American Institute for English Profiency, Makati and Quezon City, Philippines


Several students who have fairly good English skills still would like to improve their English skills but they don’t know how. There are, however, factual ways to progress your English skills. Every time a student asks me how they can improve their English, I provide them a few suggestions and always observe, after some time on, if they follow what I tell them, their English skills improve dramatically. So, if you too want to improve your English skills, follow these few tips and you’ll be amazed at how quick you can learn more English.

The importance of the English language can’t be overemphasized. Comfort and natural with English is more or less a qualification for an accomplishment in the world nowadays. In spite of of the industry, proficiency in English is an essential factor in both hiring and promotion decisions. A lot of us have studied English in school and are rather comfortable with reading and writing. On the other hand, we hesitate as speaking because we sense that we lack the fluency and might omit grammatical errors. We are scared of speaking English in proper situations and we are quick to change to our native language once we are in the company of our family and friends. There’s no immediate fix while it comes to improving your control over a particular language. It always necessitates a lot of time and effort.

Learn an English song and sing it. Listen to English music.

Read the lyrics to a song, Sing Karaoke in English. Listening to music while doing something else can help out a little for things like getting used to the normal rhythm and pitch of English tongue, though the more time and attention you give to a song the more you will be taught from listening to it again in the future. Even if just by listening to a song in English can be a good way of learning the words of the chorus in an easily memorable way, if you want to get something out of listening to English music, you will need to take some time to read the lyrics of the song with a dictionary. If the lyrics are not given in the CD pamphlet, you may be able to search them on the internet, but note down that a number of lyrics sites intentionally put a few errors into their lyrics for exclusive rights reasons.

Once you have read and understood the words, if you then listen and read at the same time, this can be a good way of understanding how the sounds alter in fast, natural, informal vocalizations. The next stage after understanding and memorizing a song is evidently, to sing it! While some words have their pronunciation changed completely to fit in with a song, most of the words have the same sounds and stressed syllables as in normal speech. Remembering which words rhyme at the end of each line can also be a great way of learning English pronunciation skills.

Watch movies with English subtitles.

The majority of my local and foreign students watch a lot of American and British movies. Though, as an alternative of watching them with English audio and English subtitles, some would watch them in their local ling, both audio and subtitles. But doing this may cause them to miss out on an easy and fun way to improve their English. If you watch an American movie with English audio and English subtitles, your English skills will improve very rapidly. When you listen to English and read English at the same time it re-enforces the English vocabulary, grammar and even slang in your head. If you do this for only 15-30 minutes every day, within a month you will already notice you can understand a lot more English than you could expect! Some of my students even watch the movie in their local language first before they watch it again in English audio and soundtrack, so they can be sure they understand what’s going on.

The students who normally do this improve their English skills swiftly. If you do the same, you can too! For people who can’t understand a film without subtitles but find themselves not listening at all when reading subtitles in their own language, this should be the way of watching a film that you should aspire for. If it is too difficult to watch the whole film this way, try watching the first 10 or 15 minutes of the film with subtitles in your own language, switch to English subtitles after that, and only switch back to subtitles in your own language, if you get totally lost following the story of the film. This can not only save you money on CDs, but you can really learn the language without having to study it. Some comedies can also get funnier the more you watch them, especially if you watch them with no subtitles, you’d be able to understand a little more each time you watch it.

Travel and enroll in an English school.

Traveling and studying is not only a good opportunity to speak English in situations where you really have to make yourself understood in order to live and survive, but it is also a good motivator to study English seriously in the weeks and months before or after your trip. If possible, also try to speak in English even when you could use your own language; for example, when you pick a guided tour of a museum or historic place, or when you book a ticket on the internet, and try to avoid package tours. If you plan to study abroad, mixed with people from other countries, not only people from your own; it’s not a good idea for you to live in a shared house with people from your own country. Enjoy a more cultural and educational experience by spending time with other nationalities.

When you are on your English course, be prepared for your class. Do your homework as soon as possible and hand it in on time. Review your notes and your last lesson a few minutes before the class. Doing this will revive your memory and you’ll be warmed up for lecture. Don’t get distracted in class. Focus on the lesson; don’t stare out of the window. Don’t be late; arrive a few minutes before the start of the lesson. Don’t sit next to people who won’t converse to you in English. Switch off your phone. Be organized, remember to take your textbook, notebook and pen.

Expend your time on things that interest you. For example, if you like cooking, then buy an English-language cookbook, or find recipes on the internet and practice the following the recipes. You’ll soon know if you have made a mistake! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as you’ll surely learn from them.