Your goal to become fluent in English is important to you. With persistence and hard work in your ESL lessons, you will make it. But you delay your mastery of the language if you commit any of the following language-learning transgressions.
1. Not practicing outside of ESL school. If you go to the store, ride on a bus or sit on a park bench and do not talk to anyone, you are throwing away one opportunity after another. Imagine having a conversation with each new person you meet. In a week that can be dozens of conversations—wonderful occasions to practice what you’ve learned and to learn new phrases and words.
2. Not watching lots of English-language movies. Every movie you see with native English speaking actors gives you more opportunity to witness English in action. This can prove even more helpful if you use subtitles, when available. A word of warning, though. Subtitles are sometimes less than perfect, but even then they can help in your understanding, especially to clarify what the actor is saying when the accent makes their words less clear to you.
3. Not carrying a notepad and pen with you at all times. Around you are opportunities all the time to capture snippets of dialog, printed language and new words. A sign or a notice on a bulletin board can be a wonderful source of new English language learning.
4. Not paying attention to nearby dialog. While you’re sitting in a restaurant, you may hear a dialog at the table next to yours. Pay attention and write down an occasional sentence which seems interesting or even puzzling. Later, you can ask for help with the meaning of the sentence or phrase. Just think of all the places you visit or travel. When you’re not actively engaged in conversations with others, soak up the chatting of those around you.
5. Not reading your favorite topics in English. Whatever your personal or professional interests, you are bound to find at least a few books on the subject at your local English language library. You owe it to yourself to study your favorite subjects, but in English.
The key to success in any endeavor is to expect opportunities and to be prepared for them when they arrive. Take advantage of them and your dream of English language fluency will arrive that much sooner—all because you practiced outside of ESL class.