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How to Learn English Outside of the Classroom

How to Learn English Outside of the Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Learning English outside of the classroom can be a great way to practice and improve your language skills, especially if you don't have access to traditional language schools or classes. Whether you are a visual learner who benefits from colorful illustrations and pictures, an auditory learner who thrives on listening to spoken English, or someone who prefers the support and encouragement of friends, there are many different ways to learn and practice English at home.

Table of Contents

IN CLASS VS AT HOME

KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLE

DON’T UNDERATE A FRIEND

ENVIRONMENT MATTERS

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

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Additionally, immersing yourself in an English-speaking environment and participating in activities and events can be a fun and engaging way to improve your language skills. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best ways to learn and practice English outside of the classroom and how to find the right approach for you.

IN CLASS VS AT HOME

There is no denying that students learn the right English structure and get amazing support from their ESL teachers in class. In fact, as a non-native English speaker from Vietnam, I spent more than a decade in grade school studying vocabulary and grammar tests which helped me survive in American colleges later on.

In many developed countries, English classes are very well equipped with excellent teaching materials which give learners many opportunities to develop a second language. However, it is not always the case.

Differing from those who can afford lessons at language schools, many less fortunate families in the countryside in Vietnam are doing the best of their ability to send their kids to regular public school. However, there are many good ways to learn and practice English at home and at a very low cost.

After school, it should be noted that it is very important to practice English at home on a regular basis if speaking fluent English is their goal. Without a doubt, students tend to stick with anything funny, exciting, and interesting enough to have their attention.

KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLE

Most young children are excited to watch funny cartoons and hilarious kids' shows which never seem to get boring. Visual learners not only memorize way better by looking at colorful and beautiful images but retain new vocabulary associated with images and pictures for a longer time. The University of Cambridge has published many books with illustrations to teach young learners nouns, verbs, sports, grammar as well as reading. Comic books are also highly recommended by an amazing 9.0 IELTS Vietnamese teacher in Vietnam who dedicated his life to teaching English.

Students with an auditory learning style study most effectively by listening. Whether it is a loving lullaby in English or a historic speech by Martin Luther King, it is a great way to expose yourself to new vocabulary. You might wonder why it works like a charm. If a TV show or a thriller helps learners remember new vocabulary faster, what would be a good reason to not take advantage of the big entertainment industry?

DON’T UNDERATE A FRIEND

In truth, everyone does things differently and the same applies to learning English. Years ago, I was told by my very first EFL tutor to get a native English-speaking boyfriend and practice English conversation with him. I took her words seriously but turned out he was not really what I wished for. It was not the wisest decision made at the age of 19 hoping he is not reading this. However, we still keep a good relationship and each of us has grown so much throughout the years telling each other countless unsolicited advice in English which became a part of my English learning journey

I then came to realize that having a good friend not only open up my heart, but my communication in English has gotten far better than 15 years ago. Years later now, I would tell my younger self to surround myself with supportive friends who don’t judge me for my EFL mistakes but show me how to go beyond my wildest dreams

ENVIRONMENT MATTERS

15 years ago, I was lucky enough to get accepted into an amazing English intensive program at City College of San Francisco where there was not a dull moment. The wonderful instructors encouraged EFL learners not to feel hesitant to speak up and show confidence even when there is none of that in them. Little did I know encouraging words not only took away my shyness but I became a brave risk taker. Sometimes, it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and grow so the fun can begin

With all the fun outdoor activities and attractive events always going on in the beautiful city of San Francisco, I felt the need to satisfy your curiosity and a sense of wonder became so real. My enthusiastic activity coordinator gathered all of her International students from all over the world a couple of times a week to explore what a very diverse city has to offer. We walked across the Golden Gate bridge with breathtaking views as well as indulged in the most delicious ice cream near the Sausalito ferry building. Prior to that trip, phrasal verbs did not exist in my vocabulary but I now know how to use “ walk across” in communication and writing.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

If you ever watched the most tremendous athletes in the world, they are respected for their mentality and known for they never give up mindset. There are good days when they win every single game, and oftentimes, they always come back stronger after a setback. There is no difference in English practice.

If you read or write or listen or communicate in English day in, and day out, what you will see is that it can only get better and better. Acquiring a new language may take more patience and effort for older adults. Remember a newborn baby needs to listen to their parents first and then mumble for the first few years of their life before giving a full speech

Sometimes you have to want it for yourself as much as athletes want to win a championship. Determination along with motivation and inspiration will take you to where you want to be. Especially when no teachers are around to encourage you or your English courses end, it is your non-stop practice that builds confidence because you now master one more language that you could not before. Whether it’s 20-minute practice a day or 2 hours a week, baby steps are what counts.

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