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Improving English

Many local and international students enrol into the university with a very weak command of the English language. A handful of international students are not able to converse at all in English other than merely telling their names. Mind you, these are students who would eventually join the mainstream and study at foundation and/or degree levels. One of the questions they keep asking teachers is, “How do I improve my English?”

There’s only one answer to this question: “Practise” – students who don’t use it or are afraid to use it will never learn English well. It is not impossible to go from zero English to moderately good English in one year. I had a student  from Beijing who succeeded in grasping the language in just under a year. She came here with zero English, but within a year she worked hard on her own, and could ask us questions and understand most of what we say. I hope that our local students could take this student as their language-learning model.

What should you do to improve your English?

  • talk to an English speaker (not necessarily a native speaker)
  • get a listening book with CDs and practise on your own
  • if you make a mistake, correct it on the spot
  • get an English-English dictionary
  • each time you hear a new word, get its meaning, and use it
  • be persistent; if you get it wrong once, try again till you get it right
  • ask your teacher

It takes a lot of effort to be good in English, and do not expect to be good in a short time. You can do it. Good luck to you guys 🙂