This post is from our E4 teacher, Mary Staub. Mary shares some language learning strategies she’s used. We also get to watch a video of her students sharing their favorite tips to improve their English. Read and watch below, then share some of your favorite ways to practice English in the comments section:
Foreign languages have always been part of my life.
I grew up bilingually, speaking Swiss German and English since childhood, and started learning French and Spanish during high school. More recently, I’ve tried to start learning Arabic. Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different language learning strategies to help me improve more quickly.
For example, when I was living in Seville, Spain, for eight months during college, I looked for opportunities to meetSpanish people and took part in all the town festivals. I also joined a Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) group while I was there, where all of the members spoke only Spanish. This forced me to use Spanish all the time and helped me become more fluent. Another thing I did was take dance classes from a teacher who spoke only Spanish. All her instructions were in Spanish so I had to learn to understand.
Another thing I did and continue to do is to read as much as possible in Spanish or French. I read books, newspapers, or anything else that I am interested in. I look up the words that I don’t understand and seem important. Then I write the ones I want to remember in a journal so I can review them. I also sometimes make flashcards, especially at the beginning when I’m learning a new language. That’s what I did when I started learning Arabic.
I also practice using new words and phrases by imagining little conversations where I can use them or I’ll try to start ‘thinking’ in the language. I often do this when I’m taking the subway or riding my bike and have time to let my mind wander.
Watch the video to hear about the language learning strategies that some of my E4 students use. Then add a comment to share some of your own strategies.