Some people have a natural knack for learning languages, but for others learning a new language can be a daunting task.
The best way to learn a new language varies depending on your particular learning style.
Students are typically taught using a combination of the three learning styles, but they usually have a strong preference for one. It’s important to know which learning style is best for you.
The three main types of learning styles are auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
Auditory learners depend on hearing and speaking as their main method of learning. To easily understand, auditory learners must be able to hear what is being said, as these learners may find it more difficult to understand instructions that are written.
Auditory learners can try the following techniques to learn English:
- Listen to English language podcasts. There are tons of free English podcasts on the Internet. Make a habit of listening to a podcast for a few minutes each day.
- Listen to books on tape whenever you can (as you drive to work each morning, or while you exercise at the gym).
- Record classroom lectures and listen to them again in your spare time.
- Repeat information aloud or silently in your mind as you are taking notes in class.
- Recite information aloud to study. Find a quiet place or a place with light music playing in the background to practice reciting English words aloud.
- Listen to music, read the lyrics and sing along!
- Watch movies and television shows in English with English subtitles. Listening to English and seeing the English words written on the screen will help you to better remember the word in the future.
- Speak with a native speaker or participate in a language exchange.
- Use rhymes or jingles to help you remember important points.
Visual learners learn best by looking at charts or graphic organizers, watching a demonstration or reading.
Visual learners can try the following techniques to learn English:
- Highlight important information as you read—color-coding your notes can help greatly. Underline or circle new words and phrases.
- Keep a notebook or create flashcards to write down new vocabulary words. Translate the word into your native language; write the definition in English along with a sample sentence. Dictionaries often provide good example sentences along with definitions.
- Separate new vocabulary words into different groups.
- Create your own sentences using new vocabulary words—the next time you see the word, your brain will associate that word with the sentence you created.
- When reading an article, try to understand the big picture first, and then focus on the details.
- Watch English video tutorials where teachers use visuals (e.g. charts, formulas, cartoon images etc…) to explain grammar points.
- Watch movies and television shows in English with English subtitles.
- Buy a grammar workbook online to practice on your own.
Kinesthetic learners process information best with a “hands-on” experience. They like to learn by doing. Research has found that while learning, it helps if kinesthetic learners move around.
Kinesthetic learners can try the following techniques to learn English:
- Create flashcards, but do not use a computer. Writing things down yourself helps to put new information in your long-term memory.
- Play games (online or in-person) to practice grammar points. Invite some friends, and make it more competitive!
- Practice role-playing activities with a friend.
- Study in short blocks—take a ten-minute break every twenty minutes to move around and recharge.
- Create motions associated with words. Using your body to express a thought, idea or concept will help you to remember it.
- Travel to an English-speaking country and experience the English language first-hand.
- Speak with a native speaker or participate in a language exchange. If you can’t find a native speaker in your town, try speaking with a native English teacher on Skype.
Whether you’re an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner, there are many different ways to include English learning in your everyday life. If you take just a few minutes each day to practice some of these techniques, you’re sure to see improvement!
You’ve been reading a guest post by Teacher Diane
Diane is an English teacher from New York with over four years of experience teaching English to students from all over the world. She is the Founder of teacherdiane.com, a website that provides personalized English lessons on Skype. You can watch her English video tutorials, or follow her on Facebook.
photography: Sunova Surfboards (CC) via Flickr, clipart via clker.com