So, you’ve decided that you want to improve your English. The question is where do you begin? Learning English can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t have any specific learning goals in mind. Here are some tips to help get you off to the right start, and stay on track as you go.
Why are you learning English?
Everyone has their own reasons to learn English. What are yours? Think about the English skills you already have and the ones you want. Do you work as an accountant? Learn accounting English terms. Are you planning on traveling to London? Include some London slang in your plan! Be specific. Determining your motivation will help you focus your studies more effectively on the areas you want to improve the most.
Define the skills you find difficult.
If the reason you’re studying is “to improve my English,” it’s time to get specific! Identify which of the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) is most important one for you to learn, or the one you find most difficult. Concentrating on different skills helps you stay focused. For example, if you want to speak to native English speakers with confidence, focus on your speaking skills. This is an example of along-term goal - a specific skill that you would like to master over time.
One day at a time.
You also need to have short-term goals – specific goals you want to accomplish by the end of the day or the week. For example, if you learned a new English idiom, your goal for the day would be to use that idiom in a conversation. Or, if you are interested in a certain topic, learning 10 related vocabulary words would be a suitable goal.
Keep a record.
You should keep a journal to record your goals. Write down your short-term goal at the beginning of each day. At the end of the day, record any difficulties you came across when trying to achieve that goal. Meeting goals you’ve set for yourself can increase your confidence and help you see your progress!
How do you learn best?
Knowing how you learn best and using those methods to study is one step towards achieving your goals. Make sure you study in a way that is fun and effective for you. If English was boring, nobody would want to speak it!