6 Tricks to Improve your English in 10 Minutes
In order for you to understand why these 6 tricks to improve your English can be very effective, let me tell you about the most important ingredient, if you want to improve your English skills immensely.
“I just don’t think about it.”
Those were the words of Julian Pollersbeck, Germany’s keeper, at the European U21 Championship after saving the final penalty shot and by that taking his team into the final. By “not thinking about it” Julian indicates he has trained his skill so well, it has become second nature to him.
That’s the attitude I wish more people had sometimes when speaking English. Don’t get me wrong, I’m talking about the problem non-native speakers of English have: they translate every word they want to say before they speak. By doing that, at some point, they experience the following: they don’t know the translation of one word and reach what I call “speaker’s block”. Surely you’ve heard of writer’s block, the inability to produce new work or lack of ideas to write about. Well, “speaker’s block” is quite similar. The people experience the inability to go on speaking, i.e. to produce oral content.
Think in English
Now be honest! Do you feel caught red-handed? Well, if it makes you feel better, there’s a remedy for that. However, as with most things in life, it does not come naturally: it requires a lot of practice. Think in English. Don’t think in your native language when speaking English, unless it is English, of course ;-).
Ok, now you’re probably thinking: “Great, how am I supposed to do that?” At least, I hear that comment from many of my students. As I mentioned before it takes practice. Don’t worry, you don’t have to sit down for hours and hours every day and practise to improve your English.
Ten minutes a day are all you need. Focus on your vocabulary. Integrate learning or repeating it into your daily routine.
Here are six tricks to get you on track and improve your English.
- Learning is easier to integrate when combined with fun. Start with something you enjoy doing. What is your hobby? Are you a football fan? Great, then start learning the vocabulary you’ll need to talk to someone about it. After all, discussing the game is almost just as popular as watching it.
- Use Post-its, start with naming the things around you or what you use every day. Write the object’s name on a Post-it and stick it to the object. If you don’t know what it is called in English then look it up. Test yourself after one week, how many objects can you name correctly?
- Before having a meal, try naming every ingredient before eating it. The next level is to describe how it is prepared. This can be very useful or even life saving if a friend has a food allergy.
- Listen to native speakers. Every language, actually every dialect has its own sound or melody. It depends on your personal taste if you consider them to be melodic or not. The more often you hear native speakers talk, the faster you will get used to the language melody. So do not give up on practising your listening skills, they are essential if you want to improve your English. Of course, songs are a great way to practise and nowadays it’s very easy to read the lyrics, no matter where you are, just by using an app of your choice on your mobile phone. Other good sources for improving your listening skills are radio shows, podcasts or audio books. For the next exercise, I recommend, finding a podcast about a topic you’re interested in, which offers a script of the spoken content. Once you have gotten used to the speaker’s voice and intonation, check out the show notes for the script. You can read along or just check the words you don’t know and look them up.
- Of course, reading books, newspapers, magazines, graphic novels or blogs in English will help you improve your English skills and build vocabulary too. You can use them on a daily basis. Try a tear-off calendar, it won’t even take 10 minutes.
- Communicating with others. For some people finding someone with similar interests to interact with will help them to skyrocket their improvement. Find someone with similar interests. Either in the office, among your friends or join an English speaking/writing group on social media.
Here is a list of items you can buy on Amazon (by clicking on them you will be redirected to Amazon.com and if you buy one of them, I will receive a small commission, thank you ;-)) and of useful websites or apps to help you achieve your goals and improve your English learning experience.
- Here is a great book to learn a lot about Football English: Soccer Vocabulary for Learners of English
- For translations of words or expressions, I recommend www.dict.cc. This is an online dictionary, which also has a free app for IOS and Android.
- Another great website is www.thefreedictionary.com, which has a free app as well.
- For those of you who enjoy and need paper, here are two nice tear-off calendars Jokes & More – Kalender 2019: Englische Witze und Cartoons or Langenscheidt Sprachkalender 2019 Business English – Abreißkalender
- You’ve heard the expression “a picture says more than a thousand words”, haven’t you? Well, using this picture dictionary you will learn a lot of new vocabulary: PONS Bildwörterbuch Universal Englisch-Deutsch: Reich an Details in Wort und Bild
- If you’re German, or you want to learn more about Germans, then the books “How to be German in 50 Easy Steps” and “How to be German Part 2” by Adam Fletcher are for you! They are easy to read and funny. The good thing about them is, each book is actually two books in one, one side is in English and one side is in German.
- In case you like mystery stories, then I recommend listening to this audio book Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Sherlock Holmes’ Rediscovered Railway Mysteries: Four original short stories (BBC) If you’ve ever heard Benedict Cumberbatch speak his native language, you will know why.
- Do you enjoy games, then this is for you Hutter – Story Cubes Actions, Würfelspiel, using these story cubes you create your own story. Great for learning any language.
There is just one thing to remember to improve your English learning experience
Combine your language learning with something you enjoy doing like your hobby, your family, your work, your next vacation etc.
Whatever it is you enjoy doing, go for it!
I’d love to hear from you and learn which tricks have helped you to improve your English.
Here are your possibilities to get in touch with me:
1. Contact me and we’ll find a way to get together online or offline.
2. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Xing.
Take care, have fun and let me know if you need any help.