Tag Archives: learn English

Get the best results: A checklist for learning English in the UK

Would you learn Russian in Mexico? No, neither would I. So when you want to learn English shouldn’t you go to the home of English to learn it?

Studying English in the UK (That’s England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) makes a lot of sense. You ‘live’ the language and use it 24/7. Thousands of students make the choice of coming to the UK every year to learn English. Below are the essential things you need to think about before coming to the UK.

First thing you need to decide is ‘Do I need a visa’? If coming from Europe the answer is no. Coming from most other countries you would need a visa. Check the UKBA website to see what kind of visa you need. Continue reading

This post was submitted by Beth Nicholas.

Strategies for Learning English Outside of the Classroom

English teachers have lots of effective methods for learning in the classroom, but if you don’t take the initiative to learn on your own, you won’t be maximizing your potential. To get the most out of your English learning experience, try to keep making progress outside of the classroom by using some of the following strategies.

Listen to Music

Find English music videos online that have the lyrics as subtitles. Chances are that with images, music, and audio-visual lyrics, you’ll be able to remember new vocabulary and grammatical forms more successfully. Repetition is also helpful, and songs often include refrains that reiterate key phrases, which could assist you in learning English.

Watch TV or Movies

If you’re still just getting started on learning English, keep the subtitles on when you watch TV shows or movies. This will reinforce new vocabulary words and clarify anything that you think you might have misheard. As you make more progress, turn off the subtitles and try to understand what’s being said simply by listening. It’s a great way to test your listening skills, especially if you’re watching online and can easily replay segments with the subtitles on to make sure that you understood correctly.

Speak English Whenever Possible

Even if you’re apprehensive about making mistakes while speaking English, go ahead and use English for as many conversations as you can. If you’re nervous, you can always ask the people you’re talking to if they can help you correct any mistakes – they’re usually happy to help. You’ll learn a lot about listening and responding without taking five minutes to formulate an answer, as you might be used to doing in the classroom. Practising English in the moment is an important part of studying that shouldn’t be left out, and you’ll also learn a lot about yourself. Often, you know more than you think you do and can benefit from testing yourself in new ways.

Record Yourself

Many people dislike the sound of their own voices, but it can be extremely helpful to record yourself as you learn English. Not only will you be able to identify weak points in your understanding of the language, but you’ll also be creating benchmarks for monitoring your progress. It’s a great feeling to play back an old recording and realize how much better you are than you used to be.

Monitor Your Progress

You take tests in the classroom, but why not try some on your own? There are many English quizzes you can take online, categorized by parts of speech, tense, vocabulary, level, and more. You can easily find a test that addresses a problem that you tend to encounter often in your English studies. Taking the same quiz periodically can show you that you’re making significant progress as your scores and confidence level go up. In addition to comparing test scores from different periods in your English learning process, you can compare recordings of your voice answering the same prompts and identify multiple points of development. If you’re going to do the hard work to learn English efficiently and successfully, make sure that you record the journey and can appreciate how far you’ve come.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

This post was submitted by Maria Rainier.

English the Most Common Language in EU

The findings of a Eurostat study conducted in 2007 have just been released showing that English is the most common language across the European Union (EU).

Of the 21 EU Member States, there are 6 states in which no data collected and of the remaining 15 states, English was spoken in 14 of them.

In fact, English is the most common language in the EU to be studied too. Exceptions to this are Luxembourg, where English, French and German are studied equally and Ireland and the UK, where French is the most commonly studied language.

English as the most common language across the EU is also represented in the data collected on citizens who speak a minimum of 2 languages: 28% of all EU citizens, the study reports. In fact, in Slovenia, 72% of 25 – 64 year olds spoke 2 or more languages, Slovakia and Finland 68%, Lithuania 66%, Estonia 56% and Latvia 55%.

As one would expect if English were to be the most common language across the EU, the UK has the highest proportion of people who stated they only spoke one language, 65%. This was also the case for Cyprus 59%, Austria 50% and Greece and Sweden, both with 45%.

The analysis from this study was released just ahead of The European Day of Languages. The day itself is “to alert the public to the importance of language learning, to promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe and to encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.”

“The EU recognised improving language learning in the EU as a key factor in the Lisbon strategy and the Barcelona European Council in 2002 set the objective of ensuring that all pupils study at least two foreign languages from an early age.”

Learning English Tools – Electronic Devices

English Language Learning Tools

There are so many English language learning tools out there and with the sometimes daily advances in technology, you are sure to find new and ground-breaking techniques and devices which make great tools for learning English. Here we provide you with a quick run-down on some of today’s learning English tools and electronic devices.

But before we look at the devices themselves, here are two great and increasingly traditional and often free English learning tools that you can get started with:

MP3 English lessons: There are a wide range of places you can download English lessons from and store on your MP3 player, such as an iPod. As most people now have iPods and they’re portable, you really can listen and learn wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Audio tapes and CDs. These are great tools for learning English. All you need do is dust-off your cassette player, Walkman or CD player and you can listen and learn wherever you are. Audio CDs are great to keep in the car, so the next time you hit a traffic jam pop on your English language learning CD of choice and passively better your English skills.

Another great English language learning tool, which helps with reading, writing and speaking English is an electronic translator or dictionary. Again, as they are portable, they can be used in a variety of situations, from travelling on holiday, downtime on a business trip or even while talking with people in English. These devices have come on leaps and bounds since I first saw the international students at my school use them and the majority of the models on the market today will include fantastically accurate text-to-speech and voice recognition software. In fact, you can easily find many models which have vocabularies of more than 1 million words! I bet that’s more than you know in your own language and it’s certainly more English words than I know!

The great thing about these devices that make them fantastic English language learning tools is the fact that they come pre-programmed with numerous common expressions, phrases and grammatical constructs. This makes them great English learning tools and the two most popular models currently on the market are the Talking Electronic English Dictionary and the Audio Phrasebook. Both are handheld, include hundreds of thousands of words, definitions and thesaurus entries, let you view the word onscreen and can even read the word aloud to you.

For those that want devices which function strictly as English learning tools, there are devices which come pre-populated with the popular SAT exam word list and ones which come with grammar guides, exercises, tests and even English language learning games and quizzes!

If portability is not a key feature you require or you are looking for potentially free English learning tools, you could consider downloading English language software to your computer. You could in fact make this semi-portable by installing it on your laptop. The majority of this software will allow you to do advanced English translation inside the programmes you use day-to-day. For example, you will be able to translate English language websites, emails and documents. Many free-to-try English learning tools will have interactive language learning tools, study materials and even speaking and non-speaking dictionaries too. With the advancement in technology of mobile phones and PDAs, there is much development of English language learning tools for Smartphones such as the iPhone and Blackberries, Pocket PC and Palm OS, to name but a few.

By far the best free English learning tools may well also be the most fun: TV and radio! Sounds like every students dream right? Watching TV and learning English. In fact, watching and listening to English TV shows is a fantastic way to learn English. And once you’ve studied enough for the day, why not watch your favourite TV shows in your own language, but with the subtitles on; a great free English learning tool.

In summary, you will be able to find many great English language learning tools on the market and many free English learning tools too. Before you buy, make sure you research each device to ensure it fits with you and your lifestyle.

St Giles International – New Programmes

We are delighted to announce a SPECIAL OFFER for our University Foundation Business Course (UFBC) at St Giles Brighton and St Giles London Highgate.

St Giles now has partnerships with four British universities offering guaranteed places to successful UFBC graduates and we have placed students at over 30 other universities throughout the UK. This, combined with our record of excellent results, makes St Giles your choice for students looking for successful university placement.

We have places still available for our September 2009 UFBC intake; so please contact us as soon as possible to reserve your places and avoid disappointment. We are also delighted to welcome applications for the January start date now.

  • Stronger Foundations: Our University Foundation Business Course (UFBC) continues to mature with the Universities of Chichester, Plymouth and Sussex, joining Oxford Brookes and Brighton as our partners.  These universities now welcome successful graduates from our UFBC onto a wide choice of undergraduate degree programmes.  We continue to strengthen our reputation with 100% of our students gaining access to the university of their choice.   Foundation courses are available at our Brighton and London Highgate Colleges.
  • More Availability:  The acquisition of new premises just opposite our San Francisco College, in the heart of downtown Market Street, means even more availability for your students in 2009 and beyond.   We offer bright modern classrooms with lively recreational spaces and cafe, combined with on-site Customer and Academic Services teams.  Our Brighton, London Central and Eastbourne Colleges have also expanded in 2009.
  • Academic Summer:  The launch of our new fast-track 6 and 8 week intensive FCE preparation course for the summer of 2010 will now offer a focused, results-orientated programme for ambitious learners at our Brighton and London Central Colleges.
  • New Beginners Courses: All of our Colleges now offer dedicated Beginner Level courses with dedicated start dates throughout the year.  These are designed to ensure a supported learning programme for those studying for the first time.
  • Superior Accommodation: Now includes, as standard, internet access and TV in large well-furnished rooms.  We are delighted to also launch a new Superior private bathroom option for all our UK Colleges with Platinum Centres.
  • New London Central Residence:  Our modern year-round residence, only minutes from the London Central College, offers modern, single en-suite rooms, ideal for the more independent learner.   This residence is also available to students studying at London Highgate.

  • New Vancouver Residence: Our new Vancouver residence (available from April 2010) offers the modern, independent living experience, within easy travelling distance of our city-centre College and downtown. 

  • Junior Summer Camps:  2010 is looking to be an exciting year of expansion, with new centres joining our portfolio of residential summer camps for young learners.  More details to follow.

I hope that you will find this information useful and, as always, please feel free to contact us should you have any questions – we are very happy to help.

5 More Ways to Improve Your English

The English language can certainly be tricky for those who are not used to using it on a regular basis. Word order, vocabulary, and inflection can be very difficult without proper modeling. For this reason, there are several things that language learners can do on a regular basis to further improve their language skills. Read on to learn a little more about ways to improve your English language skills.

Read

Reading as much and as often as you can in a new language can really help bridge the gap between the way words sound and what they look like on paper. Newspapers are a great source of reading material, and the internet certainly has no shortage of information available in English. Try reading stories in English and then in your native tongue to make sure that you are grasping the full meaning of the text.

Write

Writing in a new language will further assist you in your acquisition of a new language. Keep a journal that tracks your daily events and do it completely in English. When you are unsure of a word, use a dictionary to ensure that you are using the appropriate word that fully expresses your intent. Emails, letters, and summaries of what you have read are other things where writing can assist you when learning English.

Interactive Web Pages

Web pages are intrinsically interactive; however, there are many language acquisition sites out there that will help you to hone your skills. Work on reading and comprehensions, or practice listening and answering questions. The learning process can be very involved and every advantage you can take will help you to become a better speaker in less time.

Listen to Music

Music is a wonderful form of expression and listening to music can sharpen your ability to listen to words and interpret them. Additionally, you can read long with the lyrics as you listen to the song and truly engage your mind while adding to your comprehension of the language in multiple ways.

Change the Settings on Your DVD Player

DVD technology has many benefits for viewers who are also learning a new language. Almost all DVDs have the option to play the movie in English. If not, there is usually an overdub option. In addition to watch and learning in the process, you can turn the captions on and read along to further enhance your learning experience.

This post was contributed by Courtney Phillips, who writes on the subject of the online college degrees. She invites your feedback at CourtneyPhillips80 at gmail.com

5 Proven Ways to Improve Your English

English is one of the most difficult languages to learn from scratch.
It has no gender, no formal or informal tense, and has many exceptions
to the rules. Here are 5 proven ways to improve your English skills in
no time.

1. Don’t be embarrassed: The key to learning any language is to
interact with native speakers. So not matter how bad you think your
English skills are, you need to get out there and use the language. If
you feel shy, find a friend or roommate who will be your point man –
they will initiate the conversation and drag you into it.

2. Pubs are every language learners friend: Alcohol is the great
social lubricant, and it also relaxes our sense of embarrassment.
Being a drunk is not the order of the day, but a pint or two will make
it much easier for you to start conversations and speak in English,
even if it’s not as fluent as you would like.

3. Watch TV: The television is a great tool for listening
comprehension. The setting of the program makes it easy to understand
the situation, and you can find programs for any level of English. If
you’re having trouble understanding fast dialog, you can watch a show
for children (they’re often better anyway) or pop in a video and
rewind to areas where you had trouble understanding.

4. Live in English: Try and do everything you can in English. Turn the
language of your mobile phone into English. Only speak to your friends
in English, and only send text messages in English. Pay your bills in
English, and order everything from food to gadgets in English. Use the
English system of measurement, and try and act in every way possible
as an English speaker would.

5. Work on the Accent: Strange as it may seem, developing an accent of
an English speaker (whether British, American, Australian etc) helps
to better understand the language. Native speakers differently place
accents differently on words then foreigners do, and it will also gain
you a lot more credibility among the native speakers.

Learning English is not an easy task – but with patience, perseverance
and effort you will be speaking like a native in no time.

This guest post was written by M. Richard, who is currently a cell phones critic.
She can be emailed via mayarichard@gmail.com.