One of the questions that we get asked the most at English Ninjas is: How do we study English effectively?
Honestly, there isn’t just one answer to this great question. People have different learning styles and not every formula works for everyone the same. The best thing to do is take all of the examples that I have provided below and test each one to find the best result for yourself and keep going down that path.
Some people say you should work on your weaknesses, but honestly that never works. You should go with the flow and use the method that works with your personality, learning style, and which ever one lets you have the most fun. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point of doing it?
1. Find a native speaker
This is the best way to learn English. If you are in university, find the expat student who came from an English speaking country and make friends with them. Since they don’t know your native language, you will be forced to step outside of your comfort zone and start speaking. The more time you spend with this person, the more confidence you will gain in your English speaking abilities.
You’re not in school anymore and finding someone around your neighborhood is difficult? The internet is always there for you. Use social media to find people who you can have conversations with in English. This way is more effective for improving your English writing and spelling if that is your concern. Besides standard social media, you can also use video games. Most video games these days let you speak with other players that are in the game using a headset. You can improve your English specific to the style of game you are playing. Not only will this help your English speaking practice, but it will also help you think and strategize differently. For example, if you are playing Counter Strike or COD, you can speak with your team mates.
2. Watch television and movies
Now, I know what you’re thinking and that is “But Kagan, we already watch American and British tv shows and movies, but my English speaking hasn’t gotten anywhere. That is ok. Until today, you haven’t used this medium as a way to improve yourself. It has only been for entertainment. Now that you have your goal of improving your English, you can be more mindful when watching your favorite programs.
When starting to watch these shows and movies with your intent to learn, I recommend watching something that is suitable for your level of English speaking and understanding ability. In the beginning you should watch shows and movies that you have already seen before without subtitles. Since you have already watched it atleast once before, you are familiar with the theme and will not get lost. You can pause the stream, rewind, and repeat as many times as you like. You can write down everything the characters are saying while taking note of the atmosphere. Another thing to do in addition to listening, watching, and writing is immitation.
Immitation is the best way to know when and how to use English phrases. Speaking any language is very easy. There are set responses for most everything that is being said in daily conversation.
When you immitate the characters you see on the screen, you hear the volume at which they speak, their attitudes when using certain words, and can see their body language. Once you train yourself to act and react the way the actors do, you will be more convincing when using those words yourself.
For example for the introduction Hello, How are you? There are many ways to respond however, most people just use the same ones.
- Hello, How are you?
- I’m good.
- I’m good thanks.
- I’m fine.
- Not too bad.
- Not good.
In reponse to this you can say.
- How about you?
- How are you?
To a certain extent, you are just memorizing and practicing responses and the best way to learn more phrases and responses is through movies.
If your favorite shows are too complex for learning at this stage, I recommend watching childrens television and cartoons. Cartoons use simple vocabulary and they use a lot of repetition in order for the viewers to understand. Please note that this is for beginners. We do not want you to get bored.
3. Read books and articles
Whichever country you are in, you can find the classics in many different levels. From beginners to the original, you can find the classics. I’m not sure about foreign currency exchange in your country, but books from overseas in Istanbul can be very expensive so if you are on a budget, the classics are the way to go. These books sometimes have exercises and explanations of themes in the book as your read along so you don’t get confused and can get a deeper understanding.
Reading books will improve your vocabulary if you read them correctly. You don’t want to pick books that are too complicated. Self improvement books are always a good source of easy reading material and they have a lot of repetition.
4. Go to an English speaking country
This one is obvious and the most expensive. If and when you go to a place like America, as long as you don’t find anyone from the same country as you, you will have no choice but to speak English. Submerge yourself in the culture and speak with everyone when you’re there. Be the tourist you are and practice your English on unsuspecting locals. They’ll have no idea what’s coming to them.
5. Subscribe to English Ninjas!!
The best way to study English effectively is with a native tutor and English Ninjas is the place with the best English tutors. You can do all of the things I mentioned above and so much more with live tutors 24/7. How do you get started with English Ninjas? Just click the button below and start your English speaking practice today.