" When I really started to pay attention, that is when I started to learn"
- ESL student
It's all about mindset!
Am I willing to do everything that my teacher asks me to do?
Willingness and eagerness are two pillars that support you on your journey to master English. Check your attitude. Are you ready to do what it takes to become an excellent student of English? If you are not sure, ask for some guidance and keep reviewing the basic tips provided here, be gentle with yourself and nudge your spirit toward a resolved commitment.
Have I built my personal support?
Consider how much easier the process of learning will become once you assemble your ESL team. Tell a teacher of friend or mentor what you plan to do and begin looking for other supportive people that can help you. Here are some ideas for your team.
A good friend who speaks English and is willing to help you.
A teacher that you like who will answer your questions outside of class.
If you can think of more ways to build your team, please add your ideas in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Do I know what my teacher expects of me?
When you aren't sure about something, ask a question. Get clarification (which means to make something clear or understood). If you don't know what the rules are, ask. When you don't know what the assignment is, ask.
And get to know an ESL teacher on a personal level, so they can give you extra support and guide you toward great resources.
Want to know how to do that? I'll tell you the secret. Show respect and enthusiasm. Participate in classroom activities. Smile. And ask questions. Done and done!
Are you developing and taking advantage of friendships?
"My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." - Henry Ford
Find a friend that will refuse to speak to you in your native tongue. Your buddy will talk to you in English non-stop!
Are you seeking extra help?
"You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support." - Sabrina Bryan
Are you willing to accept criticism?
"The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism." - Norman Vincent Peale
Find someone picky and smart who will sit down with you for half hour sessions and correct EVERY single mistake you make. This tip may be hard on your ego, but it will put your studies into the fast lane.
Are you exploring the BEST resources?
Ask your friends what tools, apps and websites they use to improve their English.
Sometimes you just have to do a simple google search to find great free help that's just a click away. When doing this, keep your search term as specific as possible. If you're having trouble with word forms, google "ESL word formation practise".
Keep coming back to ESL TOP TEN. We are part of your team, and we will continue to help you find the very best of everything ESL.
Are you willing to put yourself in challenging situations?
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
- Helen Keller
Sitting on the couch watching English television can't hurt, but these "gentle" learning situations cannot compare to the power of getting outside and putting yourself in potentially awkward situations with native speakers. Get out in the real world and start talking and listening to strangers. Ask for directions. Ask for the best place to get coffee. Ask for some advice on historical locations. Interact with your new skill set, and you'll be amazed at your progress.
"Hi, I'm new to this city. Do you know where I could find a great cup of coffee?"
Are you willing to make mistakes?
The fastest path to learning follows a willingness to make mistakes. Nobody is perfect in listening or speaking. Even native speakers make mistakes all the time. The more mistakes you make means the more opportunities you have to learn. Remember, the only genuine mistake in learning a language is not bothering to follow up and learn from your mistakes.
Check out: Do You Make These Common Mistakes?
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
- Walt Disney