If you want to improve your English speaking, writing, listening or reading there are many quick activities you can do today (and everyday!) that will help you improve your fluency and build your confidence. Try to spend at least 5-10 mins doing something to improve your English everyday. It won’t take long before you’ll notice things become easier.
Improve your Grammar
- English Grammar in Use (Raymond Murphy) – this book is available as a download or hard copy. Identify the areas you need to improve and try to complete a unit every day.
- British Council Grammar – a great online resource.
Practice using English everyday
- Read or listen to an article/talk from a trusted source (ABC, BBC, Ted). After, write a few sentences to explain what you’ve read. You can give your opinion on the article/talk. I love to listen to Ted while preparing my dinner at night. It’s a great way to relax at the end of the day!
- Watch a TV show or documentary (without subtitles) and afterwards, write a short summary to explain what the show or documentary was about. While you’re watching, write down any vocabulary or phrases you don’t understand and look them up in the dictionary afterwards. Then, you can watch the show again with subtitles and see how much you understood. The more you do this, the sooner you’ll realise how much your understanding has increased.
- Read a recipe in English and try to understand it. Then, watch the video and see if you can understand more. Write down any new vocabulary or phrases.
- Try to write instructions to help someone from another culture learn how to make a typical dish from your country. Maybe make a video to help! Send it to a friend and ask if they can understand it. I always love to receive these videos. If you share yours, I will always offer feedback.
- Learn a new dance or workout by listening to the instructions in English (e.g. YouTube) and following the video. Write down any new vocabulary or phrases.
- Try to write instructions to help someone from another culture learn how to do a dance from your culture. Maybe make a video to help! Send it to a friend and ask if they can understand it. I always love to receive these videos. If you share yours, I will always offer feedback.
- Write about a place you’d like to visit. Why?
- Write about a person you admire or want to meet. Why?
- Write a journal to practice using new vocabulary, different tenses and other grammatical concepts everyday. It’s also a great way to keep track of how you’re feeling. You can write about what you did yesterday, what you want to do today or plan to do tomorrow or in the future. You can describe something that made you happy e.g. watching a TV series/cooking something/a workout etc. Then, try to explain more about it. Maybe, the TV show made you laugh? Maybe, next time you make the same recipe you’ll change something? Maybe, there were parts of the workout you found easy or difficult?
- Learn an English song you like and identify any words or phrases you don’t understand. Then, listen to the song and try to sing along. Listen carefully to the pronunciation. Try to record yourself singing and listen to any words or sounds you need to improve.
- Make a video of you preparing your lunch or dinner. Explain each step carefully and use as much description as you can. Listen to your video and identify any words or sounds that you need to improve. Ask a friend if you can send them the video to listen to and try to get some feedback.
- Make a video of yourself giving a family member in another country a tour of your home. Describe each room and try to use as much vocabulary as you can.
- Think about how you can introduce yourself to others either at Uni or at work. To get started, write a few sentences about yourself including your name, your background, interests and experience. Then, practice reading what you’ve written out loud. When you feel ready, try saying it without looking at your notes. Finally, record yourself and listen to it. Can you identify any mistakes? Can you improve it? Give it another go!
Remember, learning a language should always be fun. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s ok to make mistakes and not understand everything. I grew up in London, England and sometimes I can’t understand other native English speakers!
The more you practice, the easier it will be. I hope you try some of these ideas and have fun improving your English!