I’ve just read a very interesting article about language learning strategies that students use. The article finds that the best language learners use strategies to help them learn – and that should be no surprise! This means the best language learners are students who think about their learning, know their weaknesses, and deliberately do particular activities to help them improve their language. Look at this interesting extract from the article:
“The skills the students reported finding most difficult to acquire were listening and speaking, although the Chinese and Korean students stated that writing an essay in an English style format was initially the most difficult and required a major change in mind set, from repeating the tutor’s thoughts to explaining their own. Interestingly, the one skill these students thought the most useful for developing their language, was reading, especially reading for pleasure. They felt this helped to expand their vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structure. However, individual students had other strategies that had worked well for them in overcoming specific difficulties. Those who had listening problems used the media to help overcome this difficulty. Two preferred watching television, one preferred listening to Internet sites and one found that listening to music helped. Another two said they varied between having the television or radio on, but in “Kiwi-style” often just had it on in the background, so they were not always actively listening, but absorbing the sounds and patterns of the language. These two also said they usually went to sleep listening to the radio.”
Giffiths, C and Jordan, D (2005) Strategies for Success in IELTS, Working Paper No 15, August 2005
This is a great example of different things that students do to improve their language. You just have to find some things that work for you and go for it!
The article is also an accessible example of an academic journal article, with all the sections that you would expect to see: introduction and rationale, literature review, methodology, results and conclusion. So improve your English by reading the article, think about the strategies that are mentioned, and improve your knowledge of the structure of journal articles too!