First, most of what I am about to say can be applied to almost any second language that you want to learn. In today’s times with the abundance of knowledge available throughout the internet, you could learn a language on your own by following the suggestions on line and watching enough You Tube videos, or in the case of English, watching television or Netflix.
Next, live in an English-speaking community. Although I am not a conservative, politically, yet. I do believe that we have too many communities in the US that don’t speak English, or that make it easy for the inhabitants to never ever learn English. This is a great disservice to the new immigrants and limits their rise in our society. Many of my students have lived in the US for ten years or more and haven’t made the effort to definitively learn the language. It is a question of time and money, of course. Even with the free ESOL classes at the local public schools and libraries, many immigrants never learn English. The same can be said for Americans who never learn a second language, especially Spanish!
Immersion, completely and totally if possible. You can have Sundays off for good behavior! Do not pay to receive your country’s favorite network in the US. Suffer a while until you reach at least the Upper Intermediate Level of Fluency (CEFR Level B-2)
Use as many of the various smartphone apps that you can, Babel, Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, etc. The list grows along with the methodologies. By the way, be careful with the advice that you take in life, along with the new language methods that keep popping up. Usually quantity is not as beneficial as quality. Therefore, I still tend to recommend private classes, although I am considered under suspicion according to the Brazilian culture.
Try to do your shopping in English speaking businesses, Publix, Walmart, etc. Even if someone begins to speak to you in your language, respond in English. Ask them to please speak English. If they are your compadre, they will understand your objective.
Use as many different English sites as you can. Again, be careful about which sites that you use. Sites like Quizlet or Kahoot have contributors.
Try to use the following:
Online clubs speaking with people who are learning your language.
Language schools or private teachers.
Going to church or any house of worship in English.
Watching television in English
Watching movies, series in English.
Listening to music in English
Putting stickers on everything in English
Programming all electronics in English.
Go on vacation to intensive English Language schools.
Take advantage of all free English courses in local schools, churches and libraries.
Read , Read, Read!
Never stop or give up until you are fluent and even then, practice, practice, practice!
You should never really stop learning in life, especially your second, 3rd or 4th language.
Having regular scheduled private classes.
Taking constant notes of words, expressions or slang you don’t understand.
Keeping a journal, entitle it, “Your English journey!”
There is something else that I have noticed with many of my intermediate level students. They sometimes get stuck on how to say something, the construction of a sentence or how to pronounce certain words. They end up stuttering or almost stuttering and repeating something over and over again. At times up to 10 times and end up saying what they want to say incorrectly in either case. So, my recommendation when you are in doubt on what or how to say something is to “Just Do It”, to borrow from a famous Nike advertising campaign. Sometimes it is better to make a mistake than to try and say it correctly. You must take risks, right (write LOL) or wrong, in life. We must make mistakes. I do every day when I speak Portuguese or even try to speak Spanish. Mistakes are our road to knowledge. It is good or even outstanding to make a mistake. Without mistakes we can’t learn!
People will usually get the gist of what you are trying to say and at times, they may even correct you. Take that as a compliment, a free English class. Americans want you to learn their language. Most of the time you will get a positive response. If you get a negative one, consider the source of the negativity.
In conclusion, learning English, as with learning any language is not easy. For those with scientific minds as opposed to the arts, it may be more difficult, but definitely not impossible. I have taught every type of person and from many different countries in the world. Everyone has the capability of learning a language. It just requires time, patience and at times an outstanding teacher, like the founders of BnC Languages. We are at your service whenever you have the need to learn English, Spanish, French, Portuguese or Italian. As the need arises we will add additional languages to the list.
Best of luck on your journey!
By Scott Chalom