Do you ever feel a little bored when studying English? Maybe just a tiny bit? Learning a language is hard work and takes a long time so it’s natural to feel bored or frustrated occasionally. Here are some ways to make learning fun again:
1. Watching movies – Teachers really often mention this as a good way to develop listening skills and hear people speaking at a natural pace. It can be difficult to follow the dialogue at times, though. Especially if the actors have heavy accents or are using a lot of idiomatic vocabulary.
If you have trouble following, it’s fine to put the subtitles on but remember to have them in English. Reading and hearing the words at the same time usually helps with comprehension.
If you don’t have time to watch a movie, watch an episode of a TV drama or comedy. The language used there is most likely to be natural, too. Watching TV shows for kids in English can be fun, as well and it’s a nice family activity.
Remember, whatever movie or TV show you choose, make sure it is one you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to sit through a boring show just to learn English.
2. Imitate adverts or people on TV – This sounds a little childish but can be a really good way to develop your intonation and speech rhythm. Try recording your favourite actor and copying the way he speaks. It’s fun and great practice.
3. Singing – Not everyone likes to sing and that’s fine. If you prefer not to sing, try one of the other methods instead. If you do like singing, do it as often as possible in English. It’s a great way to build your pronunciation skills and confidence, too.
4. Reading – Read subjects you are interested in. If you are interested in a subject, you are more likely to try to understand all the words and expressions in the text than you would of you were reading something boring.
5. Actually doing it! – What was the reason you started learning English? I bet it wasn’t so you could just sit in a classroom for hours. Actually putting your English into action by talking to foreign colleagues or English speaking friends makes all your hard work worthwhile.
If you don’t have any English-speaking friends, make some. You can meet friends online. There are Internet forums on any topic you could imagine. Join one related to your hobby or field of work and get involved in a discussion in English.
Try volunteering to be a tour guide. Many historic sites need tour guides to show foreign tourists around. This could even turn into a part-time job!
Start your own conversation club. If you have some friends or classmates who want to practice, meet up for a coffee and agree to only speak English to each other for a few hours.
I said at the beginning that learning a language is hard work and that’s true. It’s important to remember, though, that hard work doesn’t have to be boring. Approach leaning in a way that’s fun and relevant to your life and you’ll find your skills improve faster than you could imagine!
This is the fourth installment of my new ‘Tuesday Tips‘ series. Every Tuesday, I try to share a simple tip on how to improve your language skills. Some of these are techniques I use with students in class and others are things I’ve found work well when learning languages myself. If you decide to try them out, let me know how they went by leaving a comment below the article. Click here to see some more tips on how to improve your English.
Today’s image is by Jean-Pierre Knapen.