Tips for Learning English Effectively

Follow these 8 steps for bilingual success.

By: Grey Belle

Child Studying. Credit:

Growing up, listening and writing in English were something very natural for me. I thought everybody in the world did the same thing as I did. Apparently, that's not true.

I had wondered why my Korean students found it hard to speak English when they had studied the said language since they were very young (like me!). It could be said that the situations in South Korea and Philippines are similar as English is also not the latter's native language. However, when I asked my students about the learning ways and techniques that they did, I, then, had stopped wondering.

From a non-native speaker who can 99.99% understand an English movie without putting on subtitles, here are eight helpful tips in learning and/or improving English effectively:

1. If you are reading this, then you're off to a good start! Reading articles written in English especially helps in spelling. Also, ever heard of tongue twisters? They are words, sentences or phrases that are intended to be difficult to say, especially when repeated quickly and often. Their main purpose is practice and improve pronunciation and fluency. Click here to find the best English Tongue Twisters.

2. Watch English movies. For beginners, I highly suggest animated movies as the voice-overs tend to speak more clearly than movies with real people in them. Also, watch the movie at least three times. First, with your native language captions turned on. Second, put on English subtitles. And lastly, none at all, just the raw video itself.

3. Listen to English songs. There is something about songs that makes them easy to remember. Hence, little kids always start learning through catchy nursery rhymes. For adults, listen to pop songs or any music genre that is more preferable for you.

4. Change your phone's or social media's language setting to English. This is especially good for people who couldn't find anything written in English in their home country (e.g road signs or instructions at the back of a pack of noodles). Make your eyes be used to seeing the English alphabets.

5. Travel, if possible. Go out there and apply the things you've learned! Personally, I have so much knowledge about the English language but I didn’t excessively use it until I worked in the sales department of a travel agency, wherein I had to talk to Americans five days a week and around 8 hours a day. Okay, that wasn't exactly traveling but you get my point.

6. If traveling isn't possible, strike a conversation with people online. There are heaps of websites that connect people from different parts of the world. And because it's online, remember to be careful of scammers (which are easy to tell anyways).

7. Consult an English-English dictionary. Believe it or not, I never used an English-Bisaya dictionary in my whole life. (Note: Bisaya is my native language.) Also, I don't agree with teachers who translate English words to the native language of the student. Body language would be the best way!

8. Check out videos on YouTube. There are millions of videos out there. Choose the ones that are of your interest so you won't feel bored. These days, because I'm trying to learn German by myself, I spend my free time watching funny prank videos of this wacky couple from Germany. They use repetitive expressions that are easy to remember together with the context. (Click here to find out more about Learning a New Language in my 20s).

The main point is, be resourceful. First, familiarize the language by studying the basics and then proceed to getting your whole system used to the language. Don't forget to apply everything that you have learned. If you are reading this, then you are off to a good start! Check out these top 8 tips for learning english more effectively. Some of the tips may surprise you, so read carefully.