How to Learn English Online: 8 Tips for Success
You want to learn English, but you can’t always be physically present in the classroom; that’s understandable. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your dream of learning English – you can always learn English online! The following tips are useful alongside a course at a school, or even if you just want to study online.
Set a goal and create a study plan
Learning a new language may seem out of reach and overwhelming, especially if you want to do it on your own. A strategy and a plan are essential to have a common thread and to be able to divide the big goal into several small ones that are achievable. In addition to guaranteeing success, this also offers the opportunity to monitor your progress and maintain a good learning pace.
One of the best ways to do that is through SMART goals. They provide a clear structure for your English learning goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and adherable to deadlines.
For example, if your goal is simply to improve your English online, it will be difficult to achieve. Rather, a SMART goal would be to improve your level of English by one level in 12 weeks.
Follow online guides from reputable English sources
The internet is full of content that will help you learn English online. Many English schools and English learning platforms regularly post related content with useful tips, directly from teachers. Keep an eye out for such articles and use the tips along with your goals to define SMART goals for each specific goal (e.g., improving your vocabulary, learning grammar online, or improving listening skills)
Language learning apps
Another way to learn English online is with apps. Make use of all the handy apps that can help you. The first step in learning English is to download a good translation app. Find one in which you can save words and which has a “word of the day.” You can also find interactive phonemic cards to aid in pronunciation. Apps like Memrise show the right way to remember words. With Duolingo, you can practice grammar and vocabulary in games.
Read lifestyle articles or news
Most of the time, people read online these days. One way to expand your access to English is to follow news and lifestyle websites. Reading lifestyle articles in blogs or magazines is a great way to learn everyday and natural language. You will learn about various topics and improve your reading skills and vocabulary with no effort.
Watch movies and listen to audiobooks
One of the easiest ways to learn English online is to watch a movie or TV show. Another, more unusual way is to listen to audiobooks on YouTube and, for example, to accompany a book that you are reading. This way, you can hear the words being spoken and hear the natural pronunciation. When learning English, it is important that you have assignments and activities related to the content – you will not learn by just looking and listening.
Get in touch with international friends
In the days before the internet, people used to be pen pals to learn new languages. It’s like being from another planet for today’s kids, but the concept behind it stays the same. If you have international contacts, write to them in English and practice your writing skills.
Follow relevant YouTube channels
Learning English on your own can be a lonely experience. YouTube allows you to experience something similar to a classroom. There is an endless collection of videos with grammar, vocabulary exercises, sample conversations, and anything else you can think of to need.
Register for online classes
Lastly, you can study English online with a teacher for the extra push. Life sessions with a teacher offer benefits such as direct correction, a focus on common mistakes that you don’t recognize on your own, and how to deal with weaknesses and how to overcome them. If you book lessons in an official school, you will also receive a certificate to prove your level of English – this is useful, for example, for applications for jobs or studying at a university.
It is important to make sure that the language teacher or school you choose is experienced and well established. If you’re trying to learn English online, a quick Google search for online English lessons brings you tens of pages. Unfortunately, there are many scam websites that claim to offer classes from professional teachers. Choosing the right online English lessons can make all the difference in your progress and certification worth.
How important is reading in personal growth
Benefits of early reading
In the case of children, reading is a habit that adults must help to incorporate. Reading helps to fuel the imagination and entertain children, and helps them develop their intellectual capacity.
Encouraging the habit of reading in children has many benefits for their development. Although many other tools allow us to “entertain” them today, teaching them to appreciate books will help them in their intellectual, social, and emotional formation.
Reading has multiple benefits for both adults and children, but reading can become an extremely important factor in children’s development at an early age.
Here are some of the benefits of incorporating the habit of reading at an early age.
As they grow older, children begin to explore language, at first by imitating adults and then at the beginning of school, through various activities, such as reading. This activity helps them establish associations and develop their reasoning skills.
As they learn to read, children not only discover new words and enrich their vocabulary, but they also begin to understand speech better. Therefore, it is extremely important to support the reading process and guide it properly, both in the classroom and at home, always proposing it as a leisure and fun activity, and not as an imposed task that must be accomplished.
Improves reading comprehension
Reading comprehension is an indispensable tool for every human being. Without it, the academic training process becomes difficult and longer. It is essential to work on it from home, with supplementary reading and related activities. It helps arouse curiosity about different topics, generate questions, try to answer them, process information, and understand things better.
A child who has been in the habit of reading from an early age will probably not have many difficulties when it comes to learning.
Reading contributes significantly to improving children’s expression, the more vocabulary they acquire, the better they can express themselves in their family, school, and social environment.
Decreases concentration problems
Reading frequently helps children develop their concentration. For example, in a story, through the characters and the plot, their interest is captured and, consequently, children are motivated to focus their attention on how the story will end.
Although it is normal that at first, when they are still very young, they are easily distracted. But the fact that little by little they manage to focus their attention on a text will save them, in the short and long term, many difficulties related to learning.
Helps develop your personality
Reading also helps develop children’s personalities. Through it, they discover what things they like and what they don’t, what they feel most identified with, what catches their attention, and many other aspects.
Exercises the brain
Reading is, in itself, an exercise for the brain. It allows connections to be made and memory and understanding improve. Even if the text does not have great complexity, the brain will be working.
In general, children who read from an early age tend to be more empathetic. This is because stories help them better understand emotions, and they also learn to put themselves in the other’s shoes.
Empathy can contribute positively to their adaptation to the social environment and to be much more tolerant in different situations.
How to encourage reading in children?
Contrary to popular belief, parents should not leave teaching alone to teachers. On the contrary, their interest in reading must be awakened from home from a very young age.
- Take some time to read to your children at home. Do it frequently, even if it’s just a little while.
- Set the example. It is difficult to pass on a habit that we do not have. Guys find out what we enjoy and what we don’t. If you find that we adults enjoy reading, we will probably arouse your curiosity.
- After a reading, encourage a short question session: What did the characters do? Which character did you like the most? What did you learn from that story?
- Try to offer them several readings, according to their age, but without limiting them. Offering a child only children’s readings could interfere with their evolution as a reader. Don’t underestimate them!
THE IMPORTANCE OF READING IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF BOYS AND GIRLS
The books are a mainstay in the cognitive and emotional development of the smallest. Embarking on reading from childhood provides delight and pleasure and brings a magnificent cultural, scientific, and literary heritage. It is a most effective transport that brings us closer to new and interesting worlds.
Reading is a wonderful interactive process in which an important relationship is established between the text and the reader that contributes to the development of the cognitive areas of the brain and emotional development. The importance of acquiring this habit from an early age is based on its benefits when it comes to studying, acquiring knowledge, and the possibility for children to experience sensations and feelings with which they enjoy, mature and learn, laugh and dream.
The problem is that today digitization has negatively influenced reading on many occasions, not only for children. It is often common to see children entertaining themselves with tablets or smartphones from a very young age, even before they learn to read or write. Regardless of the convenience or not of this habit, it is important to take advantage of this stage in which they are eager to receive information to awaken that innate curiosity by reading a book. For example, reading it to them.
Reading in the development of children: Main benefits
So what are the benefits of reading from childhood? The first, and most obvious, is to encourage children to be good readers in the future.
In all ages, reading is a vehicle of communication that implies a series of advantages in the development of the minor, even before they learn to speak, reading can be presented through drawings and illustrations.
Enjoying a book from a young age favors the learning of words – complex and non-complex- more quickly, improves their comprehension, spelling, expression, writing, exercises their brain, and greatly stimulates their creativity and imagination. This allows them to read aloud with greater confidence and to do well in school.
Likewise, if a child enters the adventures that a book provides, it undoubtedly increases attention, memory, and concentration, acquiring the ability to listen and understand what is said more effectively.
In addition, it is clear that reading allows you to let your imagination fly, transport your child to new worlds, evolvingly climbing in a creative capacity, making him, at the same time, more aware of his own emotions and improving empathy towards others.
When children read well, they increase their active learning, and a fairly great potential arises in the future of their development, achieving that their autonomy and their involvement in their own learning process are promoted.
Reading encourages them to be interested in different areas, such as nature, history, or art, helping them discover their vocation early.
How can we act as parents, guardians, monitors, and students to promote reading in childhood?
Beeblio interviews a pilot user Roza of the Habit Language Lab
Roza is an English as a second language teacher and is the founder of Habit Language Lab! Habit Language Lab is a growing, online English community that provides ways to help English learners across the globe achieve their speaking goals. It was created from the idea that language learning should be enjoyable and accessible. Habit Language Lab provides students with many options to progress their spoken English, including daily English tips and challenges on their Instagram account @habitlangaugelab. They also provide private lessons, small group conversation classes, and a fun blog filled with video-based lessons for students to complete on their own time, all found at www.habitlanguagelab.com. Check it out!
What is your current occupation? How can your field benefit from using the Beeblio App?
Roza: “At the moment, I teach English as a second language in Canada I’m also the founder of a growing, online English community that provides programs to help English learners across the globe called The Habit Language Lab. Beeblio is a great app and I think that English language learners and even teachers can benefit from using it. The app can cater to students who are learning English and want to improve their vocabulary on their own, but it is also versatile enough that teachers can use the app to create helpful activities for their students.”
Similar to Beeblio, The Habit Language Lab provides students with many options to progress their spoken English, including daily English tips and challenges. They also provide private lessons, small group conversation classes, and a fun blog filled with video-based lessons for students to complete on their own time,
What features do you like most about the Beeblio App and why?
Roza: “The most valuable and effective feature of the Beeblio App is the fact that it allows the user to insert their own text so that they are learning exactly what they are interested in. This is important because we learn best when we are having fun and are interested in the topics we are talking about and using more often. Beeblio lets you pick the subject and then teaches you the relevant vocabulary!”
What if anything surprised you about the product?
Roza: “ I can’t pick just one favorite feature of Beeblio! Allowing the user to save words is especially useful. It allows you go back and review those words whenever you need since repetition is important. In the definitions, Beeblio also provides you with the pronunciation of each word so that you can use them in conversation! The most unique feature of Beeblio is being able to adjust the level of difficulty to suit your needs. You can keep using this app no matter how fast you are improving, even if you are fluent!”
How is the Beeblio app unique compared to the products that already exist? How does their process differ from our methods?
Roza: “I am not familiar with any other apps available that have the same features as Beeblio! There is other vocabulary-based apps out there but non as comprehensive as Beeblio!”
How would you describe your overall experience using the app?
Roza: “Stress-free! The Beeblio app was very straightforward, yet effective. It felt intuitive to navigate! The organization of the vocabulary was also easy to follow and understand, and it was very fun to use!”
What features do you think would be useful to add to Beeblio?
Roza: “There are no other features I can think of to add to Beeblio at this point aside from providing this amazing app in different languages!”
For more information on Roza and the Habit Language lab you can follow them on Instagram @habitlanguagelab or visit them online at www.habitlanguagelab.com
Beeblio Converses With The Host of Aussie English, Pete Smissen
Pete is the host of the Podcast Aussie English.
Pete, can you share your history and background with our readers?
“ I was a scientist in training , my parents were both biologist so growing up I always had a love for animals, that was all I knew so I studied zoology. I fell into the cycle of completing a degree but there were no jobs in my field unless you have the next degree up. I moved on to studying my masters, P.H.D, post doctorate and so forth. So, I went through 11 years of schooling for Biology and gained quite a bit of weight. During my studies for my doctorate, I wanted to get back in shape, so I started to practice martial arts in my home of Melbourne, Australia. When I was practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA a lot of my friends were Singaporean, French, Chinese, Japanese and spoke different languages, I felt embarrassed that I only spoke English.”
Can you describe the culture of Melbourne, Australia?
“Currently, 40% of Melbournians are being born overseas, the city is multicultural there are people from all over the world. When you walk through the streets you hear languages other than English. I had learned some French and Chinese when I was younger but never followed it through to fluency. In 2012 I dived right in and began studying French, it was a rabbit hole! By using internet resources and tutoring, I began speaking fluent French in six months.”
What tools did you use to learn French?
“I started off using applications like Duolingo and I gain a lot of practice from speaking French over English with my French friends, they were amazed at my results and asked what tools I used. I shared a French podcast called “Français Authentique” that I would listen to as much as I can to work on my listening comprehension.”
What inspired you to create the Aussie English learning tool?
“Many times, foreigners assume that when visiting Australia all they should learn is American English or British English, but our dialects are quite different, and they get culture shock when they arrive. The amount of slang we use, euphemisms and our humor create a complicated English. My friends wanted to know if there was a version of the Francoise podcast for Australian-English so that foreigners can understand our accent. So, we began searching for a podcast that explained Australian English and culture but found none and that is when the idea of Aussie English was began.”
Pete has a large audience of viewers and listeners on YouTube, Instagram and his Podcast. He explains what it is like to discusses current events to familiarize his audience with Australian culture.
What results do you see after learners use your resources?
“They tend to be more confident, they become more comfortable when interacting with the culture. They can understand Australian history and stay updated on current events. If they were just going to standard class, they would not have any exposure to historic events like the role the Australian Anzac army played in WWI during the Gallipoli campaign. I believe natives appreciate when foreigners can relate to their stories.”
What do you believe is missing from the ESL community?
“Initially, I was trying to teach Australian expressions then I realized very quickly that what people wanted was a cultural experience. They wanted to understand what life is like for an Aussie in Australia, they wanted to know our history and about the diversity of our culture. My job was not to teach anyone English; it was to use English as a conduit to allow people to understand Australia better. In return when they would visit or move permanently, they can feel like they had a different understanding of the culture because they know the lands history and that would allow them to integrate rapidly with the natives.”
Which one of your platforms do you believe works best for learners?
“The podcast 100 percent! If you listen to podcast and watch YouTube videos you can see that YouTube is much more entertainment, it feels like junk food in comparison to a podcast. YouTube is good if you are a visual learner. When listening sole to audio, you must be more present and focused, so the audience’s retention seems to be better. And people tend to listen from start to finish with podcast versus YouTube which only catches the viewers’ attention so you can watch the ads. The one that delivers the most results is the podcast specifically for language learning because of the availability of the transcripts. The transcripts are the most effective because like the Beeblio app, you can find all the vocab you do not understand to target your weak points.”
Do you have the same content on each of your social media platforms? If so, how do you differentiate your content?
“First and foremost, I focus on the resources that learners pay for. Free content like the podcast is great but if they have paid for the bonus episodes, transcripts, and courses then they deliberately have an interest in learning and that is my priority. I try to video the podcast as much as possible so that I can reference the important facts on my YouTube, because you do have people who prefer YouTube over podcast.”
Pete had the chance to test out the Beeblio App and shared some views on some of its features.
“I liked the fact that you can set up the pronunciation of words in different accents, I found that insane. I would have never thought that would be one of the options and I saw there was an Australian accent as well! Another feature I liked was the ability to pull an actual sentence and not just the word and of course the frequency list. I would be interested in seeing Beeblio collaborate with the Polyglot community because they have effectively learned multiple languages from scratch, and I believe the resources they use could be a reference to expanding to apps features.”
What can we look forward to from Aussie English in the future?
“Just more of the same things, I need to tighten things up. I am growing my team and we have expanded to the Philippines. I am working on getting better content out on a regular basis and of course expanding our online learning academy with more lessons and courses.”
Beeblio Discusses The Tools Used and Challenges Faced Within The ESL Community with Independent Online Teacher Jennifer Lebedev
Jennifer, you have been involved in the English teaching community for a while now, more specifically in online learning. Can you share with our audience when you started teaching English, and how did you decide to use the Internet as a medium to help the ESL community?
I started out as a classroom teacher. I taught English in Moscow, Russia. Back then, there was no access to any online resources. Even when I moved back to the U.S. and taught at a private language school, my use of the Internet was limited. I remember going to the Boston Public Library to browse materials I could pull into my teaching: books, documentaries, and the like.
In 2005, I chose to focus on a book contract, and soon enough I was a mother of two with no easy path back into full-time classroom teaching. I began to experiment on YouTube simply because I missed teaching, and I wanted to see who I could reach with my video lessons. The response was positive and interest grew. I began to understand that a new path was taking shape: online teaching.
What is your background and credentials? (Schooling, how long have you been in the field etc.)
I was originally certified to teach Russian as a foreign language at the secondary level in the state of Pennsylvania. I graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and received departmental honors. I then went on to complete my graduate studies through Middlebury College. I spent an academic year in Moscow, and that is where I began to teach English as a foreign language.
I decided to stay on in Russia and switch to EFL/ESL. After several years, I returned to the U.S. and completed the required coursework to be certified in ESL. My professional development has continued through TESOL, Inc. I have attended the annual convention and presented numerous times. My ESL journey has now spanned about twenty-five years.
Was English your primary language? If no, which language was and what tools did you use to learn the English language?
I am a native English speaker. I studied Russian as a foreign language. I also have limited knowledge of French and Japanese. I even took Portuguese lessons for a few months. Having some understanding of those other languages helps me identify the challenges that learners face. All my early language studies were without the use of digital media. The internet simply was not an option at the time. Only now can I benefit from the availability of online resources. I have been meeting with a Russian tutor over the past year to brush up on my Russian.
What challenges do you and your pupils face in the classroom or during learning? And how do you overcome them?
I mainly work with adult learners, and our biggest challenge is time management. Adult learners must juggle many responsibilities, including work and family. I enjoy private instruction because I can tailor lessons to an individual’s needs, and we can adjust the workload according to personal circumstances, which can vary from week to week or month to month.
Specifically, what are some of the challenges that teaching online presents vs teaching in a class setting?
Some have the impression that making a meaningful connection online is not possible. I would argue that I have even more of an opportunity to connect with my students, especially when I teach one-on-one. However, even in a group setting, the key ingredient is trust. Once I succeed in establishing a positive learning environment, learners open up and meaningful exchanges take place. I have come to care very much for people I have never met and never will meet face-to-face. I know about their personal and professional struggles. I know their interests, their family dynamics, and some of their cherished memories. They have shared these with me in the context of meaningful learning. Because of a good working relationship, language progress takes places. I teach the whole learner and care about their personal and professional growth.
I have not been in the traditional classroom for a while now, but I know that many classrooms have modernized. Honestly, I would need a bit of time to get up to speed with smartboards and learning management systems. In contrast, I am extremely comfortable with all the online tools I need to produce content and teach in real-time from my phone or my PC.
What tools have you been using to teach English and how do you like them?
I currently use Zoom and Skype for private and group lessons, which are usually scheduled through Calendly. I livestream through my phone or on my PC through OBS software. It took more effort to figure out OBS, but I am comfortable with it now. As for video editing, I have been using Camtasia Studio since 2007. I do not have a very sophisticated editing style. I have maintained a simple, clear approach in my videos.
What are you most proud of, after these years of creating and distributing content that reach millions of users?
I am proud of the fact that I have been able to stay professionally active as a mother of two despite the many challenges that life has thrown my way. I have learned to accept the ongoing struggle to be visible and relevant in the growing crowd of online teachers, and I am determined to hold on to my methodology, my teaching style, and my principles, even if these things make me less popular.
We know you are dedicated to the ESL community. What is the main difference between teaching English to native speakers, and teaching ESL?
Native speakers usually have less awareness of how their language works. Only through teaching English have I learned complex grammar, acquired more vocabulary, and become a better public speaker and a more effective writer. More important, I can actually explain the process to learners and help them to develop their skills. If you teach your native language to others, it helps to draw from your own personal language learning experiences. You need to remember what struggles your learners are going through in the second language.
What would you like to see change in the ESL community? And how can others participate?
Thankfully, there is growing awareness of native speakerism and the prejudice that has existed in our industry. As a result, more appreciation and respect is being given to the many non-native English-speaking teachers who are very competent. Teachers should be judged on their competency and professionalism. Period.
Can you tell us what goes into producing a new educational video? Briefly walk us through the process from the conception to the publication.
I listen to my learners and my audience. I observe their success and their struggles. All of this informs my teaching. I create single video lessons to answer a question or target a specific aspect of language. I create a series with a larger goal, for example, to build familiarity, accuracy, and confidence with intonation. I develop a script, but during filming I may make changes. Filming is only part of a day, but editing takes place over a stretch of days. Many hours go into editing and producing a video. Even then, I may not catch all my mistakes. Uploading a video also takes time, especially when it comes to writing the captions. Then there are the video details, thumbnail, and promotion. In short, a lot of time an effort goes into a single video lesson. The exciting part is publishing the video and seeing the response. Reading and replying to comments also takes time, but I feel that this interaction is important: it is part of my commitment to being a part of the learning experience. I aim to be a teacher who is accessible and accountable.
What do you think is most important for a student out there looking for ways to learn English: the use of educational apps, or the use of educational videos?
Students should be selective about resources. There are many out there, so limit your use to a few good ones. You can integrate a number of resources into your studies. Develop regular study habits. Take breaks and do not binge watch video lessons. Give yourself time to digest, reflect, and review. Follow teachers who are good models and who can resolve your doubts. Look for ways to extend your studies. Each online teacher has additional platforms. Explore them and use the ones that help you meet your goals.
What other advice would you give to anyone trying to learn English, or any language?
Learners, be patient. Learning is a process. There are no shortcuts. Have confidence in your ability to learn. Find support in other learners. You do not have to practice all the time with a teacher. Native speakers are not the only answer. You can also find ways to practice on your own: keeping a diary, writing a short story, reading aloud, singing songs, watching movies, learning a script, studying with flashcards, and speaking aloud – yes, to yourself! Be dedicated but be realistic. Set goals and form a plan to achieve them. Hold yourself accountable. Also, be your own cheerleader. Find out what motivates you and remember to give yourself a pat on the back now and then.
Now, we have to ask because of what we do. What is, in your opinion, the most important aspect of learning a language? Is it grammar, vocabulary or something else?
Language is a whole. You cannot isolate grammar. It is connected to vocabulary and all four skill areas: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. You cannot focus on conversation without some study of grammar, and reading can inform your speaking. Regular writing develops self-expression, which naturally helps you articulate your ideas in conversation. Pronunciation is also not an isolated skill. It should be part of vocabulary building, and it is used in conjunction with grammar. My point is that there is no one skill that deserves all your attention. Be a whole language learner. Develop all your skills so that you can be versatile in self-expression and competent in communication.
As you might be aware, our company is a new player in the space of language learning. We just launched our web application and are in the process of launching our mobile app in the coming weeks. As a language educator, what are some of the features or characteristics that you want to see in an application that teaches language skills?
Technology today can be a great aid. Apps can help students set goals, create a study schedule, and track progress. Educational apps can make self-study fun and productive if there is quality content and strong methodology. Ideally, students will learn to balance self-study with meaningful interaction. They can learn to be independent and still tap into live instruction when it is accessible.