Top 10 tips for learning English outside of school or work
Make it fun
Kids spend a lot of time at school learning grammar and studying from textbooks, so make English outside of school fun and interactive. You want your kids to enjoy learning English and the best way to do this is through fun activities. Involve hobbies – A great way for both kids and adults to learn English is by taking part in something they enjoy in English. For example, why not join an English-speaking football team?
Native English speaker
Where possible involve a native English speaker so that you pick up on colloquial phrases and they correct your mistakes. Myfamilyspain.comoffers Spanish families the unique opportunity to live with a native English speaker. The native speaker helps their Spanish family with their English through fun games and activities for 15 hours a week, plus general living time together. In return the family provides food and accommodation in their home in Madrid.
Cooking in English
Look for a recipe in English on the Internet (there are plenty of great cooking websites). Make a shopping list in English and take the kids to buy the ingredients. Then following the English recipe get the kids involved in the cooking. Mis-translations may end up with amusing results!!
Cinema in English
There are a few cinemas in Madrid that show films in Version Original with Spanish subtitles. Pick a film that’s sure to be a hit with the kids and they probably won’t even notice it’s in English!
Learn vocabulary around the house by putting post-it notes on different objects e.g. fridge, table, washing machine. After the kids have learnt the vocabulary you can test them by doing a race. Give each kid a set of post-it notes with objects on, they have to run around the room and put them in the correct place in the shortest time possible. Alternatively, you can do a relay race and the kids have to work together to place the post-it notes in the quickest time possible.
Arts and crafts
This can be enjoyed by all the family together. Have a look on the Internet for some great craft ideas in English, buy the materials and get making. You may need to pre-teach the kids (and yourself!) arts and crafts vocabulary for the materials and verbs (e.g. cut, stick, glue). It can be fun to do crafts to celebrate the holidays of English-speaking countries, for example Thanksgiving (USA) or Bonfire Night (UK).
Read in English
Reading in English is a great way to improve fluency. But instead of reading from boring textbooks pick something you really enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand all of the words but you’ll gradually get the gist of the book. For kids pick really visual books or perhaps classic stories that they already know and understand in Spanish. For younger kids ask them simple questions about the pictures (e.g. Where is the cat? How many stars are there) to help them interact.
Leave the grammar in the classroom
Don’t put too much energy and focus on grammar at home, leave that for the classroom. Relax and enjoy speaking English and the grammar will come naturally.
This is a great way for adults to exchange language with a native speaker. It’s good for conversation practice.
Check out the Intercambio section for more information on events. by Francesca Luke of myfamilyspain.com