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Back to school tips and tricks: improving and keeping up

Back to SchoolNext in our Back to school tricks and tips series.

These posts are for our English language learners and are meant to be entertaining as well as helpful. Let me know what you think, or share your stories on Macmillan Dictionary’s Learn English Facebook page or in comments at the end of these posts. Happy learning!

Improving and keeping up

How do you keep up with a language and get better at a language that is, firstly, always growing; secondly, spoken very differently in different countries and, thirdly, spoken differently online and in real life. On that last point, have a look at this video where Justin Timberlake shows what happens when first language English speakers confuse online and IRL.

So where do you look for resources that will keep you up to date without making you sound like a Twitter audiostream? Well, keep an eye on our blog where our two favourite subjects to discuss are new words and old words with new meanings. Also, as I said last week, get to know your red words – the ones that native language speakers actually use every day. But aside from the things we can help you with, here are a few tips and tricks.

Inundate yourself with (good quality) English language media:

  • Listen to English radio on your way to class (in the UK, BBC Radio 4 is good for lots of words from wordy people).
  • During break times be sure to chat to other students from different countries in the world, so you can get better at your Global English (which is a type of English well worth knowing). If you only speak to the same few classmates every day, your language won’t grow as fast as it could be.
  • Turn off the subtitles on those movies you watch and be sure to watch a good mix of British and American films. Also, follow teachers who use film to teach English to their students.
  • There are so many good TV series to watch with clever scripts and set in present time. Girls, New Girl, True Blood, Dexter, Luther … so much to choose from depending on your interests.
  • Stay away from reality TV shows. The language usage is not often a good example!
  • Read, read, read, read. Read.
  • Talk, talk, talk, talk. Talk.

To start practising and improving right away, play some language games and join our LearnEnglish Facebook feed.

This is the last of the Back to School tips and tricks. We hope you have a wonderful year of learning and growing!

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Laine Redpath Cole

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