Friday, August 22, 2008

Learning ESL: Tips for Students

One recent visitor ask me about my teaching style and philosophy on language learning, and I wanted to share my own personal views on the subject. I always discuss these points with my students right from the beginning of class to give them some perspective on learning:

1. Just because you live in a country where English is the main language does not mean you will learn it. In other words, some parents believe that if they send their children to the US, the students will somehow automatically learn the language. Unfortunately, I have many students who come to class, but then spend their time in their apartments after class, by themselves or with students from their country, and they never get out into the community to use English. And when I say "use" English, just going to McDonalds and buying a cheeseburger everyday doesn't count. Some of my students who made the best progress volunteered in the community, go a job on campus, and took community classes to really use their English beyond the classroom.

2. Learning English takes time, and you will have good days and bad days. Some students become frustrated when they don't learn as quickly as they expect. Students learn differently, and not giving up is key.

3. Learn how to study. Hours spent in the library without a clear understanding of study skills won't help much. I always try to teach my students HOW to learn, including tips on how to best learn vocabulary and other skills. Without this knowledge, students tend to waste time not realizing that they might be more effective ways of learning than they are currently using.

So, do you have any comments or experiences that have helped you learn? If so, please share them.



  1. Dear Randall
    You talk about tips to learn English, but you did not give anyone; could you inform us, real tips to learn appropiately English
    From Medellin - colombia

  2. yes
    can you talk about your way to learn vocabulary?
    And other skills?

  3. Dear Randall
    I'm very glad when visit your blog because it very helpful. I agree that if we want to learn enlish well, we must practice more and more, ex : talk with English partner, join in activities of community...But I'm living in Asia, although i try to learn English but don't have much chance to practice. In my case, which is the best way to improve English skill ?

  4. hello, I think if you don't have any chance to speak english. Try to listening and practice by yourself. speaking slowly and reading loud. Practice and practice more, and you will realize something change....^ ^ (I'm living in Asia too)

  5. Dear Randall
    Your blog is full of good ideas. It is true if you can learn very well English it isn't necessary to live in England or US. It is really important to don't give up. I'm Czech and although I've been learning English for three years I'm still a beginner. Very often I visit the website www-helpforenglish-cz. It is very a very good website. And the author these website Mr. Marek Vit although he never studied English abroad he can speak English really very well.
    Regards winetu


Thanks for posting a comment. I appreciate your interesting in sharing your ideas.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.