(As recommended by the British Council)
You can become a very successful learner of English if you follow some basic rules.
1. Relax and enjoy speaking
When you use English, don’t worry about making mistakes. The chances are you will always make small mistakes when speaking a foreign language. The important thing is to learn from the mistakes you make. Babies don’t learn to walk without falling over a lot!
2. Learn about how you learn
Recent research has shown that many of us have a preferred way of learning. If you are a visual learner, you can link language to pictures and images. Watch films with subtitles, try to visualise yourself in imaginary situations speaking English, fix words with pictures in your mind If you have an auditory style, you have a ‘good ear’ for language and should listen to as much music as possible and watch films in English. If you have an analytic style, then spend time studying grammar and comparing Vietnamese with English. A learner with an interactive style needs to spend as much time as possible speaking with others, discussing language and generally working in a team. A really good learner spends time on all these styles. Yet it is a sad fact that all over the world, many people are still taught in a traditional style that favours analytic and auditory learners.
3. Learn memory techniques
There are plenty of books on how to improve your memory. It is a skill that the successful learners I know take very seriously.
4. Immerse yourself
When I was studying for my French exams at school I used to leave myself small pieces of yellow paper called post-it notes around my house! So every time I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, to the bathroom to brush, do my make up or in my bedroom to get dressed I looked at those words. Again and again and again. Once the word was fixed in my mind, I put the paper into a file that I would look through at the end of the week. This way, I learnt 10 words a day, seven days a week. So read, listen and speak English at every opportunity! The best musicians and football players practise their skill over and over. The skill of communicating in a foreign language is the same.
5. Get Connected
The internet has brought so many benefits to language learners. You can find great sites for practising grammar, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation and now, most importantly of all, speaking.
6. Learn Vocabulary systematically
Remember that learning English is not just about learning grammar. When we speak, we express most of our ideas through our choice of vocabulary, through collocations and fixed expressions. Think carefully about how you organise your notebook, don’t just write a long list of new words!
7. Get motivated: don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.
Motivate yourself and set goals or targets for yourself,. For example give yourself a time limit to reach a certain level and reward yourself when you do this. i.e have you seen a nice pair of shoes you want to buy? Well give your self a target to reach and when you do celebrate and treat yourself to those shoes. Even the satisfaction of your success can be reward enough!