Hello, my dear students! I am writing this post since many of you ask the same question – How can you improve your English by yourself?
First of all, I have to disappoint you – learning any language is not easy and it takes a lot of time. Even as native speakers, young children need to be immersed in the language and listen silently for at least a year. This process is called language acquisition.
According to the CEFR standard, in order to progress through 2 levels, the student will need many hours of guided learning. To progress from A2 to B1, a student will have to have approximately 350 to 400 guided learning hours.
To progress from B1 to B2, a student will have to have approximately 500 to 600 guided learning hours. One year has 50 to 51 weeks. An average student is willing to have a maximum of 3 lessons per week, which adds up to 150 classes in a year if the student has regular, continuous classes. In order to truly progress from A2 to B2, the student will need at least 3 years of guided lessons.
It is a little-known fact that it is the hardest to progress from A2 to B2, and most learners get stuck in between these levels since this transition requires a lot of knowledge. This phenomenon is called the intermediate plateau.
However, not all students are the same, and the standard is made from statistical data. In order to learn better, learning must continue after the lesson is over. Always think of your English lessons as a nice chatroom where you can ask any questions about how to continue your self-studies.
Here are some simple tips you can use to get ready for learning and improve your English by yourself:
BE RELAXED – your teacher is your friend, not a demon sent on Earth to torture you into good speaking. Jokes aside, try to be relaxed. It is easier said than done, but when you are relaxed, you will talk more and learn more.
Be prepared to study hard – and when I say hard, I really mean it. Language learning takes up a lot of energy and time.
Use your body clock – do not have lessons when you are tired or sleepy. You will not learn effectively and you will be disappointed in your progress.
There is no BAD activity – WHATEVER you do with a foreign language helps your learning and it can improve your English! Let that be your biggest motivation to surround yourself with English.
Don’t be afraid of technology – technology is your biggest friend! Google away and click on any link that attracts your attention.
Some planning tips
Focus on pronunciation from the beginning – pronunciation can be a big problem. Sometimes we have to unlearn what we learned before. Surround yourself with English – listen to the radio while you take a shower, turn on a movie channel while you cook. Try to be around English even in the silliest moments.
Set up specific goals – long-term VS short-term – Baby steps! A long-term goal would be to improve speaking. Short-term goals are individual for each student, and you should set one for yourself every week. For example, practice discussing a specific topic, learning how to use a phrasal verb in different situations and so on.
Small chunks of knowledge – this connects to the previously written tip. Divide your short-term goals into 15 or 30-minute self-study sessions. Read, listen or practice pronunciation in short time intervals.
Don’t hurry to move up a level – concentrate on the level you are at now. Keep in mind that it takes longer to improve when your level is high. Usually, the fastest progress is made when we are beginners. Don’t think that you’re suddenly not learning anymore, it’s just less noticeable progress.
Keep a learning journal – write down what you learned today in a document or use online flashcards. Copy-paste the vocabulary into one and grammar in another. This way you can access the information the teacher wrote during your lesson easily. All of my students create their personal flashcard vocabularies and then we share them and everyone can reuse the links. This is a proven method to improve your English and learn new words quickly. Take a look at the link at the bottom of the page to get a special 550-word vocabulary!
Some motivational tips
The more you practice the quicker you’ll learn – the phrase ”Practice makes perfect” is 100% true. I have been studying English for 19 years and I still learn new things with you in every lesson!
Keep it up! If you take a break from speaking English, you will find that your level decreases and all your hard work has been wasted.
Make it fun – enjoy your learning sessions and you will stop being a student – you will become an active participant in the English speaking world. Learning does not have to make you sweat and stressed – you can learn by playing video games or even shopping online.
Finally, take a look at this video where I explain the methods used in my online IELTS preparation program. This program is not open for the public as I created it for an IELTS preparation center for Nigeria, but if you are interested in taking lessons with me, using the same interactive methods, write via the contact form or directly on my Preply profile.
If you wish to join Preply and have lessons with ANY TUTOR for ANY LANGUAGE, click on this link and make a new student profile on Preply to get a 30% discount on your first package! If you wish to use this link and have lessons with me, you need to find me on the platform by searching for Serbian tutors/IELTS preparation.
Questions to think about and tasks for readers:
- Which method do you think is best for you?
- Is there something from this list you are already doing successfully?
- What motivates you to learn English?
- What is the best way for you to learn? (Not just English, but learning in general?)
- Identify all the phrases used in this text and write them down!
- If you are interested to read the story of a girl who started learning Swedish at the age of 19, click here.
Finally, here is a present for all English learners!
If you are interested in getting a 550-word English flashcard vocabulary created for levels B1, B2, C1, and C2, watch a demo video to see how it works and subscribe below! A proven way to reuse vocabulary and improve your English!
I hope this post helps your learning and motivates you to move forward! Keep up the amazing work and enjoy your learning sessions! Write down your opinion or questions in the comments. 🙂