Practice, practice…. and practice some more!
A language is not like the other subjects you learnt at school. Take maths for instance, you could theoretically learn it all the day before an exam. With languages, however, it’s not quite as simple, which is why I hardly ever revised for my exams!
With a language, you must learn it step by step and continue to constantly cultivate it, otherwise it starts to slip to the back of your mind, where it can be difficult to recall. Your brain can’t fit in all the words, the grammar rules, the listening skills etc. all at once. It’s like when you learn your own language as a baby; you start off with one word and slowly build up your vocabulary. I’m sure you’re even still learning new words and expressions in your own language today as an adult.
One of the best ways to learn a language is, if you can, to go and live in the country in which they speak it. Without a doubt, this is by far the most effective way to really learn a language well, as you are forced to speak it, read it, and listen to it each and every day.
If this is not a possibility for you, you can still do a lot to help improve your language skills from your home, and below are a list of things you could do. Just spend a little time each day doing one or more of the following:
Read a book, a magazine, the news (anything really as long as it is in that language!)
Listen to music and translate the lyrics (even just in your head)
Watch a TV series or film (with or without the subtitles)
Listen to the news
Do some grammar exercises
Write a short story in the language
Learn vocabulary lists
Play a game (scrabble for example)
..and obviously, please do sign up to speak to one of our teachers!
Speaking to native speakers is another great way to improve, but remember an hour a week is not enough. You MUST put in the effort yourselves and do a little each day. Our native speaking teachers are a great resource for you, but they can’t force the language inside you – the learning must come from within.
If you have any further ideas for learning a language, please do let us know by leaving a comment below!