Once your ESL classes have finished what you can do to keep up the interest and motivation you have discovered during your English lessons. It becomes more difficult but is vitally important for you to progress in developing your language skills.
As you have spent valuable time and effort in starting to learning English it is a pity to then loose all you have learnt. The list below gives ten ideas that you can employ to keep studying and practicing English and most of all have fun.
Listen to English radio
Most radio stations these days have a “listen live” button on their websites and the best way to pick up speech patterns and phrases is to hear them spoken naturally. Ideally you should select a station with lots of conversation, discussion groups or commentary such as:-
BBC World Service – world events
Five Live – sports commentary & discussion
BBC 4 – plays and talk shows
Many National and local newspapers publish a free online version which you can read. This will enable you to follow known stories in English, keep up with current affairs and increase your vocabulary as you read. The list below are links to some of the more famous papers and periodicals around the globe.
The Australian –
Enrol in Conversational ESL courses online
Learning English Online (LEO) is becoming an ever popular way to practice your English lessons. Teachers with the aid of computer generated “white boards”, conference calling like Skype, a microphone and webcam are delivering presentations and seminars daily to people across the world. Many offer introductory free trials to give you a chance to see if you like their content. All this can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Second Life or Travian gives you an excellent opportunity to meet up with people, practice shopping, exchanging views and interacting with individuals. The majority of them are free to register and gives you a chance to learn while you play.
Internet sites like Hubpages, Blogger, Squidoo and eHow give you a chance to practice writing and creating stories. If you do not feel confident enough to write articles you could just post short comments peoples work that you enjoy. They are a good place to build up your written skills.
Who doesn’t like a good old sing-a-long. What could be more fun than performing your favourite songs and tunes and practicing at the same time. Karaoke programmes often have a subtitle feature on the monitor which helps you with the words. Don't worry a lot of the time native speakers do not know the lyrics to some songs either.
Everyone is now familiar with Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, places where you leave messages, post photos and meet up with old friends. You can however also make new friends who speak English, just register and search in the countries where you are likely to find people. There are also a number of ESL Forums online like English Club, LiveMocha and ESL United who welcome teachers and learners alike.
Watch a film
Sit down in the living room, cup of tea and some biscuits and put on a DVD, keep the settings in English and try to follow the dialogue, the best way to enjoy any film is in its native language. If you find it a little difficult just switch on the subtitles, this is very useful if the conversations are fast or a lot of colloquialisms or strong accents.
Cook a Meal
Look online for a recipe from an English speaking country’s favourite dish and try it out for yourself. It will give you valuable practice in following instructions and vocabulary and once you have finished you will have a lovely meal to eat as well.
Join a Chat Room
There are many chatrooms online, from different countries, various age class and with people who have a wide variety of interests. Plenty are free to register on Yahoo Messenger and allow you to meet new friends and practice talking and writing English.
A word of warning though, be careful when talking online and don’t give out any personal information, contact details or addresses. Have lots of fun and keep on using your new found skills.