How to Learn English as a Second Language in 10 Simple Steps
English as a Second Language is not easy to learn.
This is because English has its own set of rules in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciations that might be very different from that of the native language of English as a Second Language learners.
By following ten simple steps, however, non-native English speakers can speak, write, read, and listen to English confidently and effortlessly.
These ten simple steps on how to learn English as a Second Language are discussed below.
1. Set Your English Proficiency Goal
Non-native English speakers wanting to master English as a Second Language must set out their English proficiency goals.
Goals are important because they let English as a Second Language students be reminded of what they ultimately want to accomplish with their English studies.
Some of the questions that learners of English as a Second Language must ask themselves when identifying their English proficiency goals include:
- What areas of my English as a Second Language skills do I want to improve? Listening, writing, speaking, and/or reading?
- When do I want see these areas improved? In one year? In two years?
- How can I measure my improvement? Is it when I can use English as a Second Language with ease when speaking with my foreign colleagues and friends? Is it when I can use English as a Second Language in calls, e-mails, letters, presentations, or conferences?
2. Know Your Motivations and Be Constantly Reminded About Them
It may take months or years to become fluent in English as a Second Language.
Thus, it would be helpful if English as a Second Language students can stay motivated during their long-term studies of the English language.
To identify their motivations in their English as a Second Language studies, learners must ask themselves, “Why do I want to be great at English?”
Some of the answers to these questions may include:
- I want to put an end to the embarrassment I’ve felt all these years when I’m unable to speak in English.
- I want to get promoted at work with the help of my high scores in business English tests.
- I want to be assigned overseas where English is used as a language for business.
- I want to enter a prestigious university in a foreign country where English is widely used as a medium of communication.
- I want to expand my business overseas by negotiating with customers, suppliers, or partners in English.
- I want to gain new friends from around the world through the English language.
3. Get Help from an Excellent English Teacher
A study of English as a Second Language is made more efficient and effective with the help of a skilled and enthusiastic English teacher.
Such a teacher can help students of English as a Second Language by doing the following:
- Spot students’ errors in English.
- Explain the errors.
- Help students avoid such errors in the future.
- Foster a learning environment that is conducive to learning English as a Second Language.
- Encourage students to keep on studying despite some difficulties with English studies.
4. Cultivate Your Willingness to Learn English
Not even the most experienced English teacher could ever help students in mastering English as a Second Language if these students are unwilling to accept feedback about their weaknesses in English and to improve.
Thus, it is quite important for English as a Second Language learners to request their teachers to give them as much criticism as possible about their English proficiency.
However, they must take their teachers’ criticisms constructively.
It is also very important for English as a Second Language students to try to learn English with passion.
If students are not passionate about English as a Second Language, perhaps they may need to be reminded about their goals and motivations for studying.
5. Study and Put Your Learning into Practice
Arguably the most important tip for learning English as a Second Language is to study and put all acquired learning into practice.
As the adage goes, “Practice makes perfect.”
To practice English as a Second Language, it is best to run through English speaking, listening, writing, and reading.
Some of the ways by which English as a Second Language learners can practice include:
- Read English news or blogs.
- Write e-mails in English.
- Listen to English podcasts or videos.
- Make phone calls or video calls in the English language.
6. Use English at Work, School, or Home
People who want to learn English as a Second Language must try to immerse themselves in English as much as possible.
This is because immersion will allow them to become very familiar with English – its sounds, words, phrases, and sentence constructions.
Immersion will also allow them to understand how English is used in a natural setting and in conversations.
Through immersion, they will eventually find themselves developing the habit of using English with ease and confidence.
To be immersed in English, English as a Second Language learners must try to:
- Read English articles regularly.
- Listen to English news, songs, or conversations.
- Watch English TV programs, videos, or movies.
- Write English letters, e-mails, presentations, blogs, or journals.
7. Enlarge Your English Word Bank
To learn English as a Second Language, it is essential to be taught about English vocabulary or the words, phrases, expressions, and idioms of the language.
Vocabulary will allow English as a Second Language learners to express their thoughts vividly and meaningfully using proper English words.
A limited vocabulary will definitely hold them back from getting their messages across, which could be extremely upsetting.
Some of the ways by which people can learn English as a Second Language by expanding their vocabulary are:
- reading English articles
- playing English word games
- looking up words in an English dictionary
To learn more and more about English words, beginner students of English as a Second Language may also want to invest in a quality bilingual dictionary.
This is because bilingual dictionaries can help them with translating and comparing English words with the words in their native language.
However, they must not be overly reliant on their bilingual dictionaries.
Once beginner English as a Second Language learners have graduated to the intermediate level English proficiency, then they may get themselves a monolingual English dictionary and dispose of the bilingual dictionary.
8. Understand the Rules English Grammar and Don’t Break Them
To learn English as a Second Language, non-native English users must understand the rules of English grammar and how these rules apply.
Grammar is simply the set of rules that describe how words, phrases, and clauses are formed into meaningful sentences in English.
Some people who are trying to learn English as a Second Language view grammar either as challenging or boring.
Regrettably, such an attitude towards English grammar prevents these people from fully learning English and how it is used correctly.
Grammar can be interesting if perceived the right way.
With this in mind, people who are trying to learn English as a Second Language must commit to memory that grammar will help them become fluent in the global language of English.
9. Practice Pronunciations
To learn English as a Second Language for oral communications, non-native English users must familiarize themselves with English pronunciations.
The importance of being familiar with English pronunciations cannot be downplayed.
If non-native English users are not skilled in English pronunciations, then they are likely to be misunderstood.
If they are misunderstood, then they may feel downright embarrassed and utterly frustrated.
Thus, people who try to learn English as a Second Language must practice English pronunciations in the following areas:
- pronunciations of specific sounds of English
- English word stress
- English sentence stress
- English sentence intonation
10. Forget About Mistakes But Learn From Them
In the course of learning English as a Second Language, non-native English users may realize how often they commit mistakes in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
These mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and somehow expected.
Thus, they should not deter learners from studying English as a Second Language.
It is, nevertheless, very important for learners to gain knowledge from their mistakes.
Committing a few English mistakes is forgivable.
However, committing the same mistakes over and over is just absurd.
Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista
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