‘Tips from our teachers’ is a regular series we run on our blog where we ask our teachers to shares tips and advice on improving their language skills.
Use materials that are engaging and interesting to each individual student
Authentic material in the media is readily available and you can customise that to suit your student. I also like to use creative techniques which attract the student’s attention by using humorous expressions and colloquial language which they can use to communicate with friends and use in their everyday lives. My teaching method involves using interactive activities so that the student becomes involved and learns more easily from the lesson.
Listen to different accents to gain confidence
Students can improve their own accent by listening to the radio or watching English films or soap operas which have English native speakers with different accents. They can also download applications such as the Cambridge English pronouncing dictionary.
Listening to the radio or watching television programs with different accents can help in recognising minor differences in the way the same words are spoken. They can also improve by practicing with a friend or student at the same level so that you can communicate freely without feeling self-conscious.
Spend just 10 minutes a day learning new vocabulary
I advise students to build on their own vocabulary list by writing new words in a book, which can be illustrated with either drawings or photographs. I’ll advise them just to spend 10 minutes a day looking at the written word, practicing the pronunciation, spelling, and meanings so that they can use the words in the correct context.
This should become a daily habit for the student so that they can practice at their own pace and improve their confidence in speaking.
Getting lost will improve your language skills
I find the best way to learn a language is through the need to communicate effectively with native speakers. So, for example getting lost in the street can be a great thing because you have to ask a stranger for directions and can end up having a conversation with them. Speaking a little bit with a native speaker every day will mean that pretty soon nobody feels uncomfortable making mistakes and can practice pronunciation with ease and confidence.