The internet is providing more people with access to language learning resources than ever before. In addition to great online courses, modern students also have a wide range of free tools at their disposal. By using your initiative and staying motivated, you can greatly lower the cost of studying English.
Exposure Is Key
Before looking into your options, you must understand that exposure is fundamental to learning a new language. You need to hear, read, write and speak English as frequently as possible. An online resource will only work if it guarantees a decent amount of exposure. Don’t bother wasting your time with an online resource that doesn’t benefit you – it will only frustrate you and sap your motivation. Here is a short step-by-step guide to using free online resources to gain exposure to English.
Step 1 – Listening (BBC Languages)
BBC Languages is an excellent online resource for people who want an introduction to English. One of the best features on the site is that it encourages the online community to participate in the learning process. Every week the site releases a video in which Londoners are asked a question. By listening to these short videos, you are exposed to the natural speaking habits of native English speakers. This exposure will make you feel more comfortable in real-life situations.
Step 2 – Writing (Language Schools)
Many language schools offer free services on their websites. Visit these web pages and pull off any information you can. Free tests are useful to download, as they will help you gauge your progress. When searching for online resources, look into the language schools London, Toronto, Cape Town and New York offer. These are some of the major hubs of English learning, and schools in these destinations tend to feature more online resources.
Step 3 – Reading (Project Gutenberg)
If you enjoy reading, then Project Gutenberg is the site for you. It features a wide range of e-books with expired copyrights that can be downloaded for free. Project Gutenberg recently added a Kindle option, which allows Kindle owners to download the books directly to their e-readers.
Step 4 – Constant Exposure (Blabbinit Podcasts)
Our mobile phones are powerful tools, and they offer great language learning potential. Today, we can stream videos no matter where we are. Instead of always listening to your favourite songs, why not download an English podcast to listen to while in your car or on the way to work? Blabbinit has 30 English-learning podcasts, which you can stream for free. By maximising the amount of time you listen to English, you will be able to improve your language proficiency faster.
Step 5 – Speaking (Skype)
A great way to communicate with a foreign friend is through Skype. If you feel self-conscious, you can start by typing instant messages. As you become more comfortable, you can begin to speak in person and even use the video call feature. This will enable you to practise reading, writing, listening and speaking on a regular basis. Skype is great for people who don’t have many foreign friends, because it provides the exposure that is so necessary for language learning.
Step 6 – Total Immersion (Travel)
Sometimes the best way to learn is by throwing yourself in at the deep end. Visit an English-speaking country and try to communicate with locals. When you are surrounded by a language every day, your proficiency will grow and you will learn to enjoy using the language more.
Even if you have signed up for an English course London, Toronto, New York or Cape Town offers, you should still take advantage of the free resources at your disposal. If you supplement your English lessons with online learning, you will maximise your exposure – and that means you will get fluent faster.
Guest post by Damien Venuto on behalf of Content Lobby. Content Lobby’s copywriters have experience creating original and quality content for sites across the web. If you’re interested, feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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