IS IT POSSIBLE TO KEEP LEARNING
AFTER FINISHING THE COURSE?
AFTER FINISHING THE COURSE?
By Zarela Cruz
There you are! The last day of your English lessons! You are about to get your long-awaited certificate of English and suddenly you become concerned. You start thinking about something that went unattended before: “How am I going to practice my English now that I am not taking classes anymore?
Does this scenario seem familiar to you? Most people study English because it is a requirement for their studies, work or for other personal goals. Indeed, once they get the required level, they stop studying it formally and eventually, lose practice. Is there something you can do to enhance the level of your 2nd /or 3rd language? Of course there is, In fact, there are a number of ways to keep improving your English once your courses are over! And here comes the best part: most of these are tuition-free! However, they demand commitment and organization
Below, there is a list of ideas:
1. Use the social media to practice your English: chat in English, post comments in English, share information in Twitter in English. You may form a circle with your former classmates and keep in touch.
2. Enjoy movies in English. If you do not feel confident enough to understand the gist, read the captions (also in English) and pause the film when you need to reflect on a new word that caught your attention. Keep curious!
3. Are you a music fan? Get the lyrics of your favourite songs and sing them as many times as you want. First for pleasure, then try to decipher some segments you did not understand at first. You will learn a lot about slang, contractions, blending, silent letters and even silent syllables. And have fun while learning!
4. Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to read in English: there is no need to be an intellectual to practice your new language. Start reading texts that you understand and are of your interest. This will give you confidence and little by little you will start reading more complex texts.
5. Read graded novels or classic stories: there is nothing better than reading a novel in its original language, even when it is graded. Nowadays you can find audio books and listen while you are reading, so you have a double input: auditory and visual.
6. Practice different kinds of exercises: listening, grammar, vocabulary, whatever you feel like practicing. There are many of them on the web waiting for you! In your classes, you were used to drill with some of them; you may keep using them for practice, ask your ex-teacher for other resources, or share some sites with your friends.
7. Write to your friends abroad: now with a vast number of academic exchange programs or work and travel, there are plenty of chances to keep in touch with the ones you met when either they visited your country or you were in theirs. There are no excuses!
8. Change the setting of your mobile phone and email account to English. That way you will always be exposed to this language and you will internalize that routine quickly!
9. Organize your learning: keep a diary, a journal or start with simple things like classifying vocabulary or reading aloud.
10. Be informed: read about international affairs. It is always interesting to know how the English speaking world sees us.
So you see? Your course may be over, but not your willingness to learn or keep practicing the language you studied. These ideas apply to any new language.
And what about you? What works for you? Would you like to share any of your strategies?
We are looking forward to your posts letting us know the tactics you have tried out yourself and proved effective.
Stay tuned! Until soon!
Zarela Cruz graduated from Ricardo Palma University as a translator. She also finished her master’s studies in Linguistics and took some specialization diplomas in English and Spanish: Higher Education, Virtual Courses Design, and Spanish for Foreigners. She has also completed a number of certificates: Teaching the Working Adult, Online, Hybrid and Blended Education, among other self-study courses. During her more than 20 years’ teaching experience, she has taught different courses, programs and levels. This article depicts what has proven effective for her.