The year 2020 was full of challenges, and yet, it gave us the time and the opportunity to pick up new skills or to sharpen the ones we already have. Experts reckon it's always a good idea to regularly evaluate your learning path, and find new ways of achieving your learning goals. So if you think you've reached a saturation point in your English language learning journey, here are some top tips to help you level-up your language game this year:
1. Develop your vocabulary - This may sound clichéd, but enhancing word power is the key. Widening the range of your vocabulary is very important. Try to watch different types of content instead of watching similar types. For example, if you like dinosaurs, don’t always watch dinosaur shows. Try to widen your horizon by watching other types of shows. For example, underwater, adventure, fantasy shows on different topics, is a wonderful supply of new ideas, words/phrases, content and so on. Use this resource from our LearnEnglish website to level up your phrasal verbs.
2. Learn to understand different types of accents - Almost 20% of the world’s population speak English. Since it is such a widely spoken language in the world, there are a plethora of accents. You must familiarise yourself with English in different accents. Try to watch films from different parts of the English-speaking world instead of just watching American films. So, if you were facing problems in having a conversation with someone who has a different English accent or someone who speaks quickly, you now know how to cope with the situation. Watching the cricket commentary or Masterchef Australia (junior) or even a British show like The Big Fib are some recommendations of shows with different accents. Here is a list of the top Netflix shows for kids.
3. Keep practicing - Our tongue is a type of muscle that needs training and practice in order to speak eloquently. Try coming up with a word of the day, and then try to use it as often as possible. Try not to waste time on extremely specific words you will never actually use. Instead, focus on conversational English which is likely to be relevant in everyday life- both personal and professional. Make use of every opportunity to speak in English. Don’t be scared of making mistakes. Record yourself and check your progress. A very important tip for parents is NOT to correct their kids when they make errors.
4. Follow your curiosity - Encourage your child to ask a lot of questions and try to find the answers together. Think about why a particular phrase is used in a particular way and what could be the other possibilities. Do your research online wisely. There are lots of resources, but it is important to go with the authentic ones. This search engine by Google is the kids friendly version and blocks sensitive content.
5. Experiment with advanced grammar structures - sometimes we tend to take the easier way out and keep using the same sentence structures that we are comfortable with. The use of simple past and present seems to be our top choice. However, don’t be afraid to use more advanced structures like conditional statements and narrative tenses. The future aspect can be further developed by using a variety of ways to express probability.
The key is to experiment and not be afraid to try and use a higher level of language. Let the new year give you the confidence to be ok with making errors and learning from them. It’s a great time to set yourself language goals – invest a few minutes each day in enriching your English and make it count.
- by Snigdha Sinha, Teacher, British Council