ESL (English as a Second Language) – Tips for Excelling


Moving to a new country is a fun and challenging experience.  Why do I say that?  It’s fun because it’s a new adventure. It’s challenging because it means learning many new things at the same time. However, it can also be overwhelming when you are still continuing your education with a new language.  As someone who moved to the US at the age of fifteen and did not know the English language, I was overwhelmed.  I had to learn how to listen, speak, read, and write in English. Not only did I need to learn the English language in its entirety to continue my education, I also needed it to socialize and make friends. 

Think about it: it takes a person about 17 years to learn a language and to be able to speak it fluently (ages 2-18). People who learn English as a second language (ESL) do not have the entire 17 years to do so.  As a teenager, who just started high school and was adjusting, I thought it was impossible.  I only had three years until I started college. Now, 11 years later as a teacher and a writer, here’s how I survived. 

5 Easy Tips for Learning English as a Second Language

  1. Watch Movies with English Subtitles

If you like to watch movies, you are in luck. Watching movies with English subtitles is the greatest and easiest way to start learning English. Pick any movie that you enjoy. You may start with watching movies in your primary language with English subtitles, and then you can continue to watch movies in English with English subtitles. 

If you find the words are too hard to understand, start with easier movies like cartoons for kids. The words used in cartoons are easier to understand for beginners. This will help you understand the meaning of the words, the spellings, the pronunciations, and their usage.

  1. Listen to Your Favorite Songs and Sing Along

This is the next easiest way to learn English as a second language.  Listen to your favorite songs.  Make sure these songs are in English, and then try to sing along. This can help you with pronunciation and fluency. 

  1. Read Anything and Everything

Read anything that you can understand: directions, brochures, magazines, comic books, picture books, story books, etc. Reading is a great way to build your vocabulary.

  1. Write, Write, Write Again 

Write anything, starting with a diary. Write how you feel about the movies you watch, the books you read, your friends and family, etc. Use your own words and do not stop if you are forgetting some words. Spell them as best as you can.  Try to reread what you write to yourself and fix mistakes.

  1. Do Not Be Shy to Talk and Do Not Be Afraid to Make Mistakes

One thing that is easily forgotten while learning English as a second language is that the people around you understand that you are still learning. Because of this, many ESL learners feel intimidated to talk to people.  Many of them are shy and scared to make mistakes, forgetting that the only way to socialize is to talk to other people. Practice with your English as a second language teacher, as well as family or friends.

What do you think? Do you have any other suggestions for learning English as a second language?

Author: Elaine Timbuleng, Writer at MathWizard, Inc.



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