Once you’ve moved up to an Intermediate English level, this is where the complexity of the language becomes clear. At this stage of your learning, you need more advanced strategies to help you overcome your more complicated learning issues.

Talk to native speakers.

Chances are that you will start learning English from someone who speaks the same native language as you. This type of learning can be valuable, but it can also create problems. One of the biggest complaints of native English speaking ESL teachers is that their students have learned how to pronounce things incorrectly. And once you’ve picked up bad pronunciation habits they’re very hard to break. So make sure you talk to native speakers and pay attention to how they say things.

Find your weaknesses.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning. You might struggle with listening tasks, spelling or grammar, and discovering these weaknesses gives you the chance to work on them. Once you start doing that, you’ll really see your understanding grow and your English test results improve.

Change it up.

If your skills aren’t advancing it might be because you haven’t upgraded or changed your learning materials regularly. So if you usually only read school books, find a novel in English. If you only watch movies, try watching the news in English. The more English you’re exposed to, the more your brain will learn.

Focus on context.

Learning grammar or vocabulary out of a book doesn’t really help you use it. At this stage, you need to use your language in a natural context. So if you’re learning to talk about food, go to a restaurant or watch an English cooking show. You want to be able to use the grammar and vocabulary without having to think about the rules because you use them naturally. This will only happen when you completely understand how they’re used in real life.

Expect setbacks.

Some people learn English for years and then get to a point where they can’t seem to get any further. It can be tempting to give up at this stage, but if you do then all the work you’ve done will be forgotten and wasted. If you’re really struggling, try to find another way to learn, but whatever you do, don’t give up.

About the Author

I’m an ESL teacher and a dedicated traveller. I’ve taught in Fuzhou, China and Hanoi and much prefer smaller cities to the larger options. When I’m not on the road, I live in Perth, Australia.  I write about education, ESL teaching specifically, and you can view more examples of my work at www.gayleaggiss.com.

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