s your uncle! You might speak your mother tongue most of the time, but the game will force you to have fun in English.
Vocabulary: if you make lists of vocabulary, you ought to go back and look at them. Simply make two columns —word and definition—, and you can cover one of the columns to test your memory. Gradually, you’ll find you can throw away pages of your vocabulary notebook as the words become familiar to you.
Songs: don’t just listen to music in English. Look up the lyrics and try to write them down from memory. Learn to sing along while reading the lyrics, paying special attention to rhythm and pronunciation. After this, why not find a karaoke video on YouTube and challenge yourself to a great performance?
Everyday tasks: whether it’s adding a reminder to your calendar, writing a shopping list, or conversing with your pets (or plants), I’d recommend making it a habit to do these little daily activities in English.
Pronunciation: it’s no good just hoping the sounds will come out right. Look up new words online and compare your pronunciation with that of the audio available. Repeat the word until you’re happy with the similarity between the two. You can also imitate how other people sound and ask for feedback if you’re not sure!
Written by ECP coach Alison Keable
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