Articles on ESL Topics
There are five points, number 1 is the most important.
5) Make English your hobby and have fun!
Study at least two or three hours per week.
Learn English through other activities:
Reading – there are graded books in English for your level.
Internet – begin with the activities on this website and on the links page.
Songs in English – take your favorite songs, download the lyrics (the words) from Google and sing them again and again until your neighbors scream: “STOP!!”.
DVDs – many films are also in English with subtitles in your language.
Magazines – there are specialized magazines for English students.
Travel – travel motivates you to improve your level because you need English for everything.
4) Be constant!
Don’t stop for long periods of time such as in the summer and don’t do too much! It is also important to study at least 3 hours every week. To progress very well, you should study at least 5 hours per week.
3) Be as disciplined and organized as possible with your classes!
Free conversation is necessary and so is more controlled speaking (in practice activities in class). However, it is better to balance conversation with other activities in your classes or outside of your classes. In a “one-to-one” class, you should do all of the homework, reading and vocabulary studying outside of your class and then comment on the homework in the class. It is very important for you to do the homework that your teacher assigns you and it is very important for you to be punctual to your classes.
2) Get a teacher or attend a class!
It’s easier to be constant, disciplined and organized if you have a teacher. It’s more difficult to study English alone. Also, it is more difficult to learn how to “speak” English if you don’t have an English teacher to speak with.
1) It is your responsibility to reach (to get) your objectives!
Learning English is your responsibility and not the responsibility of your teacher. You must have initiative in your classes! The teacher cannot learn or study English for you. For example, you often have to study and learn vocabulary alone.
With point number one, you will develop all of the other points. If you apply these five points with long-term motivation, you will learn English or any language. Put simply: if you spend more time studying, you will learn more. If you are very interested, you will continue studying.
by Steven David Bloomberg
How can I speak English better? How can I communicate better in English? How can I express myself better in English? How can I listen to and understand English better? How can I improve?
You speak English at an advanced level. You speak it fluently and you use it every day, yet you aren’t satisfied with your ability. You feel like you can’t express yourself the way you want to. When you can’t say what you want to say or need to say in the manner that you would like to, it might not leave you with the best feeling you could possibly have. There is only one thing to do about it. You must take control of the English language. What does taking control of the English language mean? It does not mean taking control of the entire language. It means taking control of the English language that is yours; the English language that you have. It means using the English that you already have to get more. It means taking responsibility for your own learning.
You might tell yourself that you want to have private instruction with an English language tutor. That’s a good idea. However, there is something you should know and be well aware of. What happens during the time that you meet with an English language tutor is very important, but what happens during the time between your meetings with an English language tutor is even more important. The proactive steps that you take in order to improve have a direct effect on what it is you get out of the time and money that you spend with an English language tutor. In order to receive the maximum benefit possible for the money you spend on a tutor, you must dedicate a sufficient amount of time to studying between each lesson. Of course, the amount of time that anyone is able to dedicate to studying will vary, but nevertheless, it must be done. Furthermore, there are a number of things you should do leading up to the time that you decide to pick up the phone and make that call. So you ask, what is it that I need to do? What can I do on my own?
You need to increase your vocabulary. You need to build your lexicon. You need to learn more idiomatic expressions. Does this mean studying vocabulary lists? No. Does that mean buying books that list idiomatic expressions in English and their meanings? That may or may not be helpful. Does it mean going to the Internet and studying idiomatic expressions that are listed at websites? Perhaps, but that wouldn’t be all. Does it mean learning the word of the day that is given by online dictionaries? No! You need to build a personal lexicon. You need to maintain a lexical notebook. You need to learn words and expressions that are interesting to you and will be useful to you. You need to learn words and expressions that are part of your environment. Where can you find these words and expressions? You can find them by listening to the radio, by listening to those that you speak with on a daily basis, and by even listening to those that you don’t speak with. You don’t have to converse with someone in order to listen to someone. Of course, you can find new words and expressions by choosing challenging reading material that is interesting to you: newspaper and magazine articles, books, short stories. In order to start building your new lexicon, I suggest starting by finding something to read.
Now that you have chosen something interesting to read, here is what you need to do. You need to write down the words and expressions that you don’t understand. Take note of the page number and paragraph that the words or expressions are on as you read. After you are done reading, go back to the words and expressions that you didn’t understand and write them in your lexical notebook. Leave space to write an explanation or a definition. From the context, see if you can figure out what the words or expressions mean. After you have done this, go to a dictionary. For idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs that you are unfamiliar with, I strongly recommend taking advantage of Cambridge Dictionaries Online. It is important that you practice these new words and expressions by writing your own sentences. This is helpful in incorporating them into your daily conversations and speaking habits. Don’t be overwhelmed by thinking you have to read a lot. Read what is good for you. If you come across too many words and expressions that you don’t recognize, it might be a good idea to find some less challenging reading material. What you read should be challenging, but it should not be so challenging that it might be discouraging.
Listen to the news on the radio. Listen to talk shows. Generally speaking, radio announcers that report the news speak clearly, use good vocabulary, and also use idiomatic expressions. If you have a computer, you can listen to news reports from National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation (NPR and the BBC). You can usually find a RealPlayer link to listen to news stories from both of these resources. However, listening to the radio will suffice as well. If you can, it would be a good idea to record a ten to fifteen minute segment of a news show or any broadcast that might interest you. Take note of any words or expressions that sound unfamiliar to you. Write them down in your lexical notebook. If you were able to record what you listened to, listen to it again to see if you can figure out what the new words and expressions mean through the context that they are used in. If you are unable to figure out what something means, then by all means go to a dictionary. Once again, I suggest using Cambridge Dictionaries Online for a comprehensive overview of any single word. Cambridge Dictionaries Online is a very good resource in that it demonstrates how words are used in idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs. Cambridge Dictionaries also point out any important secondary definitions that a word might have.
Pay attention to what you hear wherever you go. If you are on a bus or a train, listen to what people say and how they say it. If you are in a supermarket, a shopping mall or any other public place where you can hear others speak, open your ears and try to listen. Take note of what you hear. Jot it down in a small pocket size notebook. Later, you can add it to your lexical notebook. If you pay attention, you are eventually bound to hear at least one word or one expression that is new to you. When you hear it, write it down. Find out what it means later. Learn it. Use it.
When learning new words and expressions, it is important to take note of whether these words and expressions are used in an informal context or a formal context. Many words and expressions are used both formally and informally. If you aren’t sure of exactly how to use a new word or expression, you can try them out with work colleagues and friends. Find people to converse with. They may not be instructive in any way, but you can try out new ways to express yourself. You should also listen as closely as possible when you converse. Listen for anything that sounds different, new, or unfamiliar. If the circumstance permits, don’t be afraid to take out your pocket notebook and write it down. If you say something that isn’t quite right, the person you are speaking with might take note of it and let you know. If you aren’t sure of something you said or would like to say, then ask about it. If you hear something and you don’t know what it means, ask about that as well. Some, or even many people, may not view themselves as “teachers” per se, but most native speakers of English should be able to assist you in this manner. I believe most people would be glad to help. It is of the utmost importance to not be afraid to ask questions. That’s part of taking control of the English language. That’s part of making the English language your language. English is not your first language, but there is no reason why it cannot be your language. Get a notebook. Get something to read. Find something to listen to on the radio. Take control of the English language now.
An English Language Article by David Bloomberg Copyrighted 2003 Steven
If you’ve gone to some sites on the internet that have audio links and could not connect, it could be because you need this version of RealPlayer. It is RealOne player. I found it to be the case with me. I now have access to some audio links that I did not have before.
Listening On the Internet
Newspapers and Magazines on the Internet
ESL/EFL Reading Resources on the Internet
By Deborah Brooks
Good writing starts with good ideas. If you write about things that you care about, you will write better. If you write about things that you don’t care about, you’ll be bored and your paper is likely to have few strong ideas. Even if you are writing from a prompt, a given topic, you can find some part of the topic that is interesting or important to you.
Once you have a good idea, the next step is organization. Think through your paper before you start. Write an outline. You need to know what your main points are before you can write a good introductory paragraph. Use 2-4 main points, one paragraph each. Make sure they fit together and all relate to your topic. In the introduction, you can explain how they all relate and why they are important.
Steps to Good Writing
1. Good idea
2. Good organization
3. Clear examples
4. Review Structure
5. Review Grammar
In your central paragraphs, be concise and specific. Give examples with details, not just general ideas. If you can say the same thing with fewer words, do it! Many writers think that using lots of big words and starting every sentence with a complicated clause makes their writing seem better. Actually, it often just makes it harder to read.
When you finish writing, look at your outline again. Did you really follow it or did it change as you wrote? Many times you find different ideas as you write. Look at your central paragraphs. What are their main ideas now? Are these ideas in the Introduction? I often rewrite the introduction to fit the paper after I finish writing.
About Deborah Brooks
Deborah teaches English writing by Internet. She has been teaching ESL writing in Oakland, California for over 10 years. She is now teaching on the Internet so that she can work with students from all over the world by Email.
If you become her student, you write a short composition and send it by email. The teacher corrects your writing with many comments and sends it back to you with grammar or structure lessons as needed. You rewrite the paper and do the exercises. Your next assignment will be designed to address your individual writing problems. Each assignment is personalized to meet your needs. Many comments and corrections with long explanations will help you to improve your writing very quickly!
Students can be high beginning to very advanced. Writing can be academic, personal or for business. Send her an email to see if she can help you!
To learn more about Deborah’s writing class, go to www.yourpersonaltutor.com
Suggestions for Making It Happen
By Sheri Summers
Attending classes is only part of your English education. To become proficient in English you have to take responsibility and be active in acquiring it. You have to live and breathe English. How well you succeed is really up to you. Here are some suggestions for making English your own.
Think of English as more like an art than a science– Many people study English as if it were a math or science. They often feel they are trying to solve a problem. Yes, you can study rules, but there are often more exceptions to the rules than there are rules. This doesn’t mean you should study them, but language is living. It breathes, it moves, it grows, it changes. You have to learn to live it, to feel it in your soul. You have to make it your own. It has to become a part of you. It has to feel natural.
Don’t hold on to your dictionary so tightly– Your top priority in learning English should be to think in English. Our brains slow down when we are constantly translating English to and from our language. The first thing you should do is stop translating new words you hear directly into your native language. Most people immediately go to their electronic dictionaries when they come across something new. Don’t do it! Try this instead:
- Try to understand the new word or phrase from context. The words and ideas around them should help you make a good guess. If you still don’t understand…
- Ask someone to explain what it means in English. If you still don’t understand…
- Consult an English-English dictionary*. If you still don’t understand…
- Consult a dictionary in your own language.
* I recommend using a paper English-English dictionary. Many teachers have noticed that their students remember words much longer when they are forced to search for them in the dictionary. Also, dictionaries in book form generally give more detailed examples than electronic dictionaries.
Keep a list of new words and phrases in your own notes– Make your own vocabulary lists and review them often. Write sentences to help you remember what they mean. Use these new words and phrases in conversations and writings whenever you have a chance. The more you use the words, the more they become your own.
Surround yourself in English- Listen to radio in English; watch TV and movies in English; read newspapers, magazines, books, and the internet in English; join a class, club, or any gathering that is conducted in English. The important thing is that you are around English as much as possible. When you spend time living a language, it comes to you more naturally like it does for a child.
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