Here are 3 of the best ways to learn English
Want to learn English? Congratulations! Committing to learning English is a big step to make, since most people remain comfortable with the language they grew up speaking. Now that you’re ready to take the next step – actually learning the language – you’re probably wondering, what’s the best way to learn English?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll share with you the 3 of the best ways to learn English (or any language for that matter), where you can go to start learning, and the pros and cons for each option. Before we dig in, let’s first understand how we learn, and not just languages.
How we learn something new
Given the decades of research and studies done on the human brain, learning institutions have publicly shared the results of how humans best learn. A notable study published is the development of the Learning Pyramid in the 1960’s – widely attributed to the NTL Institute in Bethel, Maine – which outlined how humans best retain information.
It turns out that humans remember:
- 5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture (i.e. university/college lectures).
- 10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading (i.e. books, articles).
- 20% of what they learn from audio-visual (i.e. apps, videos).
- 30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration.
- 50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
- 75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned.
- 90% of what they learn when they use it immediately (or teach others).
While you can learn mathematics or history without any interaction, that’s not how language learning works. In other words, languages were meant to be learned and used with other humans, not through an algorithm based app like or a Youtube video. It’s a good way to learn as a hobby, but if you’re seeking real results, the decades of scientific research shows that this is the wrong approach.
The good news is that there are better ways to learn English than relying on the traditional, ineffective methods that our brains were not trained to learn with. Compared to learning through lectures, you’ll notice that learning through immersion (i.e. speaking with native speakers/humans) is up to 18 times more effective.
This leads us to reveal the 3 best ways to learn English:
1. English Conversation Exchange
Where to start:
Pros: Free and lots of fellow language lovers you can meet online.
Cons: Time consuming and requires patience to find the right language partner that matches your schedule. Most language partners you will find will also not have any professional experience teaching.
The first option to learning English through immersion is a conversation exchange.
A conversation exchange is where people that are looking to learn a language come together, in order to help each other practice their target languages. In a perfect situation, you can find someone who’s a fluent speaker of English and also wants to learn the language you speak fluently. This way, there’s a mutually beneficial relationship that’s formed.
From personal experience, most conversation exchanges can suck up a ton of time just trying to find a language partner that speaks English and fits your schedule and personality. If you’re missing even one of those factors, the conversation exchange will most likely not last.
With that said, if you do have a lot of time on your hands and you’re incredibly motivated to learn English, going with the conversation exchange route may be the best option for you. For the rest of us, who don’t have a lot of time, or want to work with a native speaker who’s a professional, you should go with…
2. Online English Lessons
Where to start: English One, Craigslist
Pros: You get to work with a professional teacher, who’s 100% dedicated to your needs and success. Unlike a conversation exchange, you can usually choose the time you want to learn on your schedule, which saves you a lot of time.
Cons: Like any professional service, language lessons are an investment.
What if you want to learn English, but you don’t want to bother your friends, and you have a busy lifestyle? Online English lessons are the answer for you. Instead of struggling to find the right conversation exchange, or commuting an hour to meet someone in a coffee shop, you can learn in the comfort of your own home, or wherever you are around the world.
3. Professional English Schools
Where to start: English One
Pros: You’ll be living in an English speaking city and attending one of the top English schools in Cape Town. With personalized English courses and highly experienced teachers you’ll make incredible progress in your English skills.
Cons: The most expensive option, requires an investment of time and money.
The best way to learn a new language is to put yourself into an environment where nobody speaks your language. This forces you to always be learning and using your new language. Surrounding yourself with English means you will always be hearing and speaking English. While this can be challenging at first, I have seen our students take huge strides in their English ability in just a few short weeks.
But being in an English environment is not enough – you also need professional support and guidance. English One’s courses have been designed to improve your learning and lead you through the necessary steps to language success. The individualized programs used at English One ensure you will make the most of your time and see real improvements in your English.
Start learning English
No matter which method you choose to follow, the most important thing is keep pushing yourself to improve. Whenever you feel like you’re not making progress or you’re tired of struggling with the language, just remind yourself of why you started in the first place. Think of all the advantages of being able to communicate in English.
This article was adapted from here, and originally written by Sean Kim.