10 Activities For Students To IMPROVE Their English Over Summer
The school year is almost over and so my students have been asking for some advice to help them continue practicing their english over the summer holidays. These are a few tips I’ve been recommending them, so I thought I’d write these into a helpful list to share with you too.
1. Keep a journal
Essays are boring and often lack real word application. They’re great for academic development but it’s summer time, so wait for the new school year to focus on your school work again. Over summer, why not keep a diary? Every day write half a page in your native language and use the other half of the page to write it out again, this time in English. This will build up your natural understanding of sentence structures and importantly, you’ll be enjoying what you write.
Technology is your new best friend! We’re lucky enough to live in a world where technology can advance our education far more than a chalk board ever did. There are lots of options when it comes to learning languages online, some paid and some free. I’m a big fan of Duolingo because of it’s ease of use and the number of different activities they provide. (What’s more, it’s free).
3. Listen to music
Not sure how music can help you learn a language, read my previous blog for the TEFL Exchange regarding rap music. Music is a great way to perfect pronunciation and understand another culture.
4. Use a mirror
Don’t get too lost in your own eyes, you’ve got work to do. Try practicing some of your english in the mirror each day, just 3 minutes will help you to see the movement of your mouth when you make particular sounds. If you share a house with someone… perhaps tell them what you’re doing when you’re talking to yourself in the bathroom!
5. Download a dictionary
Every day, find three random words from a dictionary, write them down and translate them. (I should work in marketing for a dictionary; this would be could the ‘dictionary challenge’, catchy right?). Make it a daily challenge to work these three words into a sentence for that particular day.
6. Read English websites
The world changes and we change with it. 52% of all websites on the great big world wide web are in English, you’ll never struggle to find fresh content to read. Perhaps take a look at some of the english speaking news sites and see what they’re reporting on today. The BBC and CNN are good places to start.
7. A tongue twister a day
Photo Credit © attanatta | Flickr
Tongue twisters are fantastic as they help you exercise the muscles used to make particular sounds. Every day this summer, pick a new tongue twister to perfect. Then as you go through each day, week and month you can keep these sounds through repetition of your newly gained tongue twisters.
8. Go back to the basics
Never forget how far you’ve come. If you’re struggling for things to do, perhaps go into the derivations of words (see dictionary challenge if you’re not sure about the meaning of derivation). Of course this is a hard activity, so this is more aimed at those who are already at a high level. Take some vocabulary you know and research it’s history, break down the word to better understand other words! You’ll be surprised how much this can help you.
9. Wine and dine
If you have some friends, (hopefully you do), set a date with them each week/month to meet up and hold the entirety of your conversations in English. This can work well for children too when they are of equal level and they find themselves in a relaxed environment, (perhaps leave the wine bit out).
10. Leave your comfort zone
Photo Credit © Garry Knight | Flickr
Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to practice your english. Find a job at a company that has a number of English speakers going through their establishment, think restaurants, hotels and hostels. Offer tours to tourists and show them the delights that your city has to offer, after all, you’ll know the best places! Or, just start a conversation with someone and ask very politely if you can have a conversation in English. As Nike says, ‘Just Do It’…
These are just a few of the recommendations I’m giving my students, i’d love to hear yours! Drop a comment below if you have any to add.