Do you have English lessons? Have you ever wondered how you can get the most out of your classes? Keep reading for my top ten tips on how to maximise your learning.
1. Why have lessons?
If possible, find a class or a teacher to give you private lessons. You can learn on your own but most people find the routine of regular lessons helps them to stay motivated. Classes push you to study and do your homework and you might learn more with a teacher than on your own. Also a teacher can help you identify what you need to do in order to progress.
2. Your partner
Most English classes include pair work so talk to your partner as much as possible. Some students think that they can only learn by talking to the teacher and some even think that they will learn their partner's mistakes. This isn't true. You can learn from your partner and by practising together. Listen to your teacher, of course, but also listen to your classmates.
3. Be an active learner
Notice new words and interesting grammar constructions. Make notes. Ask the teacher questions when you don't understand something. Do your homework. Don't expect learning to be automatic just by being there.
4. Avoid distractions
Put your phone away when you're not using it so you are not distracted! It's better if you put it in your bag or pocket so you can't even see it. If it's on your desk, you will wonder if you've had any messages but if you put it away, you can forget about it and focus on the class. And of course, it must be on silent so it doesn't disturb you, your classmates or the teacher.
5. Between lessons
Use English between lesson times as much as possible as well as in class. Talk to friends in English, watch films in English, read books or newspapers, and so on. If you only use your own language outside class, you won't learn as fast.
6. What do you enjoy?
Find things that you enjoy. If you like sport, read about sport in English and join a team. If you like films, watch them in English. If you like social media, read and comment in English. If you like music, listen to English songs.
7. A good dictionary
You need a good dictionary for lessons and self study. Be careful with Google Translate. It's not always correct. Find a dictionary app or website. Ask your friends what they use. I like Word Reference. If your English is a higher level, try an English only dictionary, such as Macmillan, Cambridge or Longman. Some teachers are happy for you to use a dictionary in class and others prefer you to ask when you don't understand. Find out what your teacher's style is.
8. Review, review, review
Don't expect to remember everything from your lesson. You have to study your lesson notes when you get home and again before a test. It's especially important to review vocabulary. Have you got a vocabulary notebook? Write the words down that you want to learn, in English on one side and in your language on the other. Cover one side and test yourself.
9. Look after yourself
It might sound obvious but eat properly and get the sleep you need. Students who sleep well and eat breakfast are more ready to learn than those who go to bed late, oversleep, skip breakfast and arrive late for class.
10. After your course
When your course finishes, keep practising your English or you will forget it! Keep in touch with your classmates by email, phone, social media or WhatsApp. Use the internet to keep studying - see this post for ideas. You've spent a lot of time and money learning English and it would be very sad if you forgot it all!
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