After many countries closed schools and language schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, au pairs and students do not have proper opportunities to improve their language skills. Here are some useful tips that can help you self-study and take charge of your own learning to become autonomous learners outside the classroom and to keep your knowledge up to date!
Talk to Yourself! - You might look crazy if you do this in public but when you’re alone and doing daily tasks. Say to yourself ‘I’m having a shower’ or ‘I’m making breakfast’. When looking out the window, tell yourself what you see. ‘I see a woman cycling with her son.’ It helps you to think in English and be more spontaneous with your language. If you can’t think of a word, find another way to say it, use different language and later you can check your dictionary for the word you needed and use it next time.
Vocabulary Notebook - Keep a small notebook with you at all times and record new vocabulary that you meet during the day. Write full expressions and phrases, e.g. write ‘afraid of’ and not only ‘afraid’, write ‘to make a mistake’ and not only ‘mistake’. Revise your vocabulary regularly and try to use the language in class or with the people you meet.
Youtube videos and films - Watch online videos on topics that you’re interested in. If you play tennis, watch a video with tips and techniques on how to improve your game or watch TED talks without the script, just listening and then afterwards watch it again with the script. Do it again and again until you’re comfortable that you understand the main ideas. (You don’t have to understand every word)
Read, Read, Read! (and Speak) - If books in English are too difficult at first, start with blogs. Find a blog on a topic you enjoy and start reading something short every day. Why not start a ‘blog club’ with your friends. Meet once a week and tell them about an interesting blog post you have read and have a discussion about the topic. Bring some new words/phrases with you to share with the others so that they can start using them too!
Podcasts - When you’re out walking, listen to a podcast on a topic you’re interested in. Don’t worry that you don’t know every word. Focus on getting an understanding of the overall meaning. Listening will also help you with your pronunciation and you’ll be surprised how much you actually pick up from exposing yourself to the language as much as possible. There are many useful applications which can help you provide your language skills.
Online language courses - You can also look for online language classes. At first, you should check that maybe your language school provides opportunities to continue your studies, or you can also check other courses or online tests, which can help you practise current your knowledge. Useful applications - Since we are nearly always on our phone, it can actually be useful! Here are some examples: 10 Best language learning apps