By Ashlesha Rodrigues Dsouza

20 October 2021 - 10:08am

‘We could all get by with a little help from our friends’ said The Beatles, a world-famous band. That’s what we’re here for, to give you a little help on your learning journey, whether it is help with business writing, preparing for the IELTS test or improving your grammar. There is a wealth of reliable resources available for adults, teens and children alike. What’s more they are free for you to access anytime, anywhere!

A one-stop shop for all your learning needs

Language learning is a process. We need to listen, read, speak and write in order to communicate effectively in a new language. The British Council’s free English learning resources will help you develop all these skills and more. So take your pick and enjoy learning with us!

The self-study lessons online are designed based on the levels set by the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). Taking a free online test will help you decide which level is best for you. Right from beginners (CEFR level A1) to advanced (CEFR level C1), British Council LearnEnglish website has something for every English language learner. You can improve your everyday English and practice the language you need for conversations and socialising through interactive activities. In the process, you will also build your vocabulary, brush up your grammar and develop comprehension skills.

Step into the Magazine zone to develop reading skills while learning about global issues, special days and festivals. Watch YouTube videos in the Video zone and get better at understanding different accents and speakers, as well as learn a range of colloquial and idiomatic language in context. And who doesn’t love stories! You can get lost in the Story zone with short entertaining stories about vampires, stars and falling in love.

For all you gamers out there, try our vocabulary games online. Wordshake and Sushi Spell will get you practising your vocabulary and spelling. Watch out, they can be quite addictive! English learning can definitely be fun.

Interactive, fun activities for children

The way we learn as children is vastly different from how we learn as adults. Children need stories, colourful pictures, funny videos, something to click, something to colour, and a high score to win. Let them hang out with Hero the hamster or Kitty and her adorable grandmother to learn tenses and prepositions. They will have fun with tongue twisters in English improving their pronunciation as they go along.

The LearnEnglishKids website takes children on a journey around the world, introducing them to bugs and insects, sea creatures and monsters too. What more do you need to engage your children and get them to learn grammar, vocabulary, and spelling at the same time! The website also provides free downloadable worksheets. So, you can print them out and have your children work on them offline instead of them being glued to ascreen.

True-life experiences for teens

As teenagers, we want nothing more than to get real. Language learning happens best through reality TV shows, parties, and themes of love and friendship. All you teens, get your fill of ‘Grammar snacks’ learning tenses and relative clauses by travelling to Dubai, Bali, Peru and even the Australian Outback, all through the LearnEnglishTeens website. You can take a break from studying and listen to news about influencers on social media or about a doctor who handles patients by day and is a rap singer by night! Engaging language exercises will help you get a bite of vocabulary and think critically about important life questions!

If you are tearing your hair out with discursive or descriptive essays for school, the British Council’s free LearnEnglish resources are just what you need. You will find step by step instructions to help you write that perfect essay. Crack those reading and writing exams too with the exam tips and practice on the website.

Prepare for the ‘world of work’ by learning how to write formal emails, describe bar charts or prepare for interviews with the British Council LearnEnglish Teens. You could have asked for a better friend and guide!

Business English for professionals

English is the lingua franca that is used by business professional across the globe. For many skilled professionals, Business English is the bridge to an international career or that much-needed promotion. How can you deliver that killer presentation, write that well-structured report or negotiate confidently to close that deal? Effective business communication is vital in today’s workplace. You can access a plethora of resources on the British Council’s LearnEnglish Business English pages.

Learning Business English online offers you the flexibility to develop your English language skills on your own time. You will be able to converse confidently at the office or in other business environments once you understand the what and how of business communication.

Start off with a bit of reading and master skills the skills of skimming and scanning to read more effectively. Listening to Business English podcasts will help you get familiar with different accents and help you improve your pronunciation too. Learn e new vocabulary and formal phrases while you read and listen, and add them to your language repertoire, your memory bank of words and phrases. Practice writing formal emails and describing graphs to help you become a confident business professional building strong relationships with your peers and clients. 

Techniques for test takers

Need that golden IELTS score to get into that coveted university? Looking to start a new life in another country? Whether you are doing the IELTS General Training or Academic test, you can find out about all your need and more on the TakeIELTS website. It is important that you first understand the test format and the grading system. A few short videos will help you figure out how IELTS works and understand each element in the IELTS band descriptions.

Snapshot of an activity from the Learn English Kids website
Snapshot of IELTS practice activities available on TakeIELTS Website

Then, get down to business and work on your listening, reading, writing and speaking with the free preparation materials and practice tests. You have an hour each to complete your British council free online English tests for reading and writing and 30 minutes for the Listening test. Make sure you stick to the allocated time during the practice tests to get a realistic idea of your progress. Check the sample answers later to see how you could improve your score. You can also attend our free IELTS webinars and get a study pack to help you get the score you need.

Despite all the preparation, I’m sure your nerves can still get the better of you. Why not get some expert advice live on Facebook to calm your fears! These interactive sessions happen regularly so make sure to mark the date and time on your calendar. Don’t forget to read the test day advice on each aspect of the IELTS test, and get last minute tips from the British Council before you leave for your test!

Apps for everyone

There are some great apps on the British Council’s LearnEnglish website that help you become competent in English. Improve your listening and pronunciation with popular podcasts. There are new podcasts added each week on a range of topics from language learning to world news. You can share the episodes you love with your friends too via Facebook or Twitter. What is more, the episodes can be downloaded for offline listening in case you have connectivity trouble or want to listen on-the-go. There are simple exercises at the end of each podcast if you fancy a bit of English language practice after watching the episode.

If you are up for some grammar gaming, why not take a shot at Johnny’s grammar word challenge! Select from one of the 12 grammar topics including prepositions, irregular verbs and more, and compete with fellow language learners across the globe. A little gaming always puts the fun into learning!

Take your grammar learning to the next level with the LearnEnglish Grammar app, which was rated the number one free educational mobile app. Access over 1000 practice questions to achieve better grammar accuracy through unique activities, including fill-in-the-blanks, reordering words and labelling. Download the apps easily from the Google Play or from the Apple Store.

The LearnEnglish Kids: Playtime app has a 100 quality animated songs and stories grouped into themes like Fairy Tales and classic Children’s Songs to engage and motivate children to learn English and get confident in using the language. Parents, you can view your child’s progress in the app to see how your child is doing in individual activity. This will help you support your child in areas where they need it. Children are the best mimics, and the LearnEnglish Kids website monopolises on this unique characteristic to help children learn pronunciation. Every video therefore has a listen-and-record activity at the end that encourages a child to mimic the narrator’s pronunciation and record it. Listening to their recording and comparing it with that of the narrator will help them compare and learn. So let them learn English online at home or on the go with this exciting app!

For test takers, the free IELTS Prep mobile app helps you tackle the test with confidence. It gives you instant access to a free practice tests, vocabulary practice, and grammar tips. You can go through the sample questions for all four skills at your own pace on your mobile phone while travelling or relaxing.

Other interesting resources

Tune in to the English Channel to learn English or build your career skills. Watch and learn from the free interactive videos and engage with the content through the questions on the screen.

Another great way to work on your language skills is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), . You can register for the British Council’s MOOCs on FutureLearn and access some courses free for a fixed duration. The courses have activities that you need to complete each week and you can navigate through the course to check upcoming activities as well as catch up on work in case you are starting the course late. Each week has you watching videos, listening to audio, reading articles as well as doing short quizzes to help you check your understanding. You interact with educators and peers from all over the globe through forums and discussions making it an enriching learning experience. If you need course certificate, you can upgrade your account to get both a soft copy and physical copy. It is a very useful way to upskill from the comfort of your home.

Get a fresh new perspective on education and culture from across the globe with the British Council Voices Magazine and practice your reading skills too! There are articles for parents ‘Ten ways to support your child’s English-learning at home’, and information for learners ‘Five essential listening skills for English learners’ as well as advice for teachers ‘Nine ways to use emojis in the English classroom’.

What are you waiting for? You have a world of free resources at your doorstep. Don’t wait, get started today!


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