Do you want to learn English or improve your competency level, but are too busy to go to a language school? Or maybe you just prefer studying at your own pace in your own home? Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn from home, the practical task of doing so can be more difficult than you thought. So if you are trying to improve your English for work or you’re planning a holiday to an English speaking country. Here are 6 creative ways to learn English from the comfort of your own home.

     

    Learn English with online Newspapers

    Have you ever tried to read an American or British newspaper and found only a few articles that interest you? Well, what you might not know is that many newspapers in Europe and beyond offer a free online English version of their paper. If you’re a reader of El país (Spain), Die Zeit (Germany), L’express (France) or even the China Daily, why not head to their websites and check out the English version of your favorite newspaper. Whatever your native language may be, catch up on your national or local news in English. This is a great free resource readily available with just a few clicks of your mouse.

     

    Mobile and android applications

    To not have noticed the growth of smartphone culture in recent years you must have been hiding under a rock. Smartphones are great for looking at photos of cats that look like Hitler, and for finding out the girl you went to school with has gotten fat, but they are also an incredibly useful tool for learning language. Applications such as English grammar in use, Conversational English, Busuu and Duolingo allow you the student to use those spare five minutes after lunch to actively improve your language skills. These apps range in price hugely, but many are available for free. Please do your research and read reviews first to avoid disappointment, but you can never go wrong with free…

    learn English online with YouTube videos YouTube ESl videos

    Once again, great for watching cats playing the piano; YouTube has a huge library of ESL instructional  videos on every subject you can imagine. There are a huge range of YouTube channels dedicated to  the sole purpose of teaching English and other languages. What’s the correct pronunciation of the ‘ed’  ending of words, and what does a real life English native conversation sound like? Find all kinds of ESL  specific videos, do a free online degree with yalecourses, stimulate your mind with channels such as  Bigthink or Tedtalks, and do it all in English!

     

    The BBC website

    The British broadcasting corporation (BBC) has dedicated a large part of its website solely for non-native English speakers to practise and improve. Just click on over to the English learning section; you will find a whole host of different activities, from downloadable podcasts of current news stories to ‘funky phrasal verb’ activities. Best of all, to check comprehension articles are also available in your native language. This is an extremely helpful resource and once again 100% free way to learn English.

    Film, television and music

    While this may seem like an obvious way to improve your English; many ESL learners are not making the most of this priceless learning resource. Films and English series can be purchased almost everywhere, but instead of watching them with subtitles in your L1 language, why not try and watch them with English subtitles. Take note of vocabulary you didn’t understand, look it up and then watch it again. Television can also be useful. Sites such as Filmon allow you to stream live TV from a number of different countries. This can be great for advanced learners and beginners alike. Music in English is available from a great deal of sources, but have you ever thought of studying the lyrics of your favourite songs and then singing along? This can improve both your vocabulary and your pronunciation. However, some care is required as songs often break grammatical rules and others, invent words “♫Skrillex ablaza the fire make it burn dem♫”.

     

     Take online Skype classes

    Taking lessons from home can save you money, a huge amount of time traveling and even help  you learn faster than with conventional face to face lessons. Many of us would love to learn  another language but simply do not have the time. There are websites offering intensive 30  minute, one to one classes designed specifically to make the most of your time and money. You  will find that even as little as one hour a week cannot just help you achieve your language  objectives, but also make language learning enjoyable and inclusive for you, and everyone in the language learning community. English Tutors live offers a free, no obligation trial class along with lots more useful and engaging material to help you achieve your language goals.

    So what are you waiting for? Book your free trial class today and start improving your English from home.

     

    Thanks for reading,

    The ETL team.

    This week we are going to be discussing the oddities of the United Kingdom. Although it may seem fairly simple to start with, a country as old as the UK has evolved slowly over time and so it does not have the political structure that is commonly associated with nation states. This is a fascinating topic for anyone interested in history and geography. We thought it would be worth sharing with you all to see what you think.

    In the video above you can listen to (and read) a good summary of exactly how the UK is structured and learn some surprising facts which even many people who live here may not know!

    united kingdom

    Questions on the oddities of the United Kingdom

    What are the different countries that make up the United Kingdom? What is strange about the political structure (the Parliaments)?

    What is the technical definition of the political system in the UK? Who is the head of state?

    Which problems have you heard about in the news regarding British overseas territories?

    What do you think will happen in the future to them, especially in the case of Gibraltar?

     

    We look forward to talking about this topic with you all in class this week,

     

    The ETL team.

    The Oxford comma–sometimes referred to as the Havard comma– commonly causes confusion in written English. Its use is not obligatory, with some style guides asking for it and others not. As a general rule, it tends to be in more frequent use in American written English than in the UK, Australia, or Canada. It is also important to remember that news outlets that use AP style will omit its use.

     

    The most important thing with written style is consistency, so if in doubt, it’s better either to use it always, or exclude its use completely. The reason it’s a useful style element is that it can clear up confusion in sentences.

     

    In the example: “We invited the rhinoceri, Washington and Lincon”

    – It could be interpreted that Washington and Lincon are rhinoceri! Hence we need to use the Oxford comma in order to be clear.

     

    “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God”

    – Again, it is not immediately obvious in written English that the parents’ names are not Ayn Rand and God!

     

    Check out the info graphic below on the Oxford Comma from onlineschools.com for more information:

     

    Oxford Comma

    Hello!

    I would like to share this video which some of you may have already seen about changing learning paradigms since it is so relevant to what we are trying to achieve.

    The education system that we have grown up with has been failing to adequately provide for everybody in society as a whole, alienating large numbers of people who are not “smart” in the traditional academic sense. As research has shown, most people have the same inherent capacity to learn, however we all learn in different ways and these differences need to be harnessed in order for us to reach our full potential as learners. The traditional education paradigm is based on standardization, which has lead to the opposite effect of what we desire, leading many people to believe that they are incapable of learning certain things because these things are objectively difficult and require natural talent. Although it may be true that some people take to a subject more naturally than others, the bulk of the reason for success tends to be a combination of the learning methods used and the motivation and self-belief in the ability to succeed that reside with the student.

    To use a personal example: when I go home to the UK, I often speak to people about the languages I speak and my experiences living abroad, and many of them make comments such as: “You must be really talented at languages!” In response to this I always say the same thing: It was motivation, effort and necessity that led to my ability to learn, rather than any inherent talent. In fact, I tend to consider myself a fairly lazy language learner—just ask my past Spanish teachers!

    I believe truly that success in anything comes from doing many small things right over a long period of time and, in the case of studying, this also holds true.

    It is crucial, however, to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things in order to shrug off the negative connotations associated with learning and turn it into more of a passion project than a chore if we really want to achieve are goals. In a way the journey is more important than the destination, and although it is important to earn certification for a variety of reasons, learning is enhanced when this is not the principal motivation.

    The new paradigm of learning for myself would entail a return to the rhetoric-dialectic style of Quintilianius, the Roman maestro, who believed in a close relationship between the teacher and the student so that both can learn from each other in a two-way process. The more diluted the relationship is, the harder it becomes to learn, and breaching the distance in understanding between one person and another is already difficult so it stands to reason that in a classroom situation it is an even harder proposition. The new approach needs to lead to a personalization of learning, recognizing difference and embracing it, creating a polygarchy in the world of learning rather than a hierarchy.

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