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How to practise all your English skills by yourself

Updated: Mar 2


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Introduction


As you know, English is a global language in a much more interconnected world.


Becoming proficient in English, then, is more important than ever.


Many people want to know how they can practise all their English language skills alone.

 

If you googled it, most answers to that question focus on teaching you how to improve only your SPOKEN English.


It's far better to use an approach that involves practising all your English skills.


This article has several aims:



  1. The first aim is to address the original question: How do you practise all your English skills by yourself?

  2. The second aim is to give you some strategies for practice. These are well known strategies. But, I will show you how to make them even more effective at improving your skills.

  3. The third aim is to show you that with My 'simply better' Method you will have an extra tool in your toolbox.


Moreover, I have devised a 4-Step Plan to help you prepare for effective practise of all your skills. And I will show you how you can include it in the strategies as well.


You will see that each strategy is a 'discrete' activity, that is, they each practise one skill at a time.


It's like:

 "Ok, today, class, we are going to practise our listening skills. Then, after that, we will practise your grammar. Later, we will increase our vocabulary. Tomorrow, we will practise writing, and on the next day, we will practise our speaking."


Has that been your experience in your English class?


Instead, as I will point out to you, you can practise many, if not all, of your English skills AT THE SAME TIME.


So, you get to practise ALL your skills together in a more natural fashion.


For example, when we talk with each other, we listen, then speak with each other. 

When someone asks you to write something down, you must listen then write. 


Or this. You read something. Then, when someone asks you some questions about it, you can either speak or write your answer.


And if you don't know what word to use in your reply, you either ask or find out - ways to increase your vocabulary.


And this more 'rounded' way to practise is at the heart of My 'simply better' Method.


You get to practise all your skills at once; you cannot separate them - as you might have done in your English classes.


Strategies to practise all your English skills


Ok, so let's look at these strategies to help you practise all your skills at home, and alone.


Let's begin with Reading.


Reading 

A. Read Every Day:

Reading is a great way to get better at English. It's a great way to practise your reading comprehension.


Start with easy stuff like children's books or simple articles. If they are too easy for you, choose more challenging ones.


Read for about 15-30 minutes each day. It could be anything – a story, a news article, or even a blog post.


Try to understand the main ideas, and if you find new words, write them down to learn later.

B. Vary Your Reading Material:

Read different kinds of material. Newspapers, magazines, novels, blogs, and academic articles expose you to different writing styles.

C. Set Daily Reading Goals:

Establishing a routine is essential for development of any skill. Set aside dedicated time each day for reading practice.

D.  Use Online Resources:

Digital platforms include e-books, online articles, and educational websites. Many online resources cater to wide interests and skill levels.

How My 'simply better' Method practises your reading.

Depending on the way you have chosen to practise (by listening or reading), it will, as I explained above.


I mentioned My 4-Step Plan. My Plan can help with your reading of a range of reading matter every day, I urge you to check it out. You can download it from my website.



Listening Skills:

A. Watch English Movies and TV Shows:

Enhance your listening skills by watching English-language movies and TV shows. Choose content with subtitles to aid comprehension. Listen for accents and intonation to help you see there is a wide range of English accents.


Some TV shows are not only entertaining but also educational. Look for documentaries or shows that explain things in a simple way. This helps you learn new words and understand different topics.

B. Listen to Podcasts and Audiobooks:

Incorporate podcasts and audiobooks into your daily routine. Choose topics that interest you to maintain engagement. 


Check out Spotify, Audible, BBC Learning English, the ABC and SBS in Australia. They have a lot of content that you can listen to, often for free.


Be wary of social media videos (especially TikTok) that use 'text to voice'.


Many offer poor pronunciation, incorrect grammar, and the AI-generated voices are quite robotic. There's nothing like natural spoken English.

C. Use Language Learning Apps:

Explore language learning apps that focus on listening comprehension.


These apps often incorporate interactive exercises, dialogues, and pronunciation drills. Using these apps often, can greatly improve your ability to understand spoken English.


Again, these are 'discrete' ways to practice listening. And they are 'passive', that is you listen and try to understand what is being said. Nothing more. That's useful. 


But, with My Method, you will be interacting with what you have heard, either by speaking or writing.



Practising your Writing Skills:

A. Keep a Journal or a Notebook:

Keeping a daily journal allows you to practise writing your thoughts down in English. This will improve your writing skills.


It will also provide a personal record of your English language journey. Aim for consistency, and don't be afraid to experiment with different writing styles.


A notebook is essential to record new words or phrases.

B. Engage in Creative Writing:

Try your hand at writing short stories, poems, or essays. This not only sharpens your language skills but also encourages your self-expression. Think about joining online writing communities or forums. There, you can receive constructive feedback and connect with like-minded learners.

How I can help you practise this skill - in conjunction with My Method

My Newsletter challenges my readers to practise their writing. I usually post an interesting picture and ask my readers to write about what they see.


I invite buyers of My Method to join my Private Facebook group. There they can practise with others who are also using my Method to practise their English. It's a form of peer support in a safe and respectful place.

C. Grammar and Vocabulary Exercises:

It's recommended that you dedicate time to focused grammar and vocabulary exercises.

Many online platforms offer interactive quizzes and exercises tailored to various skill levels. Regular practise is crucial for building a strong foundation in written English.

How My Method can help you practise your grammar.

I designed the Method to encourage the use of correct grammar. By regular practise with the Method your grammar will become better and better.

D. Play English Games

Learning can be a game too! Play word games (The New York Times Wordle is a good one!), crossword puzzles, or online quizzes in English. These games make practising more enjoyable. You won't even notice that you're learning.

My suggestion

Choose a platform or a site run by native English speakers. Be wary of platforms that have errors in their quizzes.


Also, giving single word answers in quizzes is NOT practising your writing. It's testing your knowledge.


Break the mould. Set a precedent and try to give longer answers than A, B, or C answers.



Finally, we come to:


Speaking Skills:

A. Shadowing Exercises:

Listen to native English speakers and mimic, or repeat, the sentences or phrases they use. This is 'shadowing'.


This technique enhances both your speaking and listening skills.


But, Americans, Australians, and British speakers (among others) have different pronunciations and accents.


It will be fun for you to work out where the speaker comes from. It's good practice to become familiar with these other kinds of 'English'. Native English speakers usually understand what other native English speakers say.

B. Record Yourself Speaking:

Use your phone to record yourself speaking in English.


Listen to the recordings and identify areas for improvement.


This is often easier said than done. But this will let you track your progress.


Then you can focus on specific aspects such as your pronunciation or fluency.

C. Practice Speaking Aloud:

Talk with yourself on various topics. Explain things, tell a story, or talk about your day.


This helps you get used to using English words. You can even pretend you're talking to a friend.


This will improve your fluency. It will also boost your confidence in expressing your ideas.


Then you can progress to more complex topics and scenarios, simulating real-life conversations.

A possible limitation of My Method?

I acknowledge that My Method has limitations. It is a very 'structured' way to practise, and in doing so, limits your 'free expression'. But the ends justify the means!


Your grammar, through listening and/or reading will result in perfect sentences.


From there, it's a short step to branching out into more 'free' talk because once your grammar is good, you are ready. Until then, you will struggle.


When I taught English in China, my students wanted the class to engage in 'free talk'. When I relented and allowed them to, what I found they said was poor English.

 

On the one hand, yes, they tried, because it helped them overcome their fear of talking in class.


But it was not a productive exercise: not all the students could join in.


And their poor English remained poor, until I changed the way I taught.

How my Method enhanced my students' spoken English.

It was not until I taught them My Method, that their speaking in class was much better. They began speaking in (long) grammatically-correct sentences.


They were not reading but were listening to me and other classmates. I asked them how they felt. They told me they were much more confident.



Conclusion:


This article has shown that practising all your English skills alone at home is possible. 


But, it requires:


  • discipline

  • dedication

  • consistency


And a mix of activities in English to help you develop all your language skills.


Remember, the key is regular practice and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. 

Embrace the journey of self-directed learning. And watch as your skills in English flourish over time.


In other words, the key to getting better at English is to practise a little bit every day.


Don't rush, take your time, and enjoy the learning process.


Tell yourself that you're doing great, and that every small effort counts! Keep it up!


Finally, these strategies offer great ways to practise all your skills by yourself. 


But, they remain 'standalone' activities. They do not practise your skills as 'naturally' as My Method does. 


Yes, you can practise with My Method by yourself.


But it's better to  practise with someone who also understands My Method. And agrees to 'follow the rules' of the method.


 It is only then that you get to really start becoming more fluent in English - with 'real practice'.


Note: As both a noun and a verb, Americans spell 'practice' the same way. On the other hand, British native speakers spell 'practice' as a noun, and 'practise' as a verb. Decide on which spelling you prefer. To help you remember to use a 'c' for the noun, 'ice' (in practice) is also a noun.




Further Reading






© Apex English Tutoring Jan 2024 Updated Feb 2024


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About Me


Hello and welcome!


My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.


As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.





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